My mother kept all the important stuff from when I was a kid. Like this letter I wrote to her. She knew I would have a need for it. Like now. She was smart that way.
From the looks of it, I hadn't learned the correct form of letter writing yet. I also hadn't learned how to be very diplomatic either. Well, maybe a little. I started out thanking my mom for some gifts I apparently received. I remember the "Shoop-Shoop Hula Hoop". I don't remember the "hair like Beth". We had a neighbor named Beth. She had long flowing locks. I had a cropped pixie cut. Maybe I asked for hair like her. I don't remember what I got. Maybe a little kid's wig? I don't know.
Legend has it that my hair was unmanageable - so much so - that my nickname was, "Barb Wire Head". I have no idea why. I was bald as a billiard ball for quite some time and then when I did grow hair it was fairly normal looking as far as I can tell from old photos. It's just another tall tale and half truth from my childhood that I live with daily.
It appears that I was grasping at straws with this letter. I thanked my mom for "the bow on a lamb". We never owned a lamb. We lived in the suburbs. Owning farm animals was illegal. Maybe it was a cutlet frill from a rack of lamb. I do thank her for dinner so maybe that's what it was. Or maybe I was just making stuff up to confuse her.
I can look back in time and see myself sitting at my desk in my room, chewing on the end of a pencil, playing with my hair like Beth, admiring the bow on the lamb and twirling my hula hoop as my mind works furiously, trying to drum up any little thing I can be grateful for so I can get to the point. Reaching into the depths of my soul and pulling out my last desperate measure and writing down my last compliment before I requested that she remain nice to me until the day she dies.
I'd say that was a reasonable request. She had three other kids she could take her frustrations out on. She could bestow all her niceness on me. I was the third kid. The third girl. The last one in a line of girls before my brother was born. The one who made her laugh. The one who wrote letters asking her to do the impossible and believing she would. That was when life was simple . . .