I recently flew across the country, paying approximately one arm, one leg, and fifty cents, to visit home. In many ways, I hope that a certain portion of my childhood is preserved in the home in which I grew up, that somehow it remains intact and untouched by change. Driving into my old neighbourhood it’s clear that much has been modified; my old high school is now a strange colour of evergreen rather than the original boring blue, and entirely new streets have been built and named. Even at my parents’ house I notice small things, modern differences, like olive oil hand soap in the bathrooms and shiny new saucepans. These changes are small, but when added together, substantial enough to rattle me.
As a creature of habit, I have a tendency to look through old photographs to restore and affirm the history I have memorized. I find it consoling to return to these small 4X6 records of time, in part because they will never change.
I would love to share with all of you perfect family snapshots and candid moments of picnics and past pets – but alas, I have uncovered some deep and dark secrets about my childhood. The photos I’m about to share with you reveal something so shocking and absurd that all I can do now is shake my head.
Mom, why did you dress us kiddies only in stripes?
Without further ado, the evidence:
Here I am at about 3 years old in my backyard. Sure, I am clearly excited about something (probably the attention of a camera lens), and every piece of my clothing (save for the shoes) is striped. Obviously, I myself have taken the liberty of putting on the hat I’m wearing, hence the asymmetrical hair did. In defense of my mother, I will say that she was trying to teach me my ABC’s through fashion, but this is only the beginning of my case materials.
Same hat, another day, another striped shirt. Sigh. What you see here is the very complicated baby bottle pose where one has to drink the milk with no hands. Not everyone can master this but I was particularly adept. Again, the tee-shirt is actually quite cute, puffed sleeves and all, but what about florals? Or solids? Maybe even an offensive fluorescent? Honourable mentions in this photo go to my bunchy diaper peeking out of my shorts, and the somewhat embarrassing fact that I am much too old to be drinking from a bottle.
Oh look, here I am on another day, this time impossibly even more decked out in striped gear. Honestly, this outfit almost makes me blind with the stripes going in every direction. It’s sort of like when Forrest Gump describes all the types of rain he experienced in Nam. My bangs and pigtails do look awesome, and luckily I didn’t do those myself.
To show some range, here is my brother wearing… you guessed it: stripes. He too is quite excited, as apparently we were all camera hams. Perhaps he was screaming: “MOM, CAN’T YOU DRESS US IN SOMETHING ELSE?!”
This one is of my sister outside our front door. With her blonde hair and twiggy body she almost looks adopted, but it’s not like my brother and I ever told her that… repeatedly. Admittedly, her crop top and matching shorts are adorable, but this does not excuse my mother’s blatant love of godforsaken stripes.
This last one is subtle and almost crept by me unnoticed, but the hard facts are there. Nestled into my mother’s leg I am most certainly wearing a pink and white striped skirt. Busted again, Mom!
Fast forward to the present day, and somehow, mysteriously, I am drawn to striped anything. Could this penchant for parallel lines be indicative of childhood trauma? Unfortunately the evidence is all here; the signs point to yes.
Sure, they say stripes are slimming, but be careful folks – they can engulf your childhood.