Memoirs of My America – Chewbacca’s Daughter

by Alexandra

Enter our FnS contest to win a free copy of My Memories fun and easy to use digital scrapbooking software! UPDATE – We have our winner, Francerants!

I was not a good looking kid. Not an ugly one, just one that should there be a talent scout for Models R Us hanging out at the local mall, they wouldn’t be pushing their way through a crowd to get their card to me.

My arms were just as long as my legs, and both were like sticks. And, as true today as it was back then, my feet were too big for my height. With the flat black Sponge Bob shoes my Doctor told my mother I had to wear to fix my pronated gait, I looked like a capital letter L.

I was skinny with eyes that took up half my face. The cherry thrown on top of this flamboyant creation by Mother Nature, was that I was hairy. Eyebrows that began everywhere and extended to my temples, hairy arms, hairy legs, and a hairline that begged for a Ronco at-home electrolysis kit. Had you shown me a picture of Chewbacca back then, I may have very possibly shouted, “Daddy!” 

My mother was blind to all this hair and bones. Too tall for my height, she would dress me in much too young for me swirly sailor dresses that barely ended at the top of my legs. She then had the nerve to buy lace anklets for me to wear (so you could get a full view of my half monkey half human legs) and then the finishing touch would be to slap a velvet bow the size of a Rain Forest butterfly on top of my head. Since my hair was too thick and curly to keep long, she kept it cut in a short, tight curl that made me look like Oscar from The Office.

All this was as bad as it seems, and back then I fretted daily about missing the boat on good looks. But, looking back from the safe and grateful distance of no longer being the long lost daughter of Chewbacca, I can see how the hand dealt me played out well.

There were many advantages to not being the prettiest girl in Second (Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth….) Grade.

I buried myself in books. I read
everything. Books became my alternate world where I was the lead character and heroine. Had I been receiving invitations to go share a cherry coke with Tommy Boyer (oh, the daydreams of that blue eyed boy) at Rexall’s drugstore, I don’t think I’d have the time to go through 180 reading hours a week.

I studied hard. From all the reading I was doing, I was turning into a walking encyclopedia. I got the rep for being smart, and my expectations for myself formed. I was a smart kid. One who got A’s. I wouldn’t be the one asked to walk home with Brian Cahill, but he sure looked for me at Social Studies project time.

Kids turned to me with their deepest, darkest secrets. With the every-woman-for-herself world of the beautiful and popular, who could these poor beauties turn to? I was the trusted one, to all the pretty girls. I never would have imagined the pressure of not being able to ever be less than perfect. To hear their woes and angst of making sure they stayed the prettiest –  I don’t think anything else made me more appreciative of being able to pass through the hallways unnoticed.

My best friends were boys. They liked me. I was someone they could talk to without feeling nervous or having to be full of bravado. We could laugh together and they could ask me how to get Mary Morrisey to sit next to them on the bus for the class field trip. I made them laugh; that right there, at a very young age, is when I realized I was funny.

I had become funny.

There was no curse of being the ugly duckling growing up. It was kind of nice really, in retrospect. It made me what I am today; and the impact of growing up less than visually pleasing has not been forgotten by me.

It’s the very reason why all three of my children’s first pair of shoes, looked like this:


Note from the Editor: We’re having a Giveaway!

Alexandra’s FnS column Memoirs of My America is a great way she shares her past with her kids and with all her readers. So when My Memories Suite offered for FnS to hold a giveaway of their incredible scrapbooking application, I knew this column would be the place!

My Memories is an award winning digital scrapbook software that is extremely easy and fun to use. My Memories Suite is rated #1 by Amazon and TopTen Reviews. Using this software, anyone can create digital scrapbooks, photobooks, cards, calendars and gifts without having to buy expensive and complicated software programs.

To enter our giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post, you can leave up to two (I know you like writing with Alexandra). A random winner will be chosen from comments made before Midnight EST on Tuesday, April 10th 2012.



Alexandra is an overanalyzing, oversensitive mother of three boys who somehow found herself named as BlogHer ’11′s Voice of The Year for Humor. She has been a mother since 1994, which means she hasn’t been right about anything since. She blogs of the sweet and the funny while trying to go unnoticed in her small town. You can find her at Good Day, Regular People. Did we mention socially awkward? We should, which is why the internet was made for her.


