Sunday, January 6

Nancy Zamora

Nancy Zamora was a tough girl.

She was one of the first to get fish-nets,

and wear white kid go-go boots

with a mandarin collar dress,

and was really rough at socco.

She wore a big silver crucifix

and already had pierced ears

before they were popular

with her peers.

One day,

on the big kid’s playground

I got knocked-out

in dodge ball.

All I remember

after hearing myself hit the ground

in the dark,

was Nancy’s voice far away

as she yelled, “Cindy, wake up!

Wake up!” and she shook me,

while everyone else

stood around with nothing to say

and their mouths open.

She was the only one

to do something.

* Public school is a dynamic social stew for awkward experimentation in status, ethnic and gender boundaries – though most of these important “rules” kept changing or (thankfully) were abandoned entirely once the doors flung open for recess.

Nancy was not my friend. I think I was a little afraid of her. She didn’t really have a group she hung out with, and didn’t seem bothered about it either. Admirably independent, her keen fashion sense was a little riskier than even the ‘popular’ girls, and her fierce playground skills were a competitive asset when it came down to picking teams. She played hard like a boy; I never saw her run to the nurse no matter how badly she’d skinned a knee or elbow. Nearly invisible during class time, Nancy was aggressive and sure of herself outside.

She was pretty, with long dark, straight hair parted in the middle so classic to 1968, and expertly applied coal black eyeliner. Her pierced ears were a bold statement in a time when most white, middle class parents strongly disapproved. “Putting holes in your ears is only for Catholic girls,” my dad always said with a growl. Other girls defied this cultural divide by getting together for homemade ear-piercing slumber parties. They used ice cubes to numb the spot, and a brave girlfriend wielded the needle and thread. I thought it was nothing less than barbaric, especially the bloody-thread after math on display the next day at school. But secretly, and while carefully guarding my pinch-on earring collection that always seemed to be missing more and more matched sets – I longed for pierced ears and self-confidence, like Nancy.

*from 'Station Wagon Wars' ~ growing up in the 60's by cTanner

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

So -- when are we going to see "Station Wagon Wars" in hardback on the best seller list. I want to read these excerpts while standing in Barnes and Noble.