Although I've definitely made up for lost time, in sixth grade, I was flat as a board. I had read Are You There God, It's Me Margaret about 42 times and could not be more anxious for things to get rolling in the puberty department.
We were in 6th grade (Miss Johnson's class) when we were notified that the "Scoliosis People" would soon be arriving to check each of us for the back ailment. The woman testing us girls would be testing us in the classroom (with the door shut and windows covered, of course, and we would need to line up in a row in our "undergarments" for the bend-over-so-we-can-scope-out-your-spine test. Bikini swimsuits would also be acceptable.
What?! Our undergarments?!
I totally freaked out!. I obviously had the underwear thing covered, but I was absolutely mortified about the fact that I had nothing happening "on top" and therefore owned no bra. I also had no bikini; it was the dead of winter, for crying out loud. Only rich people had bikinis they hadn't outgrown by March; and besides, my family was more the one-piece type.
Two days later, my heart pounded as I desperately, desperately racked my brain for a way to get out of standing in front of my peers with no shirt on. (All that work to hide nothing--Kind of cracks me up now, but it was far from funny then.)
We were a quiet bunch, the line of girls towards the classroom walk-in closet (where we were to change in and out of our clothes and then get into the line that snaked through the classroom to the "examination area." Suddenly, I noticed my classmate, Amy (who had finished her turn) holding her adorable bikini top out to a friend. "If you want to borrow this, you can."
Fear and desperation, mingled with a flicker of hope, gripped me. Amy and I got along okay, but we weren't best friends or anything; there were many more girls closer to her league (in my low-self-esteem, humble opinion). Would she...? Could I possibly dream of being worthy to borrow the bikini top, too? At that point, my anxiety was so high that I would have been willing to commit social suicide by begging Amy to borrow that top...
...but I didn't have to; the next person took it off and just turned around to hand it to the next person in line-- pathetic, terrified, pancake-chested, little me.
Of course I don't remember a single second past that moment. My anxiety had been relieved, and I lived to see another embarrassing moment, later that year....
My future sister-in-law Karen stopped by the house with a paper grocery bag, which she handed to my mom, who peeked inside and sang, "Well, you're just in time!"
In time? In time for what? I peeked inside the bag and wished I hadn't; it was a bag of used training bras that Karen's two younger sisters (a year plus younger than me!) had outgrown.
"Thanks," I mumbled, before escaping to my room (where I'm sure I high-fived Margaret Simon).