Tom Cruise has braces now, too. I’m right in style.”

It’s back to hibernation I go. The day will be hot and humid, mostly humid. I turned the AC on last night so the house is now quite comfortable. Gracie rang her door bells at 8, and I let her out, waited for her and then went back right upstairs to bed. I woke up at ten. I was surprised.

Some commercials are now filled with back to school clothes, school supplies and happy kids. I don’t get the happy kids part.  A new pair of pants or a shirt just isn’t enough to make up for the end of summer. The school year looms and it’s always long. Summer is a mere 9 or ten weeks and school is eons, months and months. I never thought about them until I was older: school pictures. They take them early in the year, and I finally figured out why. If it were later, not a kid could smile.

My first grade picture is of a little girl wearing a white blouse and a skirt with straps. My hair is long and curly at the ends. I have crooked, buck teeth so in the second grade I had started to go to an orthodontist, not so common back then. There were none where we lived so my mother and I had to walk uptown to take the bus to Sullivan Square where we took the subway to Kenmore Square. I remember going to see Dr. Nice. His office was in one of those grand homes along Commonwealth Avenue which are still beautiful today. The waiting room was a big as the downstairs of my house. It had couches and lovely lamps on the tables. His receptionist sat at a giant desk, or at least it looked giant to me. Dr. Nice wore a white jacket with buttons on the shoulders like Dr. Casey’s later on TV. Dr. Nice was an old man with white hair. His office faced the street. I didn’t see much of it when my mouth was open. All I saw was the ceiling. I liked Dr. Nice.

I went through all the stages of braces. Early on my teeth were covered in metal. I looked like Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me. No one else I knew had braces. Some needed them but going to the orthodontist as a rite of childhood was off in the future. I was embarrassed by those braces. In my second grade picture I didn’t smile. I hid my braces. It is not a pretty picture.

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6 Comments on “Tom Cruise has braces now, too. I’m right in style.””

  1. Birgit Says:

    Braces, oh dear! Same story. Braces for 6 years as a kid and I was the only one in my class. Not funny. Orthodontist in the next town and my grandma and me had to take the bus. Back then the health insurance didn’t pay for braces. Several kind of braces, I felt like a human guinea pig. Well, I don’t look like a rabbit anymore, but my teeth are now differently crooked.
    As an adult a dentist tried to convince me to consult an orthodontist for braces… – No, never again!

    • Birgit,
      It was the same-we couldn’t afford them either. They were a gift from my aunt. I wore them for five years then had to get a retainer a few years later.

      My favorite story is when I had elastics attached to the braces, one on each side. I was behind my father in the car and talking when one broke, shot out of my mouth and hit him in the neck. He said he had just gotten bitten by a bug-I never enlightened him!

  2. Bob Says:

    Hot again with no relief of rain in sight.

    I had braces from the eighth grade until I almost graduated from high school. My Orthodontist was very old and his office was on the ground floor of an apartment building at 81st Street and Central Park West in Manhattan. I think he helped invent the profession. I suffered through head gear, rubber bands and a retainer.

    One Saturday a month I got to ride the subway from Queens into the city to get my braces tightened. The reward was that I could visit all the wonderful museums that were in the neighborhood. Across the street was the NY Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium. A short walk across Central Park and I could browse the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Guggenheim Museum across fifth avenue. And if I walked down fifth avenue I could rummage all afternoon in the stacks of the New York Public Library. That’s the one with the two stone lions in the front who supposedly roar every time a virgin walks by on the sidewalk. If I didn’t visit the library I would rummage through the huge record collection at the Sam Goodie’s record store on 42nd Street. I would eat lunch, usually a hot dog from a cart with an umbrella, and buy a paperback book to read on the train going home. My orthodontist improved my cultural awareness along with my love of art, music and science while straightening the teeth. My father never really knew how much his money bought when he sent the Orthodontist the check each month.

    • katry Says:

      The paper today had a huge article about the heat and the drought. It sounded dire.

      You and I followed the same braces path! Your orthodontist sounds like mine. Maybe they are all clones!

      I never had those wonderful experiences in the city you had. I’m a bit jealous! I was only seven and eight when my mother and I went to Boston for my braces, but I did have the thrill of the subway and my mother buying me lunch and being late to school. These, though, are small potatoes compared to all those wonderful museums!!!

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Hope I’ve done this right. Embed rarely works for me. Anyway, Alice Cooper Staples commercial is the truest back to school ad ever (along with the one where the parents are singing It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year).


    Braces weren’t very common when I was in the first grade either. Nowadays, the kids who don’t need them ask for them because it’s kind of an in thing.
    My first grade picture was of a little girl in a red orlon cardigan and a white blouse and, I believe, a dark blue skirt. I still remember the cardi. I had a Toni Home Perm which I got every 6 months whether I needed it or not because my mother thought straight hair was awful. My bangs were cut waaaaaay up on my forehead. So, so chic (not). 😀

    Mirky day up here. Bleh. I might need an ice cream run. 😀

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I love that commercial and hadn’t seen it before this. That little girl has just the right pouty face and Alice Cooper is wonderful.!

      I was wearing a uniform in my picture, but in later grades, picture day meant no uniform. You memories are so vivid. I love them, especially the perm.

      I remember when bangs were in. My cousin had them-I think she still does!! Even her mother had bangs back then! She looked like Eartha Kitt in her bang days.

      I put the air on-it was getting gross inside.

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