03 January 2006

self portrait tuesday #17

after traveling in the car all day today (coming home from vacation), I really thought I would crash on the couch OR get caught up in a mad cleaning frenzy. you know, unpacking and vacuuming and muttering complaints under my breath. but alas, I sat down to check my email (just for a SECOND), and before I knew it, I was sucked in. a quick look at the clock (two hours until midnight!) and I was off to rummage through some albums and photo boxes to see what I could find for this month's self portrait tuesday challenge.

and so this is what I dug up: one of my favorite childhood snapshots. I loved that day. I loved that outfit, that hat, those white leather sandals. that's me, all right. I sort of think of this as quintessential andrea. always moving, on fire to play, to go, to see, to do.

each summer, my family piled into an enormous brown stationwagon (aka the chuckwagon) to make the two hour trek to st. louis to spend the day at six flags over mid-america. like christmas in july, folks. oh, the anticipation leading up to the big day, waking up early EARLY in the morning to pack up and go. my eyes grew big as the st. louis arch came into sight. I pressed my face against the window to take as much in as possible. the city was a mysterious place that I loved so much it hurt. small town living will do that to a little girl. when we finally arrived at the amusement park, the sight of all those bright-colored flags waving in the sky... the smell of the black-top pavement (a scent as intoxicating as old library books, fresh-cut christmas trees, my grandma irma's bread baking and the ocean)... all of it just too good for words. we ate an early lunch in the parking lot (picnic-style), gobbled down tunafish sandwiches and drank warm lemonade, though my brothers and I had absolutely no appetite. we just wanted to GET IN THERE. and once we did, what a whirlwind, what a blur of giddy activitiy: kiddie roller coasters, the antique cars, cotton candy and straw hats with red pompoms! the time tunnel, the log flume, the six flags dancers, the arcade! we always stayed until the park closed, until we were sweaty and sticky, tired and grouchy and whipping each other with those plastic glowing flourescent necklaces. sometimes, we would catch a late night concert on our way out of the park and I will never forget marilyn mcoo and billy davis jr. performing a cover of the eagles' 'heartache tonight' to an audience of about fourteen people. they were ridiculously excited, trying to get us to clap our hands above our heads. it was kind of a sad scene but I still thought they were so cool. (marilyn mcoo of solid gold fame, can I get a witness please). I remember wondering, where WAS everyone? this was FABULOUS, this place, this performance, this moment in time. yes, I was high on cherry slushee and ice cream and taffy candy but I was more right about that than I ever could've known. those yearly trips are such a sacred part of our family history. someone brings up the subject of six flags and it's so easy to get lost talking about it. in my mind, they were magic, magic times and I think my brothers would be quick to agree. I am forever grateful to my parents for this, for these trips. and I want this for ava and ezra. I want them to have old photographs like this to look back on and I want them to be able to sit around and laugh about family trips like we do.

(how about that rad yellow adidas teeshirt my dad is wearing in the photo? dang. where is that shirt now? I'd just about do anything to have that in my possesion. including-but not limited to-naked bowling outside in the dead of winter)


  1. Great post! And gorgeous photo. You are so alive in the picture -- and still are. I love it.

    And I'll witness for Marilyn McCoo And Billy Davis Jr! You don't have to be a star, baby, to be in my my my my show . . .

  2. so i'd like to see the naked bowling in the dead of winter photo please!

    as always.... i find myself reading as fast as i can to get it all in... and then again to let it wash over me....

    my six flags was disneyland.... ava and ezra will have their day!

  3. love the pointed toe & side-long glance, obviously not so much as concerned with the taking of the picture, but with what was to become of your adventure... What great memories!

  4. tee hee! I've been planning this months theme for a week now...thinking it over, etc.:) so funny what we consume ourselves with.

    We would go to King Dominion!!!! Oh the joy....and the $10 we each got to spend!!! Also a LARGE 7 seater station wagon over here, to accomodate the MILLION children my parents had!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  5. HA! what's that naked bowling? love the trim on your outfit!! and such a cool hat! oh yes, i remember, being a small town girl myself; that magnetic draw to the big city, the lights, the flags, the fair (mine was called klondike days)! we too, made the trip year after year!

    i think that adidas shirt is worth that bowling stunt!

  6. Great photo - we would go to Opryland or King's Island - and SHUT THE PARK DOWN!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!

  7. this is such a great post for many reasons. but can i just tell you that when i was a little girl i would always get butterflies in my stomach the night before we went to six flags in atlanta. i loved it so much. to this day i still love rollercoasters but most of my friends could care less. this is awesome. you totally captured that little kid excitement. i love it.
    and the photo is awesome
    and i love the addidas
    and YES i hate it when good music is not appreciated or being played to deaf ears. it makes me sick to my stomach. solid gold. seriously.

