Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, August 15, 2008

School Days -- Guest Blog by Cheri Crane

Earlier today as I was returning home from a jaunt to Utah, I swung by a couple of stores in Logan. Since my husband and I are now considered an empty-nesters (our youngest son is currently serving a mission in Canada) I'm obviously out of the groove for the yearly tradition known as "Back-to-School Shopping." Both of the stores I happened to visit today were filled with harried parents and their offspring. It was rather fascinating to watch.

"Here's a pair of pants on sale," a hopeful mother offered.

Her daughter, who looked to be between the ages of 12-14 replied: "Puh-leeze. The zipper is like gi-nor-mous!"

"What's wrong with the zipper?"

"It's like 5 miles long!"

The mother examined the pants in question, then rolled her eyes. "It isn't either. It's barely 4-5 inches. Now stand still so I can see how they'll fit."

"Mother! They come up to my armpits!" the teenage girl wailed.

"They'll barely cover your rear-end."

"That's what layered shirts are for." With that, the sweet young thing turned and began to send a flurry of text messages, her thumbs moving so fast they were a blur.

"You did not just text your friends about this. And just so you know, you are not buying those low-cut pants your friends all wear!"

Since I was in this particular store to find a pair of shoes for my husband, I moved out of range of the ensuing argument. Hurrying toward the back of the store, I passed a mother and son combo. They were looking at shirts."Here's a nice looking shirt," the mother said, retrieving a striped polo-style shirt from the rack in front of her.

"You're all up in the Kool-aid," was the indifferent reply.

(Incidentally, I looked this phrase up online when I returned home and learned that it means: "You're getting in my business.")

"Well then, what do you want to wear?" the tired mother inquired.

The teen in question sauntered to a rack of t-shirts that looked like something from a frightening Halloween movie. "Aight!" he exclaimed. (I looked this term up, too. It means: "All right, or okay.")

Casting a sympathetic glance toward the appalled parent, I moved on past, finding the shoe aisle. I passed a small girl, possibly about 6-7 who was looking at shoes with her mother. The only requirement this young lady stressed was that the shoes had to be pink. Her mother was trying to convince her that pink wouldn't necessarily match everything in her wardrobe. This discussion didn't seem to be going well as I moved on toward the mens' section.

As I searched for the shoes my husband wanted, I began pondering what the conversations might have been like during shopping adventures when my parents were teenagers:

"Jane, what makes you think you need a poodle-skirt?"

"All of the other girls are wearing them.""What's wrong with this nice black wool skirt?"

"Puleeze! There's not a dog on the front of it and it's black!"


"Son, what is that stuff in your hair?"

"Gel. All the guys are using it."

"If all of the guys were jumping off a cliff, would you do it too?"

I guess my point is, the styles and speech patterns may change, but the arguments stem from the same source. Teenagers are trying to establish who they are. They are striving for independence and anything considered cool by their parents is automatically out of the question. And on the other side of the coin, parents are usually appalled by the current fashion trends. This is a time-honored tradition. I predict that in years to come, today's teens will be having similar conversations with their offspring:

"What are you thinking? That metallic suit is atrocious. The colors don't even match!"

"I like it! It speaks well of my individuality."

"Your what?! Don't you use that kind of language with me young lady!"

"Talk to my robot."

"Come back here! We are not through discussing this! And I refuse to speak to a stupid brain in a can!"

"Warning, Tercel's mother unit, your blood pressure is dangerously high. Refrain from this behavior."

And so on. I suspect conversations like this began with Adam and Eve's posterity:"You are not wearing that leopard skin skirt!"

"Why not? Cain slew the beast. It's not like anyone else is using it. And it looks great with my emu-feather top."

"I've asked you not to wear that thing. It looks disgusting."

"You don't understand me!"

"You did not just slam that wooden door! The house collapsed. Are you happy now?"

Here's what I've noticed: Trends and fashions change. The relationship shared with our children is what matters most. I learned to pick my battles. My kids picked out interesting hair styles and clothing through the years, but I usually let that go, standing firm on items like curfews, etc. I did stress that my sons had to dress modestly---to me, that's important. But if they wore colorful, sometimes outrageous looking garb in the process, I tried to be tolerant. After all, I'm from the era that made bell-bottom jeans popular. I don't have a leg to stand on.

