Thursday, November 11, 2010


I think it's somewhat inevitable, what with the merging of your life to another through marriage, the puffing of pregnancy, the retreat from the single life into one of quiet service to your kids...well it's inevitable not to take those kids your investing lessons and dinners into and not live through them a little bit. They are a piece of you after all.

As for my childhood...apart from being sweet, innocent, happy, and fulfilling...there was the cold hard fact that my mother was (in her younger days) Miss Utah State with a 27 inch waist and that I hit high school in a post-grunge-band world with oversized flannels, hiking boots, and stringy hair.

When my oldest sister got first runner-up in the high school pageant, I was amazed to see the investment of time and emotions my mother put into it. After high school, what with the closet full of dresses and an amazing piano number memorized, my mother quietly signed up my sister for a wannabee big-time but far from prime-time pageant called Miss Idaho National Teenager.

Desperate Idaho farmgirls high on MTV choreographed their own numbers and were returning year after year, moving up the ranks into the top ten, top five, then runner-up. Of course, the rookie newcomer from Rexburg Idaho blew them away. Monica won the coveted crown, and took our family to Florida for the National Teenager Pageant (where as you would expect, "Texas" was totally hot and a complete bee-otch).

Here's the beauty today with her tennis buddies (that I fuzzed online). I mean really, look at those legs! Does she still got it or what?!

I can't say, even with my adolescent understanding that my mother would never wear hiking boots, that my younger self didn't make an effort to please my mother in this the most basic of her daughterly joys: a pageant.

*Please please please tell me you don't recognize me in this photo.

I, of course, did not get a crown or even a bouquet of flowers. I enjoyed getting to know the girls, but the lessons on poise and how to pretend to walk with a nickel squeezed in your cheeks (yes- those cheeks) as well as the constant chattering, commenting, and note-taking of nearly 30 girls which pushed our weekly prep meeting nigh over 3 hours, was enough for me to say inside my high school self: Man, I hope I never have to do this again!

And I never did! And my mother still loved me. But as a testament to a daughter's love and desire to make her mother proud...I will always have the Madison High School Jr. Miss Pageant which parents and students suffered a good 4 hours of their life for back in 1992.

Which brings me to this: that old movie Cocoon has some old guy complaining that his elevens were up and he would die soon. "Elevens" are the protruding bones in the back of your neck. Just after hearing this, I saw Audrey Hepburn in a movie, when I determined that elevens are a good thing. It means that you have a beautiful thin neck fragile enough to have elevens.

The truth is, no matter how hard I try to straighten my posture, there is an excess of mass on my upper back. I lovingly refer to it as my grizzly bear hump. And so the cold hard fact is that my elevens are swallowed up by my grizzly bear hump and I never want to have short hair, but I think it's cute.

And so begins my vicarious living through what could well be my only daughter. I talked that kid into the haircut that is against my own obscure fashion rules, and we chopped that girls hair!

What's next for Rainbow Girl? Volleyball, guitar lessons, gospel scholarship, studying abroad, and becoming a gourmet cook. All the things I miss or have fallen short in...she's in for whether she wants it or not!


paula said...

Her haircut is adorable! She looks like a little model.

That picture and story of the pageants (you and Monika) crack me up. I remember all of them! I also remember how bad you hated it after(your own pageant). The picture of the Jr. Miss contestants......what a crazy blast from the past! BIG HAIR. BIG DRESSES. BIG hopes and dreams.

Lee Family said...

Oh sister, i still think you were the BEST one in your "puttin' on the ritz" debut -despite your hiker-boot lovin'/flannel wearing/ dreadlock wishing/ indigo girls singin' self.
You're so funny.

Let's not get mad or frustrated with Rainbow Girl when she wants to be in pageants and dance and shop and wear high heels and you want her to hike and write and plant fresh herbs in the earth. What did she say to you once, "You just hate fashion girls." about those dolls or something.
kay, love ya.

Wade and Marilyn said...

I love you and wish I could be more like you. Isn't Rainbow Girl the cutest? I know she loves earrings and fashion--ha, ha!!

Angenette said...

I wish I wish I could recognize you in that picture!

Candice said...

I seem to remember that Mrs. Olsen was once the Homecoming Queen. You AND your sister are gorgeous.

Your daughter looks amazing with short hair. She definitely looks like a model. You found her signature look.

earwaxtasteslikecrayons said...

So, this is a testament to how good Monica looks: I thought that tennis picture was from the Florida pageant. Hello! That's so not fair--and, yes, she TOTALLY still has it.

I found you in the picture, but it took some hard looking.

And Rainbow girl is darling. I love super-short hair on girls. I'm about this close to doing the same thing to mine . . .

Celeste said...

So I looked at your pageant picture for like 5 minutes and couldn't find you, but then Jackson walked in the room, looked at the screen, and found you in like 2 seconds flat.
I love Chloe's hair - it kind of reminds me of my sisters haircut. It's adorable and low maintenance, best of both worlds!

Mrs. Olsen said...

Candice...a-ha yes. Homecoming Queen. My mother was never more proud.

I am laughing at all the comments of Rainbow Girl = fashion girl. At least she has some mall-crazy aunties to help her when she leaves my area of expertise.

jennaloha said...

I used to have nightmares that I found out I was in the pageant the day it was put on and I was horrified because I couldn't walk in high heels.

That was why I was on the yearbook staff- so I could make fun of the people forced to do Jr. Miss and I would never have to wear high heels.

But seriously, isn't it sad that when our bodies were so cute and thin we were covering them with oversized boys cutoffs and logger flannel?

Monica said...

I took my girls to the "Miss Bonneville" pageant last night and then today Mom reminded me that you had blogged about the old pageant days.

Funny thing is that my girls came home last night and wanted to practice the piano and their singing...I think they are getting ready. Mom will be so proud!

You are awesome, Bosey!