North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

September 19, 2012

Danielle Pelkey: School pictures bring back memories

By Danielle Pelkey
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — I got a note sent home from my daughter’s school this week saying that it was time for class pictures. If you will let your mind wander back to the days of your school photos, then you will remember either the horror or excitement that seems to creep up when you see that brightly colored envelope for picture money.

In elementary school, it seemed that picture day was a fun break from the normal activities and a good excuse to put on some of mom’s make up. But if you ever look back at pictures from your early school years, it seems impossible to find a shot where the kids don’t look like the biggest nerds in the history of the school. I’m not sure if it has something to do with the photographer or if the wear of a full day of school makes a kid look ridiculous, but I have rarely ever seen a good school photo.

It was the same for us every year. The camera and backdrop would be set up in the gym or auditorium, and you would be lined up out the door waiting for your two seconds of face time.

When you were next in line, the teacher would either run their hands through your hair or give you a brush for a quick attempt at making you look somewhat presentable.

When you’re in elementary school, this is the point where you would smile the biggest, prettiest smile you could manage. In high school, you would try your best to look “cool” so that no one made fun of your pictures when they came back in.

But for me, it never failed. The photo would come back and I would look like a cow’s tongue had attacked my hair and my smile would look more like something out of a horror movie than a class photo.

The pictures wouldn’t be so bad if you could convince your parents not to buy them, but the worse part was forgetting that these pictures were always displayed in the annual. Your awkward moments of high school are forever etched in the sands of time via that little leather-covered annual that is sent to everyone at your school.

Oh, how I don’t miss the days of school pictures! The anticipation, the hours of hair and “wardrobe” for that momentous occasion, just to be reminded of how weird and out of style you really were.

That must be one of the perks of growing up and finally graduating — no longer having to dread the awkwardness of picture day at school. (Unless you work for a school — then it’s just the same song, different verse).

It’s too bad we have to put our children through this torture, but of course I will buy these pictures and torment my children with them for years to come. That’s just what good parents do.