Friday, December 07, 2007

Dear Prudence

A letter to myself at age 13.

Though I'd like to say I thunk this up wit' my own pointy little head, in fact, I swiped it from
  • Beach Bum
  • . I'm also tryin to make up for the fact that I neglected to follow up on a meme he tagged me with whilst I was in the midst of my blogging funk.

    Anywho, I thought it was a great idea...I was just age 13. And, after all, it is the...uh...(coughfortiethcough)...anniversary of my thirteenth year.

    Dear Pammy,

    Um. Chill out, little sista. I know you're thirteen...goin on twenty four...but don't be in such a damn rush. I know you hear this from Mom and Dad
    every. single. day., but'll grow up fast enough. And before you know it, you'll be an old, fat, happy woman. Like me. Writing letters to your thirteen-year-old self.

    Good gawd, though! What is it with that hair? Why on earth did you think it would be a good idea to wash your hair, put it in teeny braids while still wet and let it dry? I'm really sorry sweetie, but no matter what you do to that blonde hair, it ain't never gonna look like Janis', ok? Besides that, I'm not so sure Janis ever washed that messa hair in the first place.

    I've gotta admit, though...the jeans with the leather lacings up the side are kinda cool. I know you put a lotta work into those and they're your favorites. And that red t-shirt with the yellow satin appliqued apple with a bite mark across your buxom little chest is pretty groovy, too.

    Oh...and for the love of everything that's holy, will you please turn down that damn stereo?? If I hafta hear "All You Need is Love" one more time, I believe I'll stuff some gasoline-soaked rags into my ears and light ' Molotov Cocktails.

    All you need is love....ya da da da da...all you need is love...ya da da da da....

    (Yea...there's really more.)

    Yea. I know. Summer of Love. (snort) That's what they're callin the summer of '67, ain't it? Not a whole lotta love comin from ole Walter's mouth every evening on the news though, is there? Gulf of Tonkin. Que Son Valley. Mekong Delta. Phnom Penh. Body counts. Race riots. War protests. Albert DeSalvo convicted. Richard Speck sentenced to death.

    It's a lot to take in for a thirteen year old, ain't it? Kinda makes ya think maybe you should grow up fast...the world might not be here for too long. Duck and cover! But, really...things aren't much different now. The old world kept on turnin, didn't it?

    Hey, but the music's pretty great right now, huh? Aretha singin "Respect". "Penny Lane" is awesome. "Kind of a Drag"...they play that over and over and over on the jukebox in the gym during lunch hour, don't they? Believe it or not, one day, there'll be radio stations that play nothin but "your" music...and they'll call it "oldies"! Ain't that a hoot?'ll never guess! The Rolling Stones are still playin. Ok, so poor ole Keith looks like he's been dead for ten years and nobody's told him yet, but hey...
    Oh, and Dylan? He's still here. So's Rod Stewart. But...uh...well, honey...I don't know how to tell ya this, but there's only two Beatles left. And neither of 'em were your favorites. But you'll find that out. Soon enough. And soooo many others are gone. Your beloved John. Janis. Jimi. Jim. Liberace. heh

    Just slow down. Try to take time to savor every single minute 'cause really does fly, honey. One day, you'll wish you'd have taken a little more time. One day, you'll wish you had a little more time. I know that right now it seems like the days and the weeks and the months just drag. But it won't be like that forever.

    And, guess what? Breakin up with whoever this week's boyfriend is really isn't the end of the world. You won't die. Believe it or not, one day, your prince will come. He won't be on a white horse, though. And he won't bring you flowers. He'll be in a big ole Ram Charger with loud mufflers and he'll bring you a cluster of the biggest purple grapes you've ever seen and you'll just swoon from love. Oh, you'll have a couple of other "princes" in the meantime. But they'll just be practice.

    Slow down. Pay attention to what's goin on in your world. Even the bad stuff. Like President Johnson. Now, that was some pretty bad stuff, right there. One day, you'll love history. And it'll be nice to say you remember that. And the stuff you don't remember? There'll be somethin called "Wikipedia" on somethin called "The Internet" that you can access on somethin called a "computer". Yea, nothin like that in your world right now, is there?