  1. Kablooey says:

    I love, love, love this post. So much hysterical detail and even more heart and soul. Yours is an attitude I try to hold with regard to my own ugly ducking past, but I am not yet there. Did I say how much I love this post?

  2. What a great story about growing up BEAUTIFUL [because you are, you know!].

    And what a great giveaway!

  3. the good news is princess leia would rather kiss a wookie…at least that is what she said in the movie…ok that probably does not help…but you know you made it through and it made you who you are…i was a skinny kid and somewhat uncoordinated until late HS…i read all the time to escape as well…there was a little stigma that came with mine though…but it too made me who i am…

    • Right, Brian? It really did. I became an observer of life. And stories were always swirling through my head.

      It did give us what we do today: write.

      No doubt about it.

  4. Though it’s hard to imagine you with an ugly duckling past, perhaps it’s the dues one pays to become the beautiful swan. :)

  5. When I panicked about not being pretty enuf as a tweenage girl who most strangers called “son,” my mom drove me around town and pointed out all the “pretty girls” mothers. She then showed me their future, and all was alright in the world of teenage angst.

  6. As the great Confucius once said, “Girls who grow up hairy, are the first to happily marry.”

    (Actually I am not sure if Confucius ever said anything remotely like that. I just made that up. But he should have, right?)

  7. lisabella says:

    I’m feeling better about my glasses/braces/polyester wearing days of the 60s and 70s now. The funniest part (besides the photos that document my frightful fashion, or lack thereof) is that I was rather unaware of how I looked. I could see, so I didn’t mind wearing glasses. It was more important to be able to run fast than to have a good hair day. Ah, such days of innocence…

  8. Ah, I can relate to the boys being my friends. And the long skinny legs and arms. And, well, yes, I can relate. But if there is an escape to be had, books – glorious books- were the great escape to have. Besides, I kind of like the eyes I see the world through today, and those eyes are more than slightly influenced by those old times.

    • Right? I mean, exactly. Books. Books were my world. I’d go through them like popcorn.

      Still are today: and I fell in love with writing and reading and the power of words. The wonderful healing power and escape of words.

  9. Of course I relate. Thankfully my arms eventually grew into my armhair. Unfortunately, my moustache grew into Rollie Fingers.

    Beautiful mix of funny, sweet, and reflective.

    • Aw, thank you, Ann: thank you so much.

      Kinda fun to look back on now, growing up awkward. Gave us lots of SOCIAL FREE TIME to reflect and work on our personality.

  10. Loved this post…filled with humor and honesty from your past. Great job!

    • Thank you so much, momma fargo. I love your posts, too: because they are worlds different from my existence. I love that.

      Thank you for stopping by, will be catching up (trying to!) this week.

  11. Bravo from a fellow hairy, awkward, social misfit who turned to books and humor. Loved this, A.

    • You too, Dusty? You too?

      Yeah, thank God, right?

      Makes me think how doubly blessed those are with LOOKS and HUMOR: because I had the time and the inclination to grow a personality.

      Not sure that’d be the case had I been born physically pleasing.


  12. Aha! You just helped me figure out why girls from the in crowd used to confide in me. I am so glad you are letting all of that beauty out that you stored up as a child! Xoxo

  13. Oh you.
    I love learning about where you came from…
    You are real.
    Albeit hairy
    But real
    And that’s why I love you.
    Ps. I am 1/4 Italian. I own them hair genes. And…AND my eyebrow and mustache waxer is on holiday for a month. She went to South Africa. I just about bawled my eyes out when she told me. Gah!!!0

    • Kim, were you hairy? Did you have those skinny mini arms that were all dark hair, esp in the winter?

      Made us what we are today. And I mean that in the best way.

  14. Were we separated at birth? Awkward long limbs? Curly, thick hair? Don’t even get me started on the eyebrows. I dunno where they come from, and I’m fortunate not to have a unibrow, but they’re prominent. And I have become a master at the art of tweazing.

    Love this as usual.

    Just don’t tell me you ever put your sweet, innocent children in socks and sandals. SO many pictures. So much blackmail evidence. XOXO

  15. And look at just how darling you turned out!

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