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)