When I heard that Clay Morgan and Leanne Shirtliffe were playing “School Photo Day,” I decided to get in on the action. But as I sifted through my class pictures and yearbook photo ops, I had trouble choosing. Should I go with one from the “I look like a bowl-headed boy” era, or from the huge selection of “my big-hair and eyebrows are battling for camera time” decade?
Instead, I opted for a blurry candid from the “normal”…day. It’s one of my favorites, actually, and not because I’m rockin’ the plaid like no other, or because of the hot ride in the background. No. It’s because of secrets.
Here’s my choice (I’m the shorty in the middle):
This picture was taken on the first day of first grade at my new school. The girl on the left looks like she’s leaning in to tell me something very important (we will disregard the fact that she also appears to be digging for gold). It’s not clear if I’m listening or in some polyester-induced haze, but I’ve always wondered: What was she saying?
Presumably, we didn’t know each other very well, and even though little girls can become BFF’s in the time that it takes to link pinkies and spit, this seems like more of a conspiratorial conversation.
Was she sharing insider information on our teacher?
“I’ve heard Mrs. Lawrence uses chinese water torture.”
Was she telling me about one of our new classmates?
“Lice. Definitely lice.”
Or, was she disclosing “da rules” of the school?
“One bathroom break. One. I recommend withholding fluids.”
Whatever she said, I look worried.
I can remember being a little nervous that day — walking to school with butterflies bouncing around from stomach to throat, and clutching that brown envelope of “very important papers” like it held the Strawberry Shortcake doll I had been longing for all my life.
Yes, for some reason, I don’t think she was sharing a funny story. If only I could remember…
Still, I love these kinds of pictures — where you’ve captured something unstaged and in the moment. So much better than the cheesy grins and uncomfortable stares. These types of pictures are puzzles. They are stories.
They are secrets shared.
And, so you don’t worry that I was too serious for a six-year-old, here’s a better representation of my normal state during childhood:
Thank goodness for the nose job.
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