School Portraits and Other Hair Highlights


 Kindergarten. Recovering from my first attempt at cutting my own hair!

The dress is another story. I was driving with my mother and father when suddenly I insisted that they stop right now take me into that dress shop over there. For some reason, my dad pulled into the lot and my mom took me in. I found the rack that held my size, pointed at this dress, and my mom bought it for me. The whole event still makes no sense to me, but serves to show the enormous power that the whims of small insane children can have over some parents.


First Grade: Pink dress, white polka dots, a Peter Pan collar, and swingin’ hair.


Second Grade:My mother knitted this dress for me. I still have a spare ball of the yarn.


Third Grade: Check out the asymmetrical barrette. And the skunk pin I got from the Avon lady; it had perfume inside.


Fourth Grade: Just growing out my bangs, and yet so modern! Also, another perfume pin from the Avon lady.


Fifth Grade: There’s a word for what I was aiming at with those wispy bangs, and that word is Incredibly Romantic. My friend Jenny had the same dress, except in yellow, and we would call each other and coordinate so we’d wear them on the same day.


Sixth Grade: It finally grew out, and I rewarded myself with orange yarn hair ties. Can you see my earrings? They’re Shrinky Dinks, made by me with an orange Sharpie. They’re Mushrooms. It was the seventies.


Seventh Grade: I think a neighbor mom gave me this haircut in her kitchen. But look how good I was with a curling iron. Pinched, no-teeth smile indicates confusion at being in a big new school with unaccustomed beta-female status. This was also the year I experimentally shaved my arms.


Eighth Grade: Brimming with confidence. Check out the feathered hair. Charlie’s Angels was at its height. This was the year I was elected Head Girl. I went to some meetings; I may have helped us get chocolate milk on Wednesdays.


Ninth Grade: Growing out the feathering. The transition to high school wasn’t bad. It helped having a best friend who wore the same shirt for her picture.

Tenth grade

Tenth Grade: Oh My God. And this was the re-take. Can you just smell the hairspray?

And then for eleventh and twelfth grades I switched to a private school that didn’t adhere to the forced picture-taking philosophy.



The summer after third grade. The guy who took this picture didn’t know if I was a boy or a girl. I guess a lot of boys were wearing purple Danskin shorts, white knee highs, and red clogs that year?


Field day, fourth grade. I always thought I was a better athlete than Kristen, but look who has more blue ribbons. (Not me.)


 The summer between tenth and eleventh grade. Worst summer on record. I had a job I loved at the concession stand of a movie theater, but my mom didn’t love that I wouldn’t get home until 1:00 a.m. some nights, so when I had to take time off to get my tonsils out, she called my boss and quit for me. When I got home from the hospital and found out what she’d done, I promptly decided to stop talking to both of my parents and develop an eating disorder. Throwing up is a lot of fun when your throat is sore after surgery, I recommend it. My parents thought I might stop scowling and hiding in my room if they took me to the Renaissance Faire in Colorado Springs. I forced a bare-bones smile for this photo, but maybe you can still feel the waves of disdain rolling toward my father through his camera lens. Huzzah!


This hair-do won a prize at a party when the gay and lesbian judges discovered that I had cut off fourteen inches of curly, curly hair and dyed it red just for them.


Then I dyed it black, pierced my nose, and went to my cousin’s wedding in Duluth. My Aunt Joyce said, “What do they call that hair cut, a butch?” Yes, Aunt Joyce, they do. But look how cute my mom is here!

(c) 2004

2 Responses to “School Portraits and Other Hair Highlights”

  • Wish I could see the pics. I only get text and one pic. Of course I love your text, but I love your face too!

  • Weird, it asked me to authenticate the page before I could see the images. What’s up, WordPress? Did I fix it?

    No, I had to re-upload everything. NOW it’s fixed.

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