1994: I got my first Weezer tape, I wore socks with sandals and I pooped my pants.

In most respects 1994 was a great year for me.

My family had moved back to southern California from Pennsylvania – and I turned twelve!

Which mean’t I didn’t have to be a “little” kid anymore – I was in Young Women’s

A Young Women's leader from our Ward (congregation) came to my house to welcome me and to explain the values (faith, divine nature, individual worth, choice and accountability, good works and integrity - they have since added virtue) and the goals of Young Women's.
A Young Women’s leader from our Ward (congregation) came to my house to welcome me and to explain the values (faith, divine nature, individual worth, choice and accountability, good works and integrity – they have since added virtue) and the goals of the Young Women’s program.

Young Women’s within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is girls aged 12 to 18 years. So yeah, I was no longer socially lumped with the “little” kids of Primary (ages 3 to 11) – I was in sixth grade for crying out loud.

Turning twelve in April meant that I was old enough to attend Young Women’s camp in the summer!

My older sister (the beautiful girl wearing a red shirt with a white bandana on her head in the top/right of center of photo) was sixteen was there and so was my mom (the silly lady on the top left wearing a white shirt flexing her arm), to which I'm sitting right next to my mom, wearing a white shirt with a TIGER face on it - I always marched to the beat of my own fashion drum...
My older sister (the beautiful girl wearing a red shirt with a white bandana on her head in the top/right of center of photo), sixteen years old, was there and so was my mom (the silly lady on the top left, wearing a white shirt, flexing her arm). I’m sitting right next to my mom, wearing a white shirt with a TIGER face on it – I always marched to the beat of my own fashion drum…

(cue the song “I’m On Top Of The World” by Imagine Dragons, which in 1994 band members were most likely in grade school…)

Im front right - crouching down on - with a green shirt and socks with sandals.
I’m front right – crouching down – with a green shirt and socks with sandals. I can’t explain the socks with sandals, it just happened.

Young Women’s camp was sort of the highlight of every summer during my teenaged years to follow – even competing with other vacations, there is always something special about Young Women’s camp – can’t beat it.

I guess, I loved going to my grandparent’s cabin in Truckee (near Tahoe) every summer too.

Okay Gramma’s cabin was neck and neck * awesome * next to Young Women’s camp.

Awe, the shores of Lake Tahoe. Where the water is chillingly cold year round!
Awe, the shores of Lake Tahoe. Where the water is chillingly cold year round!

My mom would take us up there throughout the regular year, but summer was when Gramma came out from Oklahoma and just took the three older kids to the cabin!

That’s when I had my accident.

I blame it on the forest fire.

I think I couldn't find my swimsuit before we left for gramma's, so I had to use an old one - it was only a bit too tight!
I think I couldn’t find my swimsuit before we left for gramma’s, so I had to use an old one – it was only a bit too tight!

It was a hot afternoon, standing on the back porch of the cabin, when we first noticed the large aircraft flying over. We watched as they flew chemicals to dump over the fire that raged on the other side of the mountain.

Eventually, I guess, Gramma got a call to evacuate our side of the mountain for precautionary purposes. We packed up our suitcases and loaded up her van.   She was a bit out numbered, five grandchildren to her one. We stopped in a park first, which had a dry rock bed next to it providing ample activities for bored children; like throwing rocks.

It was in that dry rock bed that the feeling hit – I had to find a toilet and fast – I yelled, “I have to go to the bathroom” and took off. I was in a strange park, I didn’t know where to go, I frantically searched the horizon – there – I saw one on the other side of the parking lot.

(cue theme song from Chariots of Fire)

I ran as hard and as fast as I could – I recall a woman walking her small dog, just barely crossing my path – it happened, mid run, my pants got soiled and I stopped running. I let that lady and her dog pass in front of me and I walked, with my pride in my pants, the rest of the distance to that port of potty.

I dropped the remaining part of my pride, along with my underpants, into the hole in the ground. The only following problem being my obsessive need to wash my hands.

Back at the van, I found a back window cracked, which allowed me to pop open a lock and get in for paper towels and hand sanitizer! Whew! I had just pulled on a clean pair of undergarments and zipped my shorts on when my Gramma opened the side door of the van startling me and her! She let out a short string of potty words “cuss! Where the CUSS have you been? You scared the cuss out of me when I couldn’t find you!” I couldn’t tell her what happened, that would be far too logical and embarrassing, “I needed clean socks…”

Looking back, she would have been far more sympathetic had I told her the truth, she told me to get out of the van and join the rest of the group, “cuss it!”

Never a soul heard that story until I was 17 and a senior in high school (Teacher Cadets) somehow, during a game, I had to tell the story and I got a lot of laughs.

After my summer adventures in Truckee, I started Seventh grade.

At take your child to work day on base (Dad was a US Naval Officer), the base reporter asked to take a photo of us for the paper...wear she recorded my knee high socks - WITH sandals - wow I was a stud-ette.
At take your child to work day on base (Dad was a US Naval Officer), the base reporter asked to take a photo of us for the paper… she captured my knee high socks – WITH sandals – wow I was a stud-ette.

I forgot, or tried to anyway, my “accident” and moved on in life. Seventh grade was pretty epic. So I had plenty of fun growing into 13 and reminded myself that I wasn’t technically a teenager when my accident happened, so it was all good.

Here is the photo that eventually made it into the base paper - I miss those Daddy/daughter days.
Here is the photo that eventually made it into the base paper – I miss those Daddy/daughter days.

Isn’t life funny?

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