Monday, October 29, 2007

Little Queen on the Prairie: The Halloween Special

So, what have we here? The year is 1976, it is Halloween and we have a clown, a hobo, and, oh, gosh, what is that? That is a 10 year old tawdry little cross dresser perched daintily against the garage door. Would it be me? It sure would.
It took me 20+ years to find this picture funny. The only reason I'm in possession of it today is that I stole it from my mother's photo album in my twenties out of shame. Why? That particular Halloween was one of my first moments of awareness that I was different than other little boys and that different did not always go over well with one's parents and friends. I very clearly recall my mom encouraging me to be something else, my dad asking why the hell I wanted to go trick or treating as a woman and getting teased a bit by my friends. This photo was hard to look at for a long time. Now, I just feel sorry for the kid in that picture for not having someone around to give him a squeeze and let him know that he should hang in there for another 8 or 10 years at which time he can get the hell out of that little town and see there is a world full of people just like him.
Today, I get a really good laugh out of this picture. There are just so many things wrong here- the hair painted on my legs, my trailer trash makeup (which is the only makeup I could ever do- my upbringing I suppose), the fact that in a gay universe my exaggerated feminine pose would be just as it should be, but in Decorah? I was also a tall child. The other two in the picture are a few years older than me. I could have passed for a really trashy 15 year old. Had I had my wits about me back then, I might have wandered in to the Corner Bar and seen if the locals would have bought me a drink. Mmmmmm. Locals.


kirelimel said...

It's a good photo. Why hair on the legs, though? I know that Decorah is full of hippies, and I even went a year or so au natural while living with the less clean, but having that insight at that young age? amazing.

I think it's universal to look back at our akward stages and want to give ourselves a hug, a break, a hand...but in the end, we are who we are because of that stuff and if I may say so, we're all pretty good.

1976 saw me beginning a three year "Laura Ingalls" stint- somehow I got my hands on a sunbonnet and couldn't wait to wear it each fall.

Do kids even know what hobos are anymore? I miss all the boys being bums.

Mnmom said...

Did you say hobo or homo? It was a hard place to be yourself, that's for sure. I was a loud-mouthed opinionated girl which also didn't go over well with the rather Lutheran set. At least my family valued it. I think it makes you a wonderfully humble man - if you grew up knowing how fabulous you are I wouldn't be able to STAND you. We'd have to widen every door even further to get your massive head through them. Holy Cow you'd be unbearable!

michaelg said...

Awkward was supposed to be a STAGE??

Kirelimel- Don't we need some pictures of this Laura get-up? I remember Gunne Sax prairie dresses being all the rage back then. So, your Laura could have been a literary statement and highly fashionable. Cooool.

kirelimel said...

I'll try and dig one up- but rest assurred, at that time, there was precious little that was fashionable- aside from my perfectly turned under Toni Tenniel haircut.

Melinda June said...

I think I was a fat witch that year. With a lisp.

Solidarity, my friends. I have to say, I can finally value my upbringing in Decorah...I've always valued my friends and my family, but as kirst says, the stuff that made me goth before goth was cool has also made me exactly who I am today. Plus I've had enough to drink in my lifetime that I no longer remember the bad stuff.

michaelg said...

Here, here. Kids who coast through childhood without an emotional challenge make for dull adults.
As I've been scanning these pictures in, I've come across some doozies. I should start a series called "How Could My Parents Not Have Known?" I was a fey little thing. Of course, if they had admitted it, I would have been shipped off to a nice Lutheran deprogramming camp where I would have been saved through kindly administration of tater tot jello compresses or something.

Mnmom said...

Do scan them!! Please!!!!!