Well, crap, I AM! I just had my 64th birthday. Of course, I was immediately reminded of the Beatles’ song. But the lyrics just do not work in my case. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64?” I’m pretty much not needing anybody or feeding anybody except my cat, Lukita, when I’m 64, and vice versa….although damn her little kitty heart and paws that won’t even feed me! Besides, those words were written by a young person [Paul McCartney] looking at turning 64 in the far distant future.
So instead of endlessly singing this song to myself, something I am wont to do, I started thinking of what I was doing and/or where I was on my other “4” birthdays. At age 4, I was in Edna, Texas, which I still consider the town where I “grew up” although we only lived there for three or four years.
Here’s my living in Edna highlight. In one of the little houses we rented, we lived next door to an elderly couple, the Slushers. Sometimes their granddaughter, Juanita Slusher, came over to their house to visit so I got to know her a bit. I was fascinated by her. Not only was she nice to me and occasionally brought me a gift, Juanita was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I wanted to look just like her when I grew up. [This is a picture of her.]
Fat chance! Little did I know that the lovely Juanita Slusher was, in her “other” life [i.e. outside Edna], a famous Texas stripper and porn star named Candy Barr. I suppose that might help explain why my mother was always trying to get me to come in the house whenever Juanita showed up….and why my father always insisted on doing “yard work” when she arrived.
And, yes, Juanita was the same Candy Barr that was mixed up with Jack Ruby, who shot Lee Harvey Oswald right after the assassination of President John Kennedy. But she’ll always be Juanita to me, the beautiful woman who once gave me a red bandana as a present. [Go figure.]
On my 14th birthday, I was living in Mesa, Arizona. I was a ninth grader in junior high school. I had totally given up on ever looking like Juanita Slusher. Instead, I now wanted to look like Mary Ellen somebody, who was the head cheerleader at our junior high. As I recall, she was a rather petite brunette with a loooong ponytail.
I, on the other hand, was already about 5’7″ and weighed about 125 pounds. I had dirty blond hair and a bad complexion and I needed braces. And my mother kept insisting that I keep my hair short, although I finally no longer had to get a perm every summer. I had straight hair that I actually liked and which my mother hated…for whatever reason. So I was just pleased that she finally let me grow it out until it reached my shoulders. [gasp!]
Since my hopes of looking like Mary Ellen somebody were dashed from the get go, I decided that instead I might achieve some junior high school fame as an athlete. Okay, I do realize that all of those who have known me only as an adult are trying to catch their breath from laughing so hard, but you gotta believe that at 14, I really WAS into sports and I wasn’t bad.
Unfortunately, the sport I decided I might take up was the track sport of hurdles. One of the major problems with this is that, where I lived, girls didn’t DO hurdles in ’61. We were allowed to run….which I loathed….and maybe do the long jump, but, like football and baseball, hurdles weren’t even an option for girls. Nonetheless, I would go over to the track while the hurdles were set up and jump them. And I could. Until that fateful day. The day that destroyed my chances at a hurdling gold medal.
I remember it well. It was after school. I was wearing pants, so it must have been some Cowboy Day thing or something. Because otherwise girls had to wear skirts. I got into my start position, yelled “Go!” in my mind, and off I went down the track to the first hurdle. Which I took with surprising ease until I felt it. “It” being a sharp jab in my upper thigh. Oh, the pain! Oh, the horror! I was lamed like a sleek racehorse might be!! And down I went.
Oh, dear readers, I wish I could tell you that I’d pulled something or that one of the boy hurdlers had, in a fit of jealousy of my fluidity, taken me out with a slingshot or a peashooter or even a rifle [this was in Arizona, remember?]. But, sadly, no. I was hoist upon my own petard….in this case, the pencil that I had in my pocket. [Sigh.]
I had shoved the lead of the pencil so far into my leg that I still have a gray spot there to this day, albeit buried somewhere in the fat and cellulite. And, so, my hurdling career came to a halt. Oh, no, I wasn’t injured permanently, of course, but I convinced myself I was. Okay, yeah, I did have a tiny bit of drama queen in me even then.
So on that day the world lost the first white girl from Mesa, Arizona, to win a gold medal in the hurdles. And those of you who have worked with me will now know the real reason why I always carry my pencils tucked over my ear and never, never, never in my pants pocket!
As much as I am cracking myself up right now [I’m always my best audience], this post is getting away from me, so I’ll likely continue it later….through the other “4” years.
And happy freaking 64th birthday to me, you old fart!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldIfhc1pJpk&feature=related