Knots and Mexican Hats

So you think you were a dork in middle school? Bet you can't top this. I spent the summer before seventh grade at the neighborhood pool. We'd just moved to the burbs and I was reveling in the luxury of swimming every day. My hair stayed in a pony tail for weeks, in and out of the pool, in and out of the shower. When we went out as a family, I stuck a sombrero on my head to cover the tangled mess. (We'd moved from Mexico City to California and the hat had traveled with me.)

The day before school started, my older sisters informed me that the season of their tolerance was over. If I wanted a shot at social survival, I'd have to get the knots out of my hair. And dump the hat. I protested, but it was three stylish women standing firm against one fashion-challenged late bloomer. Ma started with a comb, lost patience, and brought in the shears. I started junior high with a short, neat haircut that smelled faintly of chlorine.

True confessions: I still own the sombrero. Wanna borrow it?

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