Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Smiles: Childhood Memories.

Did anyone watch the Miss USA pageant last night?

I love watching pageants. I grew up with them. My dad is a photographer, and when I was little we traveled to Florida every year for a pageant that he shot.

I loved it.

It was a children's pageant, and there were two age groups -- petites and pre-teens. At the time, I would have fit into the petite age group, but I thought the pre-teens were the coolest people ever. I was so heartbroken that my dad worked for the pageant, which made me ineligible to participate. I SO wanted to be a contestant.

Watching the pageant last night brought back so many pleasant memories of my "pageant days." In fact, many of my favorite childhood memories involve this pageant.

Every year I made a "pageant friend." Because the petites were my age, I always made friends with some of them, but there was usually one in particular who was my "best friend" for the week. The one I remember most was Miss New Hampshire, aka Shannon.

She was so cool. And so were her parents. The previous year my pageant friend's mom preferred her daughter to hang out with other pageant contestants, but Shannon's parents were totally cool with their daughter befriending the help. I liked that.

They even let me hang out with Shannon in her hotel room. And while there, Shannon taught me how to snap my fingers.

It will forever be my claim to fame that a pageant girl taught me how to snap.

I also got to dress up and attend elite pageant events. And since my dad was the photographer, I got a free paparazzi pass. 

I was clearly born to be a star.
Dancing with the pageant girls. I was SO meant for stardom.
On pageant nights, I would sit in the front row and watch longingly. My favorite part of the competition was the talent portion. I remember one of the pre-teens who did a gymnastics routine to "Walking on Sunshine." She performed it two years in a row, because she won the first year. She was my idol. (She's probably the reason I tried to get into gymnastics. That lasted about two weeks.)
And then there was Mr. Norman. He worked at the pageant, and he gave me a present everyday we were there.

I remember one year arriving at the hotel at 2 in the morning. I was half asleep, but there in the lobby was Mr. Norman with a giant bag full of candy as my day one present.

Mr. Norman gave presents to a lot of other girls in the pageant, too, but there was one gift that he only gave to me. It was a red, white, and blue jeweled crown pin. A lot of the pageant girls wore these pins, and it made me feel so special that I had one, too.

After the pageant, we always stayed a few extra days in Orlando to hit up Sea World, DisneyWorld, or Universal Studios. I saw my first 3D movie at Universal when I was about 5 or 6. It was about robots and I had nightmares for months. To this day, I have a strong dislike for 3D movies.

Oh, and we always ate at the Rainforest Cafe. I don't remember anything about that place except that it was awesome.

When my dad stopped working for the pageant, I swore that I was going to enter it the next year so that we could keep going. Obviously that didn't happen, probably for the best, but I really do miss it. 
Looking back on childhood memories always makes me really happy. Even though those moments are in the past, I think making memories is an important part of life. Instead of being sad because those moments are over, I'm happy because they happened.

What are some of your favorite childhood memories?

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