Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It Wasn't Just The River That Was Flowing

Before I actually get into what I wanted to tell you let me say that the pneumonia has been conquered for the most part. The cough is still there but not nearly as often. The energy level is about 80% and my appetite is back, more's the pity.

Now on to the memories.

One of my big goals for 2017 is to get all of the things scanned. I may not make it as there are a lot of things. But I am making a dent and today I scanned some letters. I like to read the letters before I scan them and it was when I was reading this particular letter that I was flooded (pun intended as you will see) with memories.

I want you to take a look at the picture below. It is two snippets from a letter that Mimi wrote to her parents, Grandma and Grandpa Pringle, in May of 1974. I had to do some date figuring because the letter didn't have a year on it but since I know it was written in May of my 8th grade year, 1974 is what I came up with. 

Take a good look at the picture and read the second part of the letter closely.
She wrote that there was "much woe" from having to come back three days early from our week long "outdoor education" 8th grade trip. Ummmmmmm, I am not sure who she talked to that she got the impression of woe at being back......

But it wasn't me.

I still VIVIDLY remember that trip. Every single aspect of that horrible, horrible trip.

Did I tell you that the 1.5 days that we were at that awful camp were horrible beyond measure? I wanted to make sure that you knew that was horrible.

And I am going to tell you why it was horrible in all it's horrible detail. But just to warn you, I will be talking about like teenage girly angsty things....and periods.

Yes, I said PERIODS. Aunt Flo. Mother Nature's revenge. 


I was not what you would call an adventurous teenager. I didn't like things out of my comfort zone, and my comfort zone consisted of a book, a comfy chair and headphones on my head so no one bothered me. If you threw is a big bowl of black olives you might not even see me for days. I was shy. I was so very, very insecure. I had body issues out the wazoo. I was a mess. My best friend was sunny and vivacious and had straight blonde hair. She could TALK TO BOYS without stuttering. Oh I wanted to be Nancy in the worst possible way. But I was not. The thought of going on a week long trip with the rest of my 8th grade class, most of whom I would be too shy to talk to, was agony. But there was no way to get out of it. We all had to go. So we went.

I remember arriving at the camp...and it was raining. The anticipation of outdoor activities in monsoon like weather does not a happy teenage girl make. The boys went to their side of the camp, which was over the bridge that spanned the gently flowing stream (more on that later.) We girls went to our cabins, which happened to be on the same side of the camp as the dining hall, which I remember thinking was at least one good thing. I did like my food. I don't remember who I was "rooming" with but I don't think it was Nancy or Julie or Jodi. Any of those girls would have calmed my anxiety a bit as they were my "peeps" before the word meant anything other that the noise that a chick makes. I just remember sitting on my bunk, all squishy from having to run through the rain and wishing to be home. But I pushed on cuz I don't think they would have let me drive the bus home on my own, even if I had known how to get home.

Tuesday morning dawned...and it was raining, and I don't mean just a gentle sprinkle. I mean rain like you should see Noah going by any second. Torrential rain. Which we had to run through to do things like, go to the bathroom and take a shower. Not that ANY of us were going to take a shower with any of our 8th grade friends. Are you NUTS! That would mean that we would actually have to disrobe. Not happening. I didn't even bring any soap. Hygiene is overrated.

And it was about the time right after breakfast, when we were all soaked and squishy and muddy and wondering what the heck we were going to do, that I realized......

Other parts of me were squishy that should have been squishy. I had started my period. And I hadn't brought any "supplies" with me.

You might be asking yourself why I hadn't prepared for this thing that happens with great regularity. If you are asking this then you have never been a teenage girl. I had a hard time remembering to take a shower on a daily basis let alone count out my cycle, mark it on a calendar and then make a notation as to when it was likely to come around again and assault me. You might also be saying to yourself, "Well, you could have just asked your friends or the teachers if they had any supplies." And again I say that you have never been a teenage girl, especially a shy one. I wouldn't have been able to even get the word "tampon" or "pad" out of my mouth when standing in front of someone in authority. Gads!

But, the one thing I could do was improvise. 

1. I would change my underwear.

2. A fairly decent "pad" can be made from toilet paper. The only problem with that is that it doesn't want to stay in place as you walk. You have to walk with little mincey steps and grip that sucker with your lady parts or it slides out of place. Also, you have to change it fairly frequently.

3. I would wear my very dark blue overalls for the entire 5 days. "Accidents" would be less noticeable I was hoping.

4. I would feign death before getting up on a horse. Enough said.

And the rains continued to fall. And fall. And fall. And as the rains continued to fall, that gentle little creek between our side of the camp and the boys side of the camp was not so little any longer. 

Tuesday night came and went, damp in many places, and Wednesday morning arrived....and it was still raining. Can I say that the one good thing about all of the torrential rain is that we had to do inside things. No horseback riding ensued. No hiking in the woods. A small glimmer of goodness.

But it soon became apparent that things were not going to be even moderately good for long. Aunt Flo was in high gear. And the river kept rising. I remember standing on the girls side of the camp along with all the others of the female persuasion, gripping my improvised pad with my lady parts, and watching as the now raging river slowly demolished the bridge between the two sides of the camp. Hmmmm, that isn't good.

And that put paid to the "Outdoor Education" week. If I remember correctly, the boys had to actually pack up their stuff and hike out of the woods to a road where they were picked up.

I packed up my stuff, made a new lady pad to celebrate going home early, and got on the bus. If it wouldn't have caused too much talk, I would have kissed the ground in the Edison Jr. High School parking lot when we got back.

And you can bet that after that little fun time I ALWAYS had supplies with me.



  1. What an experience...and not necessarily in a good way! My first ever experience with my period was Christmas I was 13. Of course, that was the year our family travelled 500 miles to spend it with my cousins (who were cool city girls), my aunt and uncle, and my grandparents. I was able to score the needed supplies by whispering to my mom, who told my aunt who was sweet about it and said nothing to anyone else.

    Oh, the painful memories of the teenage years!

  2. I've been offline so much recently (part of maintaining my sanity at the moment) that I didn't realize you'd started blogging again! I'm so glad to see you back at it.


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