Pre-teen age is the age of anxiety and perplexity. At that age, I was in a perpetual state of not knowing what I was supposed to do. To help me figure it out, I sent away for a booklet that told me essential things.
It told me to do things on schedule: I should check my wardrobe monthly for any mending that needed done. I should soak my hair brushes every week in hot water and ammonia to keep them clean. Underwear should be neatly folded, and shoes polished and in good repair.
I don’t know where I got this booklet, only that I sent boxtops and change to a company that sent me information on what every teenage girl should know. I was glad to have the information, but I hid the booklet under my neatly folded underwear, as though it were pornography. I think I was ashamed at how much I didn’t know.
At least I got something from that mail-in offer. Several years previous, my brother and I saved up a designated number of Bonomo Turkish taffy wrappers and mailed them in with 50 cents for a special offer of a magic set, to be sent within six weeks of our submission. Week after week we waited … and waited … for our magic set, which never came. We’ve never quite gotten over it. We still talk about the magic set that never came. We didn’t know that careful attention to detail and rule-following could possibly lead to … nothing. Shouldn’t life be fair?
I now suspect that we are in a lifetime state of not-knowing and learning. We look for guidelines and bits of wisdom wherever we can. From our parents, if we can bear
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