October 06, 2008

Philadelphia Freedom

Okay, I'll post, but grudgingly. I was going to wait you out. Frankly, I think the gum post might be the best thing I've ever written, and I'm stunned--stunned and shocked--that it didn't elicit more comments, positive or negative. What, after all, is more controversial than gum-chewing policy?

When I was of middle school age, kids would buy some of the newfangled gum that was then all the rage. I think it was a quarter a pack. And then they'd sell it to other kids for a dime or even a quarter a piece. That's when I first realized the evil of gum and of my fellow man. Well, not first. And not evil. And not gum. But you know what I mean.

In 1976 I went to Philadelphia with our church youth group. I was an outsider amongst them, because I was the only pubescent Presbyterian from my school district, because my family drove by several Presbyterian churches to go to the one in the next town. I figured it was because our church was better than all those other churches. But they all knew each other from school, and they didn't know me. Kids can be so cruel. *Sob!*

Anyhow, the kids called me "Freck." Because, well, I'm covered with freckles. Now, of course, I'm covered with freckles and hair, but at that time, mostly just the freckles. Is it weird that I still hate them all? Even the one I had the doomed, unChristian crush on? To this day she defies my Google.

I mean, you know the whole point of youth group, right?

Anyhow, do you remember in that year--if you remember that year--that there were these shirts that became popular ... they were made of a villainously plasticky unbreathing material, and the front panel would have an ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH printed on it? Amazing. Like scenery ... a sailboat on a lake. Or the Liberty Bell. Or the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Am I really the only one who remembers this brief fad? It was worse than the whole rest of the 1970s, I assure you. Worse even than the curvy combs with the thick teeth that everybody had to carry to comb their creamy Shaun Cassidy parted-in-the-middle feathered-back hair with. Anybody?

Why would I dream of owning a plastic shirt with a picture of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on it? You tell me.


Tom said...

Let's see if I've got this right; this post is like a call for help: you want all your loyal Wordshed readers to scour their local yard sales (to say nothing of eBay) searching out that elusive plasti-photo-Philly T-shirt. If you can't recapture that youth group moment, at least one of us might get you the lousy T-shirt. Right?

JB said...

Bump ... set ... spike! Actually all I'm looking for is someone who remembers those damned shirts.

Given the unbreathing nature of fabric, we made for a very smelly vanload of pilgrims to the birthplace of democracy.

Michael said...

The best I can do is remembering heavy t-shirts with heavy silk-screened artwork on it, sometimes coated in plastic, that would make my chest sweat.

JB said...

These were pure polyester double knit, I'm sure.

And don't think I don't know what you're trying to do with that talk of chest sweat.