My baby turned 21 last week. After reminiscing about her birth, sighing over her baby photos and marveling at how fast the years have flown by, I continued spinning backwards through photo albums to my own 21.
Photos pried loose memories buried under the rubble of thirty-two more years. So much I had forgotten...
For one thing, I had a lot of hair! The perm helped, of course. Perms worked great with hard hats...your hair just poofed right back out when you took off the hat.
I preferred beer over wine at 21. Eighteen was the legal drinking age back then, so that Lowenbrau you see sitting near me was nothing new.
And obviously, that's not Tom celebrating with me, but he wasn't far away... just waiting around a few corners of my life.
That year I camped on the banks of the Guadalupe River and danced in Gruene Hall, where my son and his fiance had their engagement photos taken earlier this year. I went to Astroworld and the Renaissance Festival with my mom and sister. We've always had fun together.
My brother met his future wife.
I toured the San Antonio missions with my dad and sister, in between games of his bowling tournament. I had my first margarita in a San Antonio bowling alley.
I played softball at picnics with coworkers from my chemical plant. I had a mortgage on a second-floor condo I shared with my Siamese cat, Char, and a pretty candy-apple-red 10 speed bike with a tan leather seat. I love candy-apple-red on any vehicle.
My brother Buster was still alive, and would be for a couple more. My parents were divorced, but they remarried (each other!) the next year.
With my sister and brother-in-law, I camped in Palmetto State Park and toured Gonzales, Texas. I saw the Come-And-Take-It cannon up close and personal for the first time.
My friend Debbie got married. The marriage itself didn't last long, but we had tons of fun at her lingerie shower, her bachelorette party at LaBare, and the wedding. I was a bridesmaid, dressed in a floral blue dress with some sort of smock thing over the top. The groomsmen wore baby blue tuxes. (It's okay... it was 1980. Very cool.)
I spent time with my friend Ann and the first two of her five babies, even though our lives were obviously on different pages. But then, I don't think we've ever been on the same page, and our friendship has survived... no, thrived... anyway.
Just before Christmas that year, while I was out shopping with my boyfriend's mom, someone broke into my condo. They just pried the door away from the frame to get in, and stole a topaz ring my mother had given me, two promise rings from high school sweethearts, and a collection of coins I inherited from my grandfather.
They probably took other things I've forgotten about but those are what still tug at my heart.
Consequently, my boyfriend surprised me with a 32 revolver under the Christmas tree.
Now, when I was little, I liked to pretend I was a cowboy, and I've always loved shooting at targets, but, for some reason, knowing that gun rested in my bedside table triggered nightmares about someone breaking in. I was so afraid I'd have to use the dang thing. (But I would have if I needed to!)
By the way, I'm dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans in the photo above because I went in to work that evening, Christmas night. Holidays are just like any other day when you're working shifts... except you get paid double time.
My Aunt Peggy gave me an old ceramic teapot music box that Christmas, decorated with pink roses. It was the seed of my teapot collection.
I welcomed 1981 at one of the best New Year's Eve parties ever. Here I am with my friend Larry, who passed away from cancer a little more than a decade later.
Most of my free time was spent with friends who were on "A" shift with me. We went dancing at Gilley's, played cards, camped, tubed the Guadalupe...
I find it funny that I wore a one-piece back then, when I could have worn a bikini... and wear a bikini now, when I should probably wear a one-piece.
That was some year, now that I think back on it, although I didn't realize it when I was living it. It's hard to believe thirty-two years have passed... until I start thinking of all that's happened since then...
...So many of the faces smiling up out of my photo albums are gone now, but through the magic of photography, their memories are alive and a part of me will remain 21 forever.
I certainly hope my baby girl takes lots of photos to help her remember her 21... and I hope they are all sweet memories.
What do you remember most from your 21?