Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Surprise Sixteen

Too cool for a picture at my surprise party.
The October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challange continues...

Surprise Sixteen
Sixteen had more changes in store for me. Up to that point, my parents hadn't allowed me to date. Sometimes that was a good thing and sometimes I wished I could have started dating sooner. I'm kinda glad I waited now. It prevented the obsession that girls would become for a while.

Surprise Drama
My parents set up a surprise party for me at my sister's house. I'm suckered out of the house by my mom who, 'wants me to ride over to Tene's' with her. For some reason she wanted me to change my clothes so I don't look like a complete slob...

The party is a complete surprise and all my friends are there. My mom even managed to get a girl there that I've been flirting over the phone with. It's a barbeque/movie/dance party and everyone is having a blast... except... the dream girl... who was flirting with me... but is now ignoring me and hitting on my friend.




At sixteen, I get pretty angry and my friend, who didn't know the situation, is man enough to do some serious backpedaling when he finds out she is trashing me. I don't shed any tears for her, especially since I really hadn't got know her yet, but it was my party and I could cry if I wanted to.

Tired Survivors from the Pioneer Trek
After my sixteenth birthday debacle, I go with my church to the Pioneer Trek. Trek is a week long camp meant to give youth and their leaders a chance to experience the hardships and spirit of the early handcart settlers. Everyone is organized into families with a Ma & Pa leader looking out for us. It was an amazing experience. I learn a lot about myself and counting on others.

For instance, there is a point where they have this gentle hill that goes on for a long ways. The leaders come and kick all the men and boys off the handcarts and only let the women pull it up the hill. It's famously called the women's pull and is suppose to let the women understand the struggles pioneer women had when their spouse died or didn't immigrate immediately with them, leaving them to go on alone.

Watching those women fight the carts and the ruts in the road nearly killed me. I snuck to the side of the cart and began pushing the wheel spokes to help. The other boys jumped in with me, but pretty soon the leaders told us we had to back off.

Seeing I was... exceptionally... angry, my Pa stepped up to me and said, "I said you couldn't push the handcart." His eyebrows raised in hidden meaning.

Since I'm a little slow on the uptake, he adds, "I didn't say anything about what was IN the cart."

All us boys suddenly get the hint and have the girls stop the cart. We proceed to take anything heavy... Well that's not entirely true... We emptied the whole cart and carried it all up the hill. The girls, now with a lighter load, had a much easier time dragging the cart up the hill.

After seeing what we had done, every man and boy emptied all the other carts to help the girls. Was I wrong to take the challenge from them? I don't think so. And it wasn't just because they were girls either. Seeing anyone struggle the way they were would have kicked in my Galahad complex.

I was raised to have respect for all people, but this was the first time I'd seen women doing something really hard. Fighting to make a goal and I was powerless to help them. It gave me a greater respect and admiration for them.

Delicate flowers? Sure. But don't ever get in a woman's way when she's got something to do.

Older Women

While I'm still active in the drama club, I begin taking a bigger part in the debate club. A lot of my friends are in there and I can still do Dramatic/Humorous Interpretations and improv at the debate meets, so life is good.

I even begin drawing the attention of some of the older girls in debate that... uh... think I'm cute. One girl brings almost the entire senior debate team to my debate class to point me out.

She points at me from the doorway. "That's him."
Their eyebrows raise in acknowledgement. "Ohhhh."

What do you say to something like that? Despite my having been a little Casanova when I was young, now I'm actually quite shy. And cute girls? Forget about it. I get so tongue tied I'm embarrassed. One of the pretty older girls sat next to me on the bus from one of the debate meets. While the bus rolled through the dark night I feigned falling asleep. She put her face inches from mine, waiting for me to turn my head. Even coaxing me to turn my head. She was cute. She was older. She was so forward it intimidated me.

When I think of that memory today I want to slap the back of my head and quote a line from, It's A Wonderful Life.

"Oh... Youth is wasted on the wrong people."


  1. This was such fun to read. Guys - nice ones - really have an urge to fix things, don't they? You share so well, and write your memories so well, I feel like I'm seeing what it was like to be a young boy.

  2. wow! those were fabulous retellings! love hearing a guy's perspective of growing up!


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