QUINCY THE CHAMELEON
A real-life blending-in story: by Jenn Ryan
Day 4 of the 10-day countdown to the book's release.
I was in 5th grade when we moved to a new house. It had a very long driveway, which is where my story takes a turn.
I have very curly hair. It does whatever it wants to. My mother has very straight hair. It does whatever she wants it to.
One morning before school my mother attempted to braid my hair. She pulled and twisted and smoothed until she had created two very neat braids. Unfortunately, curly hair doesn’t do neat very well and the twisting and smoothing had made the braids so tight that I looked like Pippi Longstocking.
I was horrified and embarrassed but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I walked down the driveway knowing I was going to get laughed at by the kids on my bus.
The problem with my plan was that I had missed my bus. I couldn’t go up and tell her walking down the driveway had undone the braids, she would believe recess but she would never buy walking down the driveway had been so intense my hair had come free.
I decided to walk. I lived miles from school so I knew it was an awful plan but I didn’t have any other options. Another parent saw me and picked me up and brought me to school, after I told her my mom had left for work and to please not tell her I had missed the bus, and I managed to get away with the whole thing.
As an adult I am clear how much I just wanted to fit in. I wanted my hair in braids to look straight like the other kids and when I couldn’t get that to happen couldn’t be honest about how awful it made me feel to look different so I ended up trying to walk several miles to school. As an adult I know that being that late would have triggered a call to my parents, but as a 5th grader I was just desperate to avoid any kind of confrontation with anyone.
Here are some in my neck of the woods:
Head House Books
Joseph Fox Bookshop
Inkwood Books (NJ)
Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni's Room
Hudson Booksellers EWR778/396
Hudson Booksellers EWR916/940
Penn Book Center
Hudson Booksellers EWR396
Let's Play Books!
River Road Books