Q is for Questioning everything! Seventeenth 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.
When I turned 13 in 1963, I was still coming off childhood and living in the moment without much introspection.
But as my early teens progressed, I started forming my own opinions — and pretty soon I was questioning everything!
Most of the time, my teen questions were aimed at the nonsensical edicts of adults — but soon enough, I was also critically assessing my peers who I disagreed with.
The suitcase conundrum
My maternal grandmother Liz (Stoutner) Laurence, who we called Boom, had some famous pronouncements that could always get me going. Enter the suitcase conundrum.
“Don’t talk to strangers,” Boom would admonish, “And don’t lift your suitcase on and off the overhead rack, ask someone to help you.” The obvious question: How do I ask someone to help me if I can’t talk to strangers? Sheesh! Anyway, it was the sixties — I could lift my own suitcase.
By the time I was 14, my diary started containing confrontations here and there with adults as I gained my teen footing — like this three-day run in April 1964.
April 8, 1964. I can’t talk on the telephone for a week cause I asked Dad if he could be more quiet.[We had one phone located in our dining room.]
April 10, 1964. Mr. S. said if he catches Kath or I in the A.V. room he’ll move our lockers! [I had a crush on an A.V. guy at the time.]
Mixed parties and thwarted double dates
Meanwhile, as my teen girlfriends started having house parties and inviting boys, my parents were stuck in 1950s-World. A Junior Prom-style date was the only type they would approve of — all carefully chaperoned with a parent driving us to and from. I was not happy.
Jan. 20, 1964. Jackie’s having a mixed party [boys and girls] and I can’t go! Feb. 9, 1964. Terry said they played spin the bottle [a kissing game] at Jackie’s party!
Hence this sad diary entry in my now larger journal — since I’d outgrown my childhood one.
Dec. 23, 1965. Last night I was going to double date with a friend of mine. I made sure my parents knew all parties involved so they couldn’t possibly object. I might’ve known they’d find something to object to no matter how careful I was. [In this case, the boy was older than me.]
The last straw in English was a classmate who criticized one of my favorite books — Catcher In the Rye.
Oct. 1, 1965. [She] is the epitome of pessimism. She lacks insight and perception of beauty and purpose…[and] has made numerous derogatory comments about, “Catcher in the Rye.” I never cease to be amazed at the amount of sordid information she manages to dig out of that perfectly harmless book.
Thus, bit by bit, I started questioning everything and everyone during my early teen years — my grandparents, my teachers, my parents, my classmates — unaware at the time that each pointed query was another step on the path to forming my own, personal outlook.
Up next, R is for Rock and Roll DJs. 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.