March 5, 2018

patternMy mother made me a red gingham dress just like the blue one on this vintage pattern. It was for my first day of school in first grade. I loved that dress and specifically chose it one morning in the spring of 1962. Its large white collar was just what I needed to hide what had happened the day before.

It was a bright spring day, perfect for bike riding. I rushed home from school, changed my clothes, and got out the blue bike I had received for Christmas a few months earlier. I could hardly wait to be riding free in the sunshine with the wind blowing my hair. Now, I had seen the older kids ride through the neighborhood. The really cool ones rode with no hands.

“I bet I can do that,” I thought.

I coasted down our street. I let go. For a few yards I may actually have ridden without hands. The bike gained speed. Our street had a gentle downward slope. I guess I had forgotten that. Our street also had a pothole. I hit it at full speed and flew over the handlebars. I think my tooth may have cut through my lower lip and I still have the scar. My chin was all scraped up.

Mama cleaned me up. I didn’t explain.

The next morning I put on my red dress. For most of the day, that pretty white collar was between my teeth, hiding my shame.

 

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ginny Hogg
    Mar 05, 2018 @ 23:03:11

    This is precious and brings back so many memories! My mom also sewed many of my clothes. She loved finding any way she could to put rickrack on my dresses, shirts, whatever!

    Reply

  2. dawnaguilar
    Mar 05, 2018 @ 23:35:27

    Yikes! That must have been very traumatic for you. Great little piece of writing. I love the way you drop a teaser in the beginning and reveal it in the end. Clever.

    Reply

  3. Stacey Taylor
    Mar 06, 2018 @ 10:26:39

    I was brought right into the moment of your slice. I love the way you set us up for trouble with the hint of the slope and the pot hole. I need to remember this post and write one like it. Pulling memories from childhood not only allows you to relive such a carefree time, it preserves those moments forever (the good and the bad!).

    Reply

  4. persistenceandpedagogy
    Mar 06, 2018 @ 22:00:08

    Love this slice – it brought to mind one of my own memories of bicycles, blood and shame. Glad you had the beautiful dress; bet it helped a little.

    Reply

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