aqua fortis

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Me As Pathetic Victorian Child

Among other things that have been keeping me pretty well occupied lately, I finally started the laborious long-term project of scanning old childhood photos into digital format. I'm putting some of them into Flickr (sorry, you won't be able to see them unless you have a Flickr account and I've marked you as a friend/family), including this one of me in London in 1981.

We were visiting Hampton Court Palace with a friend of my Mom's and her nephews (pictured). I look a bit disgruntled in my frilly dress. I have no idea why my mother put me in a frilly dress, but there you go. I guess I can blame it on the 80s, like the socks-and-sandals look I'm also sporting, and the bowl-cut/pageboy hairdo.

My parents had met in London, and lived there before I was born. On this trip, we were touring around England and Wales, visiting old friends of my parents and sightseeing. I actually have quite a few memories from the trip, thanks to a travel journal that my mom kept. She'd write in it with me every evening, jotting down about a page about the events of the day. Back in Southern California, I would read it over and over again for years afterward, cementing some of the memories in my mind.

That day at Hampton Court Palace, my mom wrote, "We saw some lovely costumes from 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII' (BBC Production), and the king's kitchen, the beautiful gardens full of trees and flowers and interesting rock paths; and best of all, we went into a maze!" The hedge maze is nearly all I remember now of that day--scary but fun, with kids running and screaming down the rows, gleefully getting lost and finding each other again.

I have one other memory of that day, something that was significant to my child-mind but seems so ordinary now--finding a strange but interesting rock on the ground, somewhere amid the otherwise-unremarkable gravel of the paths. It looked broken, split open like a tiny hemisphere, with the broken side showing both dark greyish-brown as well as a lighter beige center. I remember showing it to my mom, who was sitting on a bench. She let me keep it as a souvenir. I'm not sure what ultimately happened to it, but I kept that for years with my other mementos of the trip--which included other stones, beach-smooth ovals from the ocean at Tintagel (where King Arthur was born, according to legend). Apparently I really liked rocks.


tanita✿davis said...

Painful level of cute going on here! I have never thought to have bangs cut, because I don't think it would do anything for my face, but for you -- wow.

Socks with sandals, though. I'm gonna have to tell you that at about that same time, I was wearing the same thing. Usually not with a frilly dress, however.

How cute.

Anonymous said...

You are so, so, so cute there! I swear I had that exact same haircut in 1981, and I was not nearly so cute. This is probably because I was not in London, nor would my mother let me wear frilly dresses, no matter how much I begged.

Sarah Stevenson said...

I was a frilly dress hater as a kid--not sure if I'd gotten to that point yet when this picture was taken, though!