I’ve had some pretty specific requests for more hilarity lately – as if that’s even possible – and, since I’m pretty into making my readers happy, I decided to post another entry today that will hopefully meet the needs of some of the more demanding blog browsers in my life.
And, I know some of you are thinking “But you totally “to be continued” yesterday’s post! I need to know what happens!!!” No worries. I’ll update you on that post soon enough, but for now, enjoy a little bit of St. Patrick’s Day hell.
Let me begin by telling you that I kind of grew up in the hood. Now, Vineland isn’t the worst place to live in the world, but it’s far from a suburbian wonderland. I didn’t realize how bad it actually was until my parents moved my sister and I to the real suburbs (holla, Franklinville!) where there were arguably more cows than people and not a minority person in sight. That said, while I was living and going to public school in Vineland, I became pretty accustomed to being a minority myself. There weren’t all that many white kids in my classes, and, as far as I was concerned, it was normal for it to be that way.
So. Imagine me as a child. Little. Brown hair (skillfully cut into a super hot 1980’s chick-mullet by my mother). Brown eyes (way to big for any of my other features, but freakin’ adorable). White. Kind of socially awkward – in the sense that I tended to over-think everything that had to do with interacting with another person, and, as a result, ended up acting totally impulsively without actually meaning to or managing to be endearing about it.
Example: Standing in line in the hallway with my second grade class, my overly awkward self is fidgeting (because I can never just be still), and worrying about making it to the library in time to get the next Nancy Drew book. My teacher, Mrs. Paladino, who at that time I was convinced may have been the closest thing to the devil I had ever encountered, scolds me for not standing still and waiting like everyone else. I stare up at her, fighting tears, and out of the corner of my eye catch all of the kids in front of me turning around to stare. This brings on a mild panic, and as a thousand thoughts rush through my little, mullet-ed head, I blurt “You have a tag in your hair. Is it a wig?!”
Now, in my defense, she was in fact wearing a wig, and her tag was in fact sticking out. But you can see how it was equally as easy to love and hate the younger-me. And now that you have a slight head start in understanding this, I’ll go on with my St. Patty’s Day story.
The highlights of every grade-schooler’s year are those unofficial holidays – the ones that still allowed you to go to school and see your friends, but also meant a party, arts and crafts, and treats. One of those holidays, of course, is St. Patrick’s Day. Grade school St. Patrick’s day parties consisted of making leprechauns, coloring rainbows, and eating shamrock-shaped cookies, Irish potatoes, and chocolate in the shape of over-sized gold coins.
In the spirit of the holiday, every teacher always asked us students to dress in green for the party, and every year I would rush home, excited, and start digging through my closet for green clothes to wear to the great St. Patrick’s Day party. Every year, my excitement would be painfully squelched by by my over-zealous Irish Protestant grandmother.
“Kari Anne! You are Irish PROTESTANT. We don’t wear green for St. Patrick’s Day – that’s an Irish Catholic thing.”
The green tights I had found and held clutched to my chest fell to the floor. She spat the word “green” as if it were dirty.
“You’ll wear the proper colors. You can show everyone how proud you are to be a Protestant Irish!”
Oh, thrills. I knew what was coming. The most hideous color combination ever.
“Purple and Orange! And I made you this pin to wear with it!”
I know I don’t match, and I’m sure that the pin is actually bigger than my head.
Every year I would drag myself to school on St. Patrick’s Day. The only white girl. Already socially awkward. And by far the only student dressed in purple and orange in a sea of green happiness.
Thank God for green beer …