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12.08.2011

THE QUASIMODO YEARS

Right now as I sit here typing I occasionally stop to itch the eyelid of my left eye and my head. I have tried willing myself to NOT itch those two places. You know a sort of mind over matter approach to dealing with itchiness. Plus, standing in a grocery store line digging your scalp is just gross to those around you! I think those two itches are left over from my childhood. I had eczema as a kid. It would come and go in red, scaly patches in the fold of my forearm/elbow area, my eyelids and on my scalp. As an adult, especially after the birth of my daughter 24 years ago, hormones played a role in another outbreak of eczema for a season. This latest flare of it, who knows! Age is a mystery and so is the road to menopause!! It seems too as a kid I was frequented by eye infections. They were the type that when you slept your eye would weep and mat with so much gook and eye juices that you would be temporarily blind by morning. Totally unable to open my eye one morning, I remember screaming to my mom. She came running to find me looking much like a newborn kitten – eyes gooked shut completely. I had to talk myself off the panic ledge until she secured a very warm washcloth to pry loose the dried eye jellies that had solidified my eyelid into a permanently closed position. It happened with some regularity. I did feel much like one of our barn cats who seemed to be afflicted with a similar eye situation. Mom had some concoction she used on their eyes too. One morning both of my eyes were nailed completely shut with dried ooze. I laid in my bed and pictured what it would be like to be blind. I would then always have a permanent and real excuse for why my hair looked so bad (instead of the one I currently had at 8 years old ….I just didn’t comb it). What an unattractive kid I was; horribly messy hair that I never wanted to comb, bucky beaver teeth (that’s what my sisters called my overbite) that didn’t allow me to close my mouth properly, a scar that ran from the bottom of my nose to the top of my lip (again an injury that my sisters created) which caused a crooked smile, red eczema patches on my eyes and arm, and eyes that continually liked to gunk themselves closed at night. That was all accentuated with some bad childhood hairdos. I was also so skinny that my sisters dubbed me “Festus”, a skinny drunken character on the show “Gunsmoke”. They would occasionally shake me like a rag doll and repeat lines from “Gunsmoke” like…Festus, have you been drinking again?' The skinniness finally left me the summer I worked at the town bakery. Long johns with extra cream erased the nickname “Festus” from henceforth! I was not physically very attractive growing up in comparison to my sisters and most of the kids in my class. Ok, barring James “lump lump” Blessing. Next to him I looked like a model! Whenever I see an awkward looking kid, a messy Marvin of sorts, a tomboy, I smile inside. They are late bloomers whom I feel very akin to. Their time will come. Mine did eventually.

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