notquiteold

Nancy Roman

When Nineteen Was Far Away

I’m sixty-two today.

It’s true what they say about time passing more quickly as you get older.  The last twenty years especially are like a book that I just skimmed through. I wish I had read every line more carefully. I may had missed some hidden meaning in my race to the next chapter.

There was a time, though, when I thought being grown up was so very far away.

My cousin recently shared a photo that I had never seen before.

It’s me at eight:

me at 8.jpg

I love this picture. I love my ragamuffin hair, my Bristol Girls’ Club sweatshirt, my blue sneakers with droopy socks. I even love the plaid shorts with matching shirt – because it reminds me of my mother, who loved to dress me in plaid, which I hated. I remember that shorts set.  The shirt was a white polo with a plaid collar and placket.

I especially love the eight-year-old sweetness I see in my crossed hands and pigeon-toed self-consciousness.

That little girl with the shy smile thought she would never grow up.

I recall exactly what I thought grown up was.

Nineteen.

I couldn’t even fathom twenty.

But nineteen. Oh my.

I knew what happened when you were nineteen. Because I had witnessed it.

On September 6, 1958, I watched the Miss America pageant.  Mary Ann Mobley was crowned Miss America 1959.  She was the prettiest woman I had ever seen.

mary ann mobley

And she was nineteen.

That’s when I knew what I wanted to be.

Nineteen.

But it was so very far away.

The next summer at the penny arcade at Lake Compounce Amusement Park, I memorialized my goal. There was an engraving machine that made little medallions. It was very expensive – fifty cents I think. But I had saved for this occasion.

medallions

I spent a lot of time at that machine selecting the letters that were stamped onto the outer circle of the aluminum ring:

medallion1970.jpg

Yes, 1970.  So distant I could hardly imagine it. I would be nineteen. I would be Miss America.

I kept that charm for a very long time. (My mother believes that she still has it in a drawer somewhere — maybe with her autographed Frank Sinatra record.)

But somehow 1970 got by me. And many subsequent years. Forty-three since I was nineteen.

And fifty-four years since I was that little elf-child who wanted to be Miss America.

But with my enduring and complete adoration of the accoutrements of beauty:  makeup, fashion, hair – I realize that I am still that little girl, still dreaming of being Miss America.

Maybe sixty-two will be my year.

missamerica.jpg

51 Comments

  1. Happy B-Day, Nancy. I really think that 62 WILL be your year! I turn the big 6-0 this year so I figure my turn will come soon, too. Fingers crossed for both of us.

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  2. Very Happy Birthday, I hope 2013 is your year 🙂

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  3. Happy birthday. This WILL be your year. Thanks for sharing your great pictures.

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  4. Happy Birthday, Nancy. Hope this is YOUR year.

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  5. This may be my favorite post that you’ve written! Love the picture and all your memories. And I, too, used to watch the Miss America pageants in utter fascination.
    Happy Birthday to you. You’re Miss America to us!

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  6. 62 is your year! Happy, happy birthday — get yourself a tiara and wear it out to dinner! People will ask for your autograph–

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    • I am so ready for a tiara. And we made reservations (if we can get out in this snowstorm) at a restaurant where celebrities hang out….so I will fit right in.

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  7. Happy Birthday! May this be your year.
    Pssst! We’re the same age for a few months.

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  8. Happy Birthday Nancy – and yes I think this is your year to be discovered and crowned- get ready for a tiara..

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  9. Susan Ritchie

    If the picture brought back such good memories, then I’m sure Daddy is happy he took it. He usually knew what and why he was doing things – even if we didn’t. Happy Birthday, again

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  10. Ruth

    Have a wonderful 62nd birthday. You are so funny and young at heart, you will be forever young and beautiful!

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  11. So this morning I am in the kitchen and I am reading this new book that was sent to me by the U.S. Government from their current best seller list. It is entitled “You and Medicare.” It is a complete current compendium of everything that an old geezer like myself needs to know about medical procedures and treatments available to me at my age.

    Leafing thru this 140 page document (which is most likely thinner than ANY U.S. Government document thank heavens), I see or note several physical issues that I am sure I have. So dutifully I turn to page #127 where they say information can be found.

    Right there I spot my answer … “Please dial 1-800-344-7788 and order your box.”

    62 is just fine sister, it will be great and you will love it, and soon, just like all the rest, it will be nothing but a faded memory in a long line of tired old soldiers put down to rest. And yes … It will race by faster than a Hong Kong Second and you will marvel as to where the time went.

    Great post, I loved every word of it.

