It was the fall of 1975. I ‘d just been through the teenage hell that was cheerleading tryouts. Oh yes, I WAS a Freshman cheerleader, mainly because I could do a back walkover and round off. Those were pretty heady stunts those days. I loooved the uniform-gold turtleneck, blue wool jumper, knee socks and saddle shoes. But as my 9th grade year rolled along, what little popularity I had as a cheerleader waned.
Maybe it was the foam rubber falsies my mother suggested I put in my bra to make me look bigger. Problem with those was that when you do a perfect high herkie jump, and you come down, they do not stay in the same place…Hard to cheer when you have one foam rubber boob creeping its way up the right side of your turtleneck.
Being in the orchestra did not further my status.
Neither was beating out one of the cool girls for the 2nd seat violin in the NJ state orchestra.
My fate was sealed. They did not choose me for the JV squad.
So, not to be left behind, and wanting to be a part of all that was football, soccer, and the local 4th of July Parade in my small New Jersey town, I decided, or rather, was prodded, in to becoming the school mascot in the fall of my sophomore year. I would do anything to be a part of those activities. It wasn’t that cute blue jumper, the band uniform or the pep squad jackets, but it was close.
Talk about a poor fashion choice.
In 1975 large fuzzy or feathered mascots were not as big time as they are today. This position was usually given to the most desperate member of the high school that couldn’t play the triangle in the marching band. And since there was no such thing as marching violinists, this was my only option if I still wanted to be a part of our high school fun. And go to Band Camp in the Pocono Mountains so I could further stalk the drum dude I had a crush on. And wear a uniform.
So at the beginning of the fall school year, I was handed a ratty, smelly, fuzzed out animal body and separate head that was supposed to resemble a Huskie Dog.
I was Fashion Road Kill.
The up side? I never had to worry about what I was going to wear to the football games.
The down side? I never had to worry that I was EVER going to get that drum dude, let alone ANYONE else on the football or soccer field because of the dead animal smelling costume I had on.
I was lucky that in the 1970′s, in a small town outside of Manhattan, that what you wore was not a big deal. Unfortunately, what you DID, was.
But I bounced back. I always do.
By my Senior year, I was a Twirler. Back in the Marching Band. Center stage at the Homecoming Pep Rally doing our glow baton thing to the Steve Miller Band, wearing a swirly twirly band dress, short white boots with a tassels on them, and a Varsity jacket with my name on it that I was proud to wear to the Livingston Mall. I was BACK!
Could have been worse, I could have been in the South in a sequined bathing suit with that baton.
With those foam falsies whirling everywhere.
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