9/22/10

The White Shirt

I must have been in 3rd or 4th grade when this happened. I can't remember the beginning of the story, but the end of the story has stuck in my memory, even though it doesn't come up often. I pull it out sometimes, when there's nothing I can do about it, and I toss it around, trying to figure out if it changed my life, or if it was a predictor of who I was going to be.

I was in school choir when I was young. I actually had a really nice voice up until I was in my mid-twenties and let cigarette smoking take it away. I still think I have a nice voice, but Sydney tells me I sound like a cat in a blender...like I listen to anything she says.

Anyway, I had a speaking part in this particular concert in addition to being a part of the choir. I think it was a cmas concert and I was going to read the story and the choir would sing the songs. We were all supposed to wear a white shirt and dark pants to school that day. For some reason, I did not have my shirt. Don't know whether it wasn't clean, or my Mom had to go buy one, or she just didn't want me to wear it and get lunch on it. Regardless, I didn't have my shirt. The choir all went out on the risers in the auditorium. And, because I was in a dark shirt instead of a white one, I refused to go. I remember that there was quite a fuss made about it before the concert. When my Mom got there with the shirt, she brought it to me and I still wouldn't go put it on and walk up on the stage all by myself to take my place among the other choir members that were already up there. My Mom talked to me, my teacher talked to me, the choir teacher talked to me and the more they talked, the more embarassed I got and the more stubbornly I stuck to my chair, among my non-singing classmates, instead of up on the stage where I belonged. And, the more stubbornly I sat there, the more they pushed me to move. I doubt this whole exchange took more than a minute and a half, but I remember it as dragging on for hours.

I was too embarassed to walk across that stage by myself and I missed out and put the choir teacher on the spot because she had to find someone else to do the reading (I remember that she chose Lisa E.). I can remember that I was so excited about the concert and then so disappointed that I was not in it. And so embarassed. Such a confusing mash of emotions. And, I don't remember anything that happened after the concert, but I do remember being so relieved when everyone finally stopped trying to get me up there and just left me alone and let the concert begin.

This might be one of the moments that made me who I am. One day, I hope to understand the impact it had, if any.

This old memory, that I don't fully understand, came back to me a couple weeks ago when the volleyball jersey that I had repaired for Sydney came apart just before the game. I am so glad that she didn't let that jersey keep her from playing. I am so glad that she solved her own problem when there was nothing I could do to help her. I think the strength to persevere and play the game must be something inside her. I hope I had something to do with that. I hope I can teach her to go for everything she wants and don't let anything stop her, even if she's wearing the wrong shirt for it.

You guessed it. You can set a clock by it. It's Way Back Wednesday again. Take care and have a great one. We'll see ya' round the www. Lane

11 comments:

Sunshine said...

I remember moments like that - in hindsight I'm thinking "what the heck was my problem?" I missed out on fun! Who knows though, at that moment, I felt strongly one way or the other and decided based on that. Hopefully, I'll feel less strongly in the future and don't lose sight of the big picture :)

Becky said...

Oh dear....this is indeed a story to "chew" on. Do you feel you would still react this way? Or could you be flexible enough to roll with the flow and just "do it". Since the memory has stuck with you so long there has to be a lesson in there somewhere, huh. Love your Way Back Wednesdays! Hugs, Becky

Shirleymac said...

Interesting story Lane. I was very shy as a kid and I'm sure I would have done the exact same thing as you. Oddly enough though what this reminded me of is I was never shy at church events. My mom was always sticking us up on stage to recite stuff or to sing. We had a fashion show of children's clothing and one boy refused to go out on stage so I had to model his clothes as well as the girl clothes cause I was the same size. But kid to kid his not wanting to do it didn't really register as having anything to do with him. It just was what it was.

Pauline said...

Most children have traumatic moments as they grow into adults. Mine was 3rd grade when the teacher wouldn't excuse me for a bathroom break right after recess. I peed all over the place. I was mortified. A friend was nearly raped by her father, my girls had to help put out an escaped campfire. These are learning opportunities for the child and for the same child to teach his or her children! Yes, we're imprinted. Fortunately, the memory of these horrible events dulls as we grow older, and the experience surfaces as we need to apply that experience when needed in your own family situations. The embarassment doesn't sting as much today. Today embarassment won't matter as much if at all next week. Remember, time heals all wounds and time wounds all heels.
Pauline

lw said...

I think everyone does have these stories. I'm left-handed and my right handed parents couldn't figure out how to teach me to tie my shoelaces. My kindergarten teacher would embarrass me in front of the class about it, (like that would help me learn) and then assigned a right-handed kid to teach me. The kid turned out to be a great friend, Bonnie, who would tie my laces herself before Miss Sasaki noticed them. I never did learn to tie them until my left-handed Uncle Harold showed me how, in the summer before 1st grade.

Coloradolady said...

This was a very interesting and insightful post. I read it yesterday, and then thought about it over night. Lane, one thing I can say, is you pinpoint certain things that were significant to you that were of great impact. I think about that a lot, and wish I knew how to do that for myself...than maybe I'd understand why I am the way I am, instead of it always being a burden....I so enjoy your way back wed. post...they are always so good! Have a great weekend....

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

old ghost memories..... always there always important

viridian said...

Lane, such a poignant, insightful post. I wouldn't reveal so much of myself on my blog!
Now a very mundane comment,
Are you participating in tinnie girl's Blogtober fest this year? Seeing the button on your blog last year got me going on it.
V

Holly @ Domestic Dork said...

Charlie sent me!

That age can be so hard, it's so easy to feel embarrassed.

Debi said...

I wanted to say Hello and tell you that Charlie sent me over!

scottylover said...

Thanks for sharing your story and for donating the fabric strips for Charlie's give away!

Sandy A