  8. omg andrea! that's so wonderful! it made me smile and reflect on my own favorites (which i missed this week but will post next tuesday)! how special to have these fond memories! i already know ava and ezra will have many! ♥

  9. awesome photo!--(I think I start every comment to you this way)Your dad looks so hip, and of course you justlook the part of the litte girl running around the amusement park with sticky cotton-candy fingers and a cherry-slushee stained grin.
    Great writing as always,andrea!

  10. hi andrea! it's nathalie, i just wanted to tell you that thak's to your great birthday party ideas, nicole's party was a blast!! :D please check out my blog btw. :) (i check in on yours every day :P) and great post!

  11. Fun photo! We used to go to Magic Mountain or Disneyland...ahhh BLISS!!! Such joy for a kid! Your words are magic...and I felt like I was right there with you!

  12. Andromeda...I just love reading your words, makes me feel like I'm right there with you. Six Flags IS great.

    Anyway, growing up I was fortunate to go to St. Louis with your family a few times. I remember the trips to St. Clair Square. We'de get dressed up in our best Forenza sweaters and giant hoop earrings and shop til we dropped. But my favorite trip was the time we went to Main Street in St. Charles. Every time I go I tell the story of how we were walking by a group of really cute boys and you accidently tripped RIGHT in front of them. We laughed so hard we could barely breathe. Good times. Thanks to your mom and dad for taking me on these great trips. Memories are cool.

    Love, Beth

  13. what a great memory! every summer my grandpartents took my cousins, my sisters, and i on a trip. we'd travel in the back of the shell covered pick up and then sleep in a trailer. some of the best memories of my life!

    and i love that little pose your making in this pic...you are a born dancer.

  14. i immediately noticed your stance in the picture - a born dancer =)

  15. madness- girl, I knew you'd be my witness.

    lisa- if you can track down that vintage adidas shirt, I'll do it! haha.

    abby marie- yeah, that pointed toe, right!? I can still hit that pose.

    joy- my mom and dad used to let us pick out one thing (toy, souvenir) each time we went. so fun. I usually picked out some sort of doll and then as I got older, it was always crazy trendy jewelry. so fun!

    jan- and yet another thing we have in common...! small town living. and I KNEW you'd dig that adidas shirt!

    glamorous jo- I've never been to opryland! let's go! let's do some damage!

    meridith- I haven't been on a rollercoaster since 1997... isn't that sad? I miss it. we should hit up six flags in atlanta together...! something tells me we'd do lots of laughing. we need glam jo to come along too! oh, and I knew you'd appreciate the significance of the adidas teeshirt, the solid gold reference...!

    joleen- can't wait to see your upcoming SPTs!

    molly- thanks...! (as always, much appreciated) and yes, I was always running around with sticky hands. mainly, I was always running.

    natalie- happy birthday to your little sis... so glad the ideas I sent your way worked out...!

    AJ- ah, disneyland! I've been there only once (sans babies)... LOVED it. I was like such a big kid, all up in that place. couldn't believe I actually got to ride the famous magic mountain...!

    beth- oh beth. how wonderful it was to read your words... I remember! I remember it all... vividly. but especially the trips to st. clair square! oh man, the silver hoops! and remember how cool it was to wear your forenza sweater backwards? that deep-v in the back... dang. I remember the limited and express and spencer's gifts and sbarro's pizza and always ALWAYS looking for cute boys. and I do remember falling in front of those cute boys in st. charles! ha, I think I must've TOTALLY blocked that from my memory because it took me a while (the ego is funny that way, eh?). such great times. feels like it happened a lifetime ago. miss you, beth. I miss being andromeda!

    michelle- what fantastic memories... something about riding around in the back of your grandparent's truck. it has such a poetic sound to it.

    ky- yeah, that posing thing (and the dancing/moving thing too) always seemed to come so authentically from me. funny how telling this photo was of who I'd become. I couldn't have been more than 4 in this pic.

  16. You said "dang."

    hee hee hee...I love that word.

    Okay, seriously...

    Andrea, I believe there's a classic novelist inside of you that pours out onto your blog, when you start tapping on the keyboard. You seem like someone who writes really well, effortlessly.

    PS---thanks for putting my blog in your blogs list!

  17. Oh Andrea,

    this was SO lovely. My heart was racing following you through the entire experience. What talent you have for writing, I'd so love to hear you speak these posts and share stories! I love your enthusiasm and your vivid details, and how they make me feel like i'm recalling my own memories - sights, scents, emotions and all.

    And that adidas shirt? I'm so having one made.