A Mohair Moment

This post comes from a weekly memoir writing prompt provided by The Red Dress Club.  Write about an embarrassing moment.

I have always loved storms, contrary to most children.  I remember standing at the screen door of my grandparents’ house in Ohio, watching the amazing display of lightning bolts dance across the sky.  As a student I read everything I could about weather and cloud formation.  So it was no surprise I had my hand in the air to answer nearly every weather-related question my teacher posed.

One such question and answer session will always stick in my mind.  I was in Mr. Ryan’s seventh grade science class, wearing my beautiful, fluffy pink mohair sweater I had gotten for Christmas.  Now if you are much younger than I am, you will not have a clear picture in mind of that pink sweater.  The best description I can offer you is to think of me wearing a ton of cotton candy, only airier and fluffier.  Not sticky, of course!  Mohair was the “in” thing that year, and I thought I looked marvelous in that sweater.

Mr. Ryan was talking about clouds, and I was listening intently, my arms folded across my desk, my head resting on my arms.  He asked a question, and I was about to raise my hand to answer it when I realized my mouth was attached to my mohair-enslaved arm.  Oh, maybe now’s a good time to tell you I had braces on every tooth of my mouth, and in those days, braces were not those invisible ones or even the dainty silver bands like they are now.  They covered nearly every surface of your teeth with heavy metal and wires everywhere.  My wires had become hooked into the fine wool of my sweater, and there was no extricating myself.

I quickly put my hand down, but it was too late.  Mr. Ryan, called on me, and as I raised my head, my arm came with it, firmly attached to my mouth.  My classmates were practically falling out of their chairs with laughter.  Mr. Ryan, however, a kind and sensitive teacher, said, “Oh, dear.  Why don’t you go to the ladies room and see if you can get untangled.”  I left in a flash.

Though it was terribly embarrassing at the time, I laugh at that story every time I think of it.  It is as clear in my mind as if it happened yesterday, but it makes me laugh now.  When I was a seventh grade teacher, I always told my students that story, but they never laughed at me because they were the age I was when it happened to me, and they could offer nothing but sympathy.  At an age when their little egos were still so fragile, they felt for a moment that I was one of them.  I was vulnerable like they were.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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30 Responses to A Mohair Moment

  1. Oh my gosh, mohair sweaters. Haven’t thought about those in years. I had a turquoise one, which I loved, loved, loved. Thanks for transporting us all back to 7th grade when we all experience one of those embarrassing moments that seem like such tragedies at the time, but we laugh our heads off about now. Nice post!

  2. Everything is a catastrophe in seventh grade.

  3. Katie says:

    The same thing happened to me once!! Well, not exactly the same. My sweater wasn’t mohair and mercifully it wasn’t in front of a room full of my peers, but I definitely got my braces stuck in my sweater sleeve once. NOT fun getting them out either. I remember that it actually kind of hurt…and it felt like I was picking sweater fibers out of my mouth for weeks.

    Great post! Well told and funny :) Stopping by from TRDC.

  4. May says:

    I remember braces of that age. It is a wonder your wonderful mohair sweater wasn’t shredded as heavy metal as they used to make those things.

    I think was wonderfully kind of you to share this with your students of that same age. When you are feeling insecure it always helps to know that someone else has walked that path and survived. I bet that humanized you and made you all the more lovable to them.

    • comingeast says:

      Oh, I used to share a ton of stories with my students. We always laughed together, or they sympathized with me. I miss those days of being a classroom teacher.

  5. mypajamadays says:

    That story STILL makes me laugh too!

  6. Wanda says:

    My one and only mohair sweater was turquoise and was matched up with a pair of turquoise plaid stretch pants. I would probably cringe at a picture of that outfit today, but way back in 7th or 8th grade I felt like a million bucks!

  7. judithhb says:

    I think your Mr Ryan was the example you followed in your teaching days. Great story Susan.

  8. Galit Breen says:

    I’m so glad you’re laughing! And that Mr. Ryan was so nice about it!

    Loved that you waited to reveal that you had braces until we were a bit into the story!

  9. Julia says:

    Funny story — but what a great teacher Mr. Ryan was! Must’ve been a beautiful sweater; I never wore anything like that because I was SUCH a tomboy but my mom sure bought me a lot of similar things–she kept hoping! :)

    • comingeast says:

      I didn’t know that about you! I was totally a girly-girl. I’m actually more of a tom-boy now! Love to wear my boyfriend jeans and my granddaughter’s old Converse sneakers. Yes, Mr. Ryan was such a gentle man.

  10. Roxanne says:

    It’s always nice to remember that there comes a time in our lives when we can actually laugh about these mortifying events. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Cute post!
    I do have a clear picture of you in that pink sweater. I had a blue one and I felt like a million bucks whenever I wore it. I didn’t have any embarrassing moments, with mine, but I vividly remember how it felt when you got some of that mohair in your eyes.

  12. Margie says:

    I never got to have a mohair sweater, but one of the years that pink was in I got a down filled ski jacket. Quite a puffy jacket, at that. I thought I was cool, but when I think about it, I must have looked like a pink Michelin man…

  13. Oh poor Susan. I feel sorry for you and such a terrible thing happening but at the same time it is funny. I can see the whole thing now. You in your fluffy pink sweater, head raising and your arm coming up in the air at the same time cause you can’t get loose. Ahhh.

  14. Carrie says:

    Oh, how embarrassing. Those school days are always fodder for the worst moments in our lives I think :)

    I can see you in the sweater. Those lovely mohair sweaters, I remember them well

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