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.