    Imagine! Who woulda thunk that they could transplant a human heart? Did you pay attention to Walter when he announced that on the evening news? You wouldn't belive what they're doin now. "Technology". Do you even know what that word is? You'll learn. And you'll learn that sometimes, it's wonderful. And sometimes, it's a pain in the ass. Like cell phones.

    Yea, try to remember the bad stuff, too. The good stuff's easy. And some things you'll remember and won't even know why. Like how John's shirt smelled when you went to the Lawford together and saw "Bonnie and Clyde". Or that you saw "Georgy Girl" in Charleston with Sandy. Or that you and Mom and Dad would watch "Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins" every Sunday evening.

    And while we're on the subject of animals...gawd...please don't be in such a rush to explore your sexuality. Though, I suppose if you have to do it, now will be one of the safest times in history. Ya might get the clap, but you won't die from it. One of these days, you'll start hearin somethin about a new disease called AIDS. And the "Summer of Love" will be sooooooo over.

    I know. You're hormones are bouncin around like bullets from an AK-57 with the trigger stuck on and you wanna know what it's all about. I know what I'm talkin about here, honey. You're aren't gonna really know until you've got a little maturity. And you aren't gonna keep a boyfriend by puttin out. Really. Honest ta gawd, he'll respect ya more if you say 'no'. (Can you say "no"? Watch my lips..."NOOOOOOO") And if he doesn't, then he's not worthy of you, anyway. Screw 'im. Figuratively, not literally, ok?

    One wonderful thing will come from your eventual "experimentation", though. A beautiful, funny daughter. And she'll have a beautiful, funny daughter that looks just like you. You'll have a little "Mini-me". Cool, huh?

    And ya know what else? Stop worrying so much about what other kids think of you. In a few years...or a couple of months, probably, it won't matter a damn bit what they thought of you. I've gotta tell you, though...I do admire your sense of individuality. When other kids follow along like the sheeple they'll eventually become, you kinda go your own way. That's a good thing. But why do you worry so much about it? It's great, really. One day, you'll be sooooo glad you're the way you are now. Oh, and I know you worry about your weight. Doncha hate it when Mom starts in..."Pam, you have such a pretty face...if only you'd lose some weight..." Yea. And then she bitches at ya for not eating. You'll finally figure out that there's just no pleasing her. That's something that'll take you years to learn, though.

    I kinda hate to tell you this, but you'll always be this way. Chunky. Chubby. Fat. Start accepting it, honey. Embrace it. Take that great sense of individuality you've been blessed with and be what you are...who you you are. (Does that make any sense?) Honest ta gawd. If I'm lyin, I'm dyin, but there are boys that like fat girls. You'll rarely get one to admit it, but it's true.

    Pay attention to everything. Try to soak it all up. This...this one of the most exciting, most wonderful, most awful, most tragic times in history. So many things are happening. "Hair" just came out on Broadway. (No, pleeeeease don't do the braid thing again, 'k?) Elvis and Priscilla got married. The Monterey Pop Festival "happened". Movies like "The Graduate", "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "In the Heat of the Night" will become classics. The Vietnam War happened. And happened. And happened. The Six Day War happened.

    I know you're gettin tired of my rambling, disjointed letter, but one last piece of advice. Ok, two. Don't sweat the small stuff and no regrets. The small stuff is just that. Small. And in the greater scheme of things most of it is small. And don't waste any of your precious time regretting things that you do. And, let's face it, you've done some pretty stupid things. And you'll do a lot more before it's over. Don't regret any of it. Let's call it a "learning experience", ok? You really were an ok kid and you'll turn out to be an ok adult. You'll hurt people...that's part of life...but you'll never have done it for the sole purpose of hurting someone else.

    Ya did your fair share of dope smokin. But ya never turned into a true-blue "doper". Ya did your fair share of drinkin, too...most of it looooong before it was legal...but ya didn't turn into an alcoholic. You've never been in jail. You'll wind up graduating from college with honors even though you hate school now. You'll turn out to be an optimist, despite all this teenage angst. With a very few rare exceptions, you'll always try to treat other people the way you'd wanna be treated. You're kinda selfish, but not to an extreme. You'll always be that way.

    Nope. No regrets. You'll turn out exactly the way you're supposed to. It's like....Karma, man.

    Peace and Love,



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