Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pie Charts and Stride Rite Shoes

So there I was, a little girl, in the year 1985. Now, if you are wondering what I was like as a child, let me take away all curiosity and tell you: I was just like I am now but little. A personality this strong didn't develop over time; I was born this way.

So, Momma Jo had enrolled me in a program called "Joy School". Joy School was so impactful that before I penned this blog I had to phone Momma Jo to figure out what exactly Joy School was. I mean, I knew what it was called. I knew I went. But the detail of what it actually was; not so sure. Was it pre-school? Was it some avaunt-guard church group? I had always just figured it was just the 1980's version of play dates. Turns out, I was right. Mom's would rotate as teachers, holding Joy School in their homes using some over-priced, white-washed, middle-class curriculum that includes music, stories, games, etc.

The fateful day of which I write, we had a lesson on goals. We were each given a copy (back then called a "ditto") of a blank pie chart and told to set a goal. Every day or every small victory would allow us to color a wedge of our goal pie.

I was going buckle my shoe. A totally acceptable goal for a 4 year old. I don't recall what everyone else goals were (but, for the record I do remember who was there: Autumn Buchellato, Andrew Stewart, Sean Wood, Heather Henderson, and Justin Patrick). We all eagerly began working on our respective goals.

Later that day I was sitting on the steps and I did it! I buckled that damned shoe. Of course I then proudly announced to everyone that I had accomplished my goal. Taking my social cue, Heathers Mom then loudly, so all the other kiddies would hear, declared I would now get to color my ENTIRE pie chart. Wait. What? No. I still remember her bringing over the recycled cool whip container filled with broken Crayolas and saying "pick a color and fill in your entire chart".

Now, if you know me then the issue at hand should be clear: I had to pick JUST ONE color to fill in my pie chart?! This was crazy. No way. Not only did that mean my pie could only have one color, while everyone else had multiple colors, but I had to settle on what that one color would be. Impossible. It was harder to select a color then it was to buckle that shoe.

When I called my mom tonight to find out exactly what in the hell Joy School was, I recanted the story about the pie chart and she said she remembered that happening. I no doubt complained about it then too. She then reminded me of another amusing childhood story:

So there I was, a few years later in the Fall of 1987. At the Stride Rite Shoe Store I started trying on shoes and couldn't decide which to get. I mean, it was the recession, and we were po' white folk. I didn't get multiple pairs. Whatever shoe I selected that day would be my shoe for the rest of the school year. Thoroughly pissing off the sales man, I demanded that I try on every shoe in the store in my size- every single one. Even though, it was really between three in my mind the entire time:
1.) The functional black sneaker. You remember- Reebok with the velcro
2.) The fashion forward pink bootie with the bedazzled ankle cuff
3.) The white moccasin with the native american eagle beaded on the front.

But that nagging question: what if the next shoe would be better?

I went with #2. I still wonder if first grade would have played out differently if I would have gone with the Reebok's.

Oh, and I colored my pie chart fuscia. Autumns stupid pie chart was teal, pink, AND yellow. Justins alternated between red, white, AND blue (very patriotic). Mine: just fuscia.

The morals of the story:
  • I was either really advanced and/or I set an unlofty goal.
  • So, I remember the first and last names of everyone in my Joy School group. Which is creepy of me.
  • 25 years later and things haven't changed much: still can't make a choice to save my life (literally).


Anonymous said...

Oh, my precious little girl, I remember well.... you were so darn stubborn in your indecision. The owner of Stride Rite shoes was so exasperated that he finally told you that he was not bringing out another pair of shoes, even if he found one in your size! You had at least 20 pair of shoes to choose from; he told you "just pick a damn pair, and be happy". I must admit that I was a little offended that he was so angry with you...but I guess that I was used to your reluctance to make decisions.I hope all your friends love you inspite of this little flaw, and understand that sometimes they will need to take the bull by the horns and force your to "pick a damn whatever, and be happy". I love you. Momma-Jo.

Kaylyn said...

That was hilarious, I am still laughing at little Mary and her pie chart. I actually remember you telling me that story awhile ago...hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha...I did Joy School too, even in Idaho. I don't remember any pie charts, but I do recall some great sing alongs and I also know the name of every person from my group!

Lincs & Ali said...

Mary you have a blog!!!! Now we can be blog friends! SOOO fun!

Anonymous said...

Too long.

D.C. said...

Mary McMullen is a shoe diva.

Mandy Lin said...

This is a quote from your text: "But that nagging question: what if the next shoe would be better?" Mary, there will always be a better shoe. I will lend you the book "The Paradox of Choice."

P.S. We would have been friends in Joy School and we would have dominated.

Mommy to Girls said...

Mary, Mary, Mary........YOU have a blog and I didnt even know it....So so sad! Here is a link to mine :)
Love you! Now im going to go read your blog

Bethany said...

For some reason I assumed Joy School was just a Utah thing, but I guess I was wrong. I did Joy school too, and I always loved when it was our turn to have it at our house. My only real memories are the weather chart and making our "All about me" books that I still have today. :)

Love your stories!