What I looked like
Blue plaid jumper
White cotton shirt
Peter Pan collar
worn underneath the jumper
when it was cold;
shorts when it was warm.
White sneakers grayed
and scuffed from outdoor play,
purchased on sale
from Payless Shoe Source.
Strawberry blonde hair
in a short bob
Plastic blue-framed glasses
I wanted to be outside,
riding on the back of
Mitch’s black Space Invaders bike
or run around the vacant lot,
pretending I had a horse
or pretending I was a horse,
but instead it was candy-selling season.
The cool basement of the convent
had a rich chocolate smell.
Every student was given three boxes
of chocolate bars to sell:
Almonds, krispies, and,
best of all,
When you would bite into one,
the caramel would ooze out of the bar
onto your hands,
and the piece in your mouth
would drip caramel onto your chin.
I frequently dipped into my own stock.
When you sold all the candy you were given,
you could get more.
The highest sellers were entered into a drawing
for either a Nintendo Game Boy
or a $75 savings bond
Some students certainly
used their parents’ workplaces
as the source of their record-breaking sales.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom
with no time for fundraising nonsense.
I had to go door to door.
It was the worst thing in the world.
Everyone was constantly warning us
about talking to strangers
and the movie Adam
and the terrible things that happened to him.
Seemed kind of counterproductive then
to force us to go to strangers’ homes
and offer them candy,
but it was for a good cause,
and it was character-building.
I would ring the illuminated doorbells
of the neighbors I didn’t know
and stare at my shoes on their doorstep,
half-hoping that I could make a sale,
half-hoping that no one would be home.
The person who opened the door
was always an elderly man,
who eyed me with suspicion.
“Hello, would you like to buy
some candy for St. Mary School?”
I asked with a tortured expression.
“No,” the old man would reply
and close the door firmly behind him.
I did this until the sun started to set,
and it was time for dinner.