Monday, June 02, 2008

The 70's and Also Eldridge Street

This past weekend was supposed to be a fun time, getting together with a friend from elementary school and camp who I haven't seen in at least 20 years. And overall it was great to see her.

But it would have been more fun if I hadn't made the HUGE mistake of first going to storage and pulling out a photo album from that period that nobody shall speak aloud and whose name should not be mentioned - 1975-1979. I knew I was a nerd, I knew I had no fashion sense, but I really didn't remember just how deep that pain went. My glasses were GIANT. My braces were SHINY. I was skinnier than a stick. And the hard part is that I still feel like that 12 year old girl. Just writing this brings burning tears to my eyes and a sickening sinking to my stomach. I don't think I ever graduated past the pain of being that rejected outcast loser. I just stomped down on the memories as hard as I could to make it through.

My friends look the same, still beautiful and young looking. And looking back they were beautiful and fresh faced and have stayed that way. I have to believe that I have improved with age and if I ever think I want to be young again, I will have to stop the time machine at age 16 after the braces came off and the contact lenses stayed in and my hair... oh god help me forget the wings.


But the fashion, oh my, the fashion (never mind the Meat Loaf shirt which I still have!). The dress I wore to my Sweet 16 was horrifying. I think I weighed 80 pounds at the most, and somehow I thought that ultra frilly was the way to go, despite my otherwise punk rock attitude. I can't even bear to scan those photos, it hurts too much.

And, even more weirdly, my boyfriend at the time, Danny, was so incredibly cute. I am looking at these pictures wondering why he ever went out with me. And the misery of it all. I was hideous, badly dressed, blow dried winged hair, and bitterly angry. And I broke up with him! How stupid was I. As though I could do better.

So the next day, after reliving the horrifying pain of thoseyears that I had so successfully repressed these past 30 years, my husband (who I married for his incredible good looks and talent, which are only slightly fading as he edges into his middle 50's) and I were walking through the Lower East Side, marveling at the Eldridge Street Synagogue smack in the middle of Chinatown, when a drunk stopped and told my husband how lucky he was to have such a beauty on his arm. Being sensitive to my recent depression, my husband profusely agreed with the drunk, a little too loudly. So now my validation comes from a drunken homeless man and a husband who is blinded by fear that he say the wrong thing. YAY.

On another note...

A photo tour of the day after the 70's flashback of horror, to the 70's flashback of the ever-changing and disappearing Good Ole Lower East Side.

Eldridge Street Synagogue

Doorway from another eraOrchard Street, definitely not the underwear and leather shopping paradise from days of yore
The tiniest doorway in New York?


Alex in NYC said...

I so want that Elvis t-shirt!!!!

SP said...

I love the picture and I am so glad you could scan in the one of your guys in your "prime" - so funny Jill, so funny.