Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The "scrap" is key to an enduring scrapbook

David Cassidy has died and along with him, a tiny piece of my gristled heart. When I was a little girl, I purchased with my own money an 8x10 black and white glossy poster of DC that hung in my bedroom for longer than was probably cool.  Over my childhood, the childish bedroom art came down and the rock and roll record album posters went up.  David stood tall in the shadow of that 4x3 foot Frampton Comes Alive poster.  What I'm about to write feels true so I'll slip into memoir mode for just one second to say that my best friend Sherri (I'm smelling her armpit above because that's just solidly funny in a photo booth) made fun of David Cassidy still hanging on my wall. She had older brothers with scary blacklight posters of Ozzie and Alice Cooper and I want to say a panther, so I'm positive she would have shared her opinion about my little 8x10 dreamboat.  I cared what she thought about a lot of things, but I don't feel like she instigated his eventual removal.  A girl's bedroom is her sanctum at the end of the day, and while friends might tease you about your David Cassidy poster, those friends go home at night and....David stays.

I suspect that David actually finally came off the wall around 1977 when he married a Miss Kay Lenz.  First marriage for both.  They looked happy, she was a starlet television actress with gorgeous long chestnut hair and a lot of teeth.  We would have been friends.  I looked at her mermaid dress and her strappy shoes and then I took a good hard look in the mirror (#MeAt14 above) acknowledging that the ship of our romance had sunk. I released my crush on David, being a good girlfriend to Kay, and to be a really good sport about it I cut out the newspaper clipping and put it in my scrapbook.  I will BE the bigger person about this, David.

I went looking for my scrapbook last night when I heard he died, because I was pretty sure he was in there, and he was.  My scrapbook is a chronological mishmash of stuff assembled on the whim of me as high school senior, maybe in summer with some time on my hands to create a portentous masterpiece of my life thus far.  Invitations to bar mitzvahs and sweet sixteens are included, and the scrapbook ends with senior year graduation cards and corsages.  Four critical years of basically, parties.

I never got into the scrapbooking craze of the early 2000s, which was an industry quickly decimated by the smart phone, thank you Jesus.  The execution of these scrapbooks was about precision and tools and themes and perfection.  It was about creating a utopic version of the current state of your family, omitting the fact or scarier yet including the fact pictorially that your toilet training kid pooped in the neighbor's front yard. So precious!  Family stories were told through beaming faces in national parks and words of inspiration and calligraphy and borders and thought bubbles.  To me, it was horrendous.  And worth saying, many moms who had the toughest time managing their hellions had the most perfect scrapbooks.  "Let me just insert you right here inside this bordered page with a smile on your face and GLUE YOU DOWN."

"Scrap" is the key element in scrapbooking.  Scrapbooks should be ragtag, right?  A collection of paper and pressable relics; torn ticket stubs obviously for the BEST concert you ever went to by a band you can't remember, invitations, clippings from the newspaper of cute athlete boys who are "just friends." My scrapbook of the late 1970s, ungainly and dorky like myself, is surprisingly holding up fine without lamination or moisture control. Again, like myself.  I can't recall the meaning of many of the handwritten references or even some of the events for which I had tickets.  However, two best friends from childhood who have died in the past five years are represented through their cards and letters by beautiful accident, just like David Cassidy's wedding announcement. A lot of junk surrounding a few really precious scraps.  As I flip the pages of my scrapbook I feel my thirtysomething parents, I feel the dread and excitement of school,  I feel the music I loved and I feel the friendships I knew.  I feel myself.  It's a dandy time capsule for emotions and sensations without specificity that would otherwise be lost to me.  RIP David, Sandra and Karen.  I would never forget you, but I am so happy to still feel you.

I hope Bobby Sherman is still kickin'.