B is for Boys, Braces and Babysitting. Second of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.
A sure sign that adolescence was upon me was an endless stream of boys and crushes that began to populate my diary. My age-12 entries were infrequent, mostly in pencil and often about family events or vacations.
But when I turned 13 all that changed. I began writing in pen every day in bolder cursive — and the main subject was boys.
Who I had a crush on, who my friends liked and the seemingly endless list of places where we could and did run into boys — at school, at skating parties and dances, at ice cream socials, at our lakeside camp, at sports events, when they came down to our block and even at church!
None of these literary meanderings resulted in an actual boyfriend — I was still too young for that in my early teens. But I began taking a new look at my male Maine Endwell Junior High classmates who were once mere school chums at Hooper School elementary.
Alas, my romantic musings were thwarted by the need for braces to correct wayward teeth — which meant getting a metal grill that glinted brightly when I smiled and required periodic orthodontist adjustments.
At first I was excited about getting braces. Lots of my girlfriends at school were getting them, too, so it seemed like the in thing.
But as my teen years progressed, the braces became an impediment to socializing with (you guessed it) boys — and I longed to get them removed. While I waited, I adopted a discrete smile for my annual school photos, as shown above.
Another major development in my early teens was getting my first babysitting jobs. No longer would I have to subsist on my meager 50-cents-a-week allowance (later raised to $1.00 after my siblings and I protested). Now I was paid by the hour — a veritable bonanza — and fervently hoped the adults would stay out late so I could accrue overtime.
In my early teens I mainly babysat on our street, where help from my parents was just a phone call away. Most families were large, so there was plenty of work — and it was much like a payroll job.
I’d get an orientation from the parents. “Bedtime is 8:30 pm. They can watch TV until then. There are games in the cupboard. Here’s where to reach us if needed,” they’d explain. Then, the magic words, “Help yourself to anything in the kitchen.”
I even became privy to mini-scandals, like which dads read Playboy or which moms read sexy novels — details we babysitters whispered about among ourselves during off hours!
But best of all was the influx of cash — badly needed in my early teens to purchase records by my favorite pop and rock stars at Woody’s Record Shop in nearby Endicott (more on this in Letter D).
Up next: Confirmation and finessing the Pledge. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!
© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.