The author of more than a dozen best-selling YA books, Cheri Crane is a novelist, poet, photographer, playwright, wife, mother, YW president, frequent contributor to LDSNeighborhood, faithful commenter on this site, and much-appreciated-saver-of-people-who-find-they-cannot-blog-at-the-last-minute. (That would be me.) Visit her blogsite HERE and her website HERE. THANKS, CHERI!


At 8/15/2008 3:37 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

I guess it's guest-blog week over here. I always look forward to Kerry's blog, but I did really enjoy yours today, Cheri. (Maybe because Cheri could rhyme with Kerry.) I used to wonder if you were an old acquaintance of mine - her name was Cherstine Crane - but I think you are not her. (Not she? This one always gets me.)

I think the only thing wrong with your future scenario is that there are too many words. If you look at text-speak today, I can only imagine what it might degrade into.

Girl: ?
Boy: ...
Girl: W!
Boy: =

P.S. Kerry: =)

At 8/15/2008 7:31 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Clever, Cheri! And yours is not bad either, Jon! Fun and appropriate blog.

At 8/16/2008 12:02 AM, Blogger Pat said...

So funny! Having just experienced this in the past week, I can so relate!
(I'm always trying to get my girls to pick something with some style to it instead of the usual t-shirts with skulls on them...)
Thanks for the laugh - I loved it! :D

Feel better Kerry!

At 8/16/2008 12:29 AM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

Jon, you are so right. Kerry does rhyme with Cheri. Awesome!!! ;)And you know a Cherstine Crane. Wow. I wonder if she's tied into my husband's family. I'll have to ask around.

Thanks for the kind words, Jennie. =) It was kind of a silly blog.

Pat, you have my full sympathies. ;)Always a good time, eh?

And I agree, feel better soon, Kerry.

At 8/16/2008 2:25 AM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...


Love it. You are brilliant. How can we not love a writer who has something so observantly funny to say and says it so well.


Sounds like you may be feeling a little down today. Is the rain cloud hovering too near the honey tree? Got a booboo? Feelin' a little gubery in the tummy?

Never fear! I've found some advice from another writer about how to deal with sickness. You, of all authors, wouldn't want me to keep it under wraps. You are, after all, the treasure trove of quotes. A veritbale Fort Knox of thought provoking phrases. A literary steel vault preserving the words of the great ones at 72 degrees and zero humidity. This one from author Ellen Datlow is a keeper. Guard it well. Even Rob Wells has gotta like it.

"Never throw up on an editor."

Now get off your computer and go back to bed until you're feeling well enough to inspire the rest of us.

Love you,

David G.

Join author David G. Woolley at his Top of the Morning Blog or his Promised Land Website.

At 8/16/2008 4:37 AM, Blogger Anna Maria Junus said...

Hilarious! I wish I had written it.

At 8/16/2008 11:58 AM, Blogger Just_Me said...

Lucky me, my kids are to young to care. The youngest will wear anything with Winnie-the-Pooh on it and Eldest will wear anything that isn't pastel.

We're not to the point where they want to wear something immodest so clothes aren't an issue. I let them dress themselves, and yes, sometimes they don't match. And, yes, I have a picture of my Eldest in her beautiful Easter dress and black and bright pink cowboy boots. But they're happy and feel independent.

And really it's a cute picture. :o)

At 8/16/2008 1:15 PM, Blogger Traci Hunter Abramson said...

And to think I haven't even started back to school shopping. And I wondered why I'd been avoiding it!

At 8/18/2008 9:58 AM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

David, thanks for the kind words. You made me blush. =)

Anna, likewise. =)

Just_me, hang onto that picture. It sounds like good blackmail material. ;)Teens love it when you break out the photo album to show their friends. (Kidding . . .)

Traci, my sympathies are with you.

At 8/18/2008 4:03 PM, Blogger Danyelle Ferguson said...

Very funny! I totally enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing.

At 8/21/2008 7:12 PM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

You're very welcome, Danyelle. Thanks for stopping by. =)


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