    LDS

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    • I am definitely not ready to order my box.

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  12. Happy Birthday Nancy. Please answer this question: A recent poll showed a four-fifths of Americans do not comprehend the answers given by Miss America contestants, how would you change that?

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    • I would change that with some vaseline on my teeth. And World Peace.

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      • Yes, world peace is always the right answer! Bravo! (and you are still a babe!)

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  13. happy birthday, nancy! i hope 62 brings you beauty and great health. and peace (if not in the world, then just in your world).

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  14. Happy personal new year, very happy birthday. I love this post, for your thoughtfulness and memories. You were a sweet little girl.

    In my book Nancy, you are Miss America 2013! If I had a sparkly Tiara to send to you I would send it today.

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  15. Happy Birthday! LOVED the photo and the memories that went with it.

    Happy Birthday hot stuff! 🙂
    MJ

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    • Thanks, I am strutting my hot stuff as much as I can.

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  16. Happy Birthday Miss America Nancy D! I love this post and especially the part where you say “I wish I had read every line more carefully. I may have missed some hidden meaning in my race to the next chapter.” And I loved the little girl-you and how you shared your dream. This is a lovely post! 🙂

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  17. Happy Birthday! May your tiara arrive soon!

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    • I am already trying out hairdos that work with a tiara.

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  18. What a cutie! Go for the tiara, and then tell us about wearing it. Please.
    Great post. I’m glad girls today can think beyond Miss America. Like maybe president?

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    • Definitely President. I want to be President AND Miss America. I can multitask.

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  19. Happy Birthday, Nancy! You know, I think that you have an invisible tiara that you have been carrying with you all this time. Only those who know you well, or who read your blog, know about it.

    May this year be the year it becomes less shy!

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  20. Wishing you a wonderful birthday and a terrific 2013. Loved your post.

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  21. We were just talking the other day with some friends about the year 2000. We had all thought about how old we would be when we passed into a new century and how far away it seemed, back in the day. So I loved your post!

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  22. Happy birthday, Nancy. You’re still a whipper snapper in my book. What an adorable eight-year-old then and still adorablel now.

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  23. Happy Birthday!
    Great post, perhaps you could provide me some tips on turning 50. It’s kind of freaking me out as the little girl in me never thought she would see this age! 🙂
    Cheers,
    Laura

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    • I think I just decided when I turned 50 that I was going to be the most amazing 50 possible… and the same for each year afterwards. I know that I will be an amazing 62-year-old. And so I can’t wait to see!

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      • I like that. 🙂
        I too shall endeavor to be the most amazing 50 possible.
        Thanks for the tip!
        Cheers,
        Laura

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  24. Happy Birthday to you!

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  25. JSD

    Happy Birthday!

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  26. Happy birthday!

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  27. Happy Birthday! What a great post, and an adorable picture! How fun to see yourself in a pic you’ve never seen before.
    I’m trying to pay more attn. to my life, as I am now over 50 and many days just sad… but I am trying to find the silver linings and not miss the good parts.
    Hey! You are a gorgeous woman… I think you should become Mrs. America – that’d be a fun little event 🙂

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    • Definitely pay attention to the good parts. Stop and notice all the sweet things, even if they are small and fleeting. I will stop what I am doing and watch a squirrel run across the yard. And I’m always just a bit happier for it.

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  28. Happy Birthday, Nancy! I think your 62 years have made you more beautiful than Miss America. Treat yourself to that tiara. You deserve it!

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  29. dragonhavn (@dragonhavn)

    Belated happy birthday … and a very merry unbirthday the rest of the year! Tiaras are wonderful things whether you’re three (granddaughter in a cardboard castle) or older. Enjoy …

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  30. Happy Birthday Nancy! You are definitely an inspiration. I think this will absolutely be your year.

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  31. Happy birthday! Perhaps every year is our best year. I know sixty two will be your best, better even than eight or nineteen.

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  32. Obvviously, 62 is the new 19. You are marvelous! I love the little skinned-up knees in that photo.

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  33. Happy birthday, Nancy. You look terriffic!

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  34. Happy Birthday, Nancy. I think I’d have liked that impish little girl with the pigeon toes! And considering how well you take care of yourself, why, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if 2013 isn’t your year!!

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  35. Happy birthday–a little late. Yesterday my almost-70-year-old husband rocked the house at our annual “fun” church service with a John Fogarty riff on the electric guitar. “Old” is what we make it!

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  36. Happy birthday to you! May you wear a crown and celebrate!

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  37. Happy birthday! I was right – we are much of an age but you are younger! Hope you had a good day 🙂

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