Wednesday, 18 March 2015

I was an impossible case


What do you remember about being thirteen?


Claudia's 13th birthday has prompted me to try and remember what it was like when I was her age; I have to admit, it's all a bit hazy. Who was I then?


A glance at the UK's Number 1 songs of that year was helpful in jogging my memory.

1977.

The year God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols was banned by the BBC and allegedly (maybe apocryphally) kept off the No. 1 spot, for fear of offending the Royal Family in the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

You wouldn't know it was the year of punk, the songs that made the top of the UK charts were pop through and through. Abba and David Soul reigned, Elvis died, and I Feel Love sounded like a trance-y soundtrack to some sci-fi porn film.

There were strikes, the Yorkshire Ripper murders, Red Rum and Virginia Wade won, Marc Bolan died, the National Front and anti-Nazi protesters clashed, and Rumours and Star Wars were released.


1970s maxi dress - The Queen's Drawers via local vintage shop
Wrap cardigan - gift from Tania
Ankle boots - Ebay
Beret and bangles - charity shopped


Claudia invited some friends out for dinner to celebrate her birthday.


Off we go!


They're a cool bunch of kids. Don't believe everything you hear about teenagers, some of them are just fine - polite, funny, and sweet.


They're nothing like the 13 year old me. They aren't awkward or ill-at-ease in their own skin; they have style and confidence, and a sense of belonging. I'm really glad about that, and wish it hadn't taken me so long to find those things for myself.

I don't have any photos of me from 1977. If there are any, they'll be lurking in a drawer at my mum's, which is probably the best place for them. I remember a centre parting and limp side-flicks, checked shirts, skinny fit t-shirts, flared jeans, and wedge shoes. A humdrum uniform, accessorised by shyness, social ineptitude and poor self-esteem.


I had an endlessly supportive and encouraging mum who repeatedly told me that I was unique, and uniquely great. I just thought she had to say that because she was my mum, so it didn't count. I wish I had believed her, and I hope Claudia believes me when I tell her what's great about her. I found being thirteen really tricky; she seems to be approaching her teens with an enviable insouciance.

Good for her.


Oh Charlie!


Claudia made her own birthday cake, with the help of one of her friends - it was delicious.

So what was it like for you, being 13?
 
And share your memories of 1977, if you have any!
 
xxx

          

52 comments:

Elizabeth Yule said...

I turned 13 in 1973 and I too remember being shy, awkward, cripplingly embarrassed by everything and everyone and constantly blushing if anyone so much as looked at me.

1977 for me was very bittersweet - the year of my first great love. It all started so well but by the end of that year I was 'alone again, naturally' to quote Gilbert O'Sullivan (wonder whatever happened to him?) Having recently met up again with my boyfriend from that time, I now realise two things - 1. he's still lovely and still makes me laugh like no one else can, and 2. it would never have worked and he can still infuriate me like no one else I've ever met. So, even 38 years later, it's still bittersweet.

SAM said...

Ahh 13 and back to November 1978. I was too tall and busty for my age, so gangly and awkward, though I haven't grown in height since.I also had no self confidence, but think all three of mine managed pretty well, though youngest at 14 is quite quiet and shy, but knows who she is. Her friends as well seem to have a self inscribed coolness-like their own likes and not follow the "in crowd."

Goody said...

Happy Birthday, Claudia. Excellent looking Birthday cake (I bake my own as well-then you're assured of getting the cake you want for your Birthday, which is as it should be). Also-each and every one of those children should have modelling contracts! That is the best looking, fashionable bunch of youngsters I've seen in ages. Could you please send them here to teach our local youth a thing or two?

13? I was horrible. If my parents were alive, I'd owe them an apology.

1977 was when we moved to the suburbs. I think I've suppressed most of it, thankfully. Oh, and some DJ blew-up a bunch of disco records on the baseball diamond during the 7th inning stretch in Chicago. I remember that, and the, "Disco Sucks" tee shirts.

Beth Waltz said...

What a grand group of friends Claudia enjoys! Do wish I'd been there with you, Curtise, to hear what this new batch of teens talks about -- aside from that cake, which certainly does justice to those strawberries.

I turned 13 in a time when public telephones lived in wooden booths and smart phones were worn on wrist straps by Dick Tracy. Boys could be doctors and girls could be nurses -- until they married the doctors and then they got to stay home and be mommies. I do remember 'the times a'changin': believe me, for the sake of young Claudia, they've changed for the better for females just turning 13.

Laurie Duncan said...

In 1977, I was 16 and going to beer parties and rock concerts with my sis. I barely remember 13, but like you I was very shy and had low self esteem. I would'nt relive those days for anything, but I know my daughter is doing better than I did, and she is just turned 14. Wish I still had some of my clothes from back then though! :)

Sheila said...

1980 was when I was 13 (although not till the end of the year, as I'm an October baby). I was excruciatingly shy, no friends, dressed horribly (lots of bad 70s hand-me-downs) and was bullied at school for being an outcast. I wish I'd had a mum like you! My mom just left me alone and let me sort it out for myself. I would rather have had the support and love...

Happy Birthday, Claudia! Believe the stuff your mum says - it's all true!

Shawna McComber said...

Happy Birthday Claudia! I remember thirteen quite well but then I remember pretty much my whole life quite well. I just don't remember where my glasses are. Thirteen here is typically the start of either high school or what was then called junior high school. I was in junior high school and experiencing many changes beyond just what was going on in my own body. At thirteen I could have passed for eighteen but had no desire to attempt it and essentially nowhere to go anyhow. The population of my town was around 3000 and there was no transit system. There were strict rules about where I went, with whom and when I came home. It was 1980 and John Lennon was shot. Later in the year I got the mumps which seems to have been the viral infection that triggered the chronic illness I have.

In 1977 I was ten and begging my mum to buy me those things we called gauchos, sort of a short culotte or flared knee length short. All the cool girls had them in cordury and wore them with coloured tights or knee socks. Mum thought they were stupid looking. I discovered the Bay City Rollers in 1977-a bit late but oh well, and the American teen-dream Shaun Cassidy. We girls watched the boys playing air guitar on classroom metre sticks, generally pretending to be ACDC or Kiss, and we thought they were silly. Charlie's Angels was a big hit but I wasn't allowed to watch it.
In the space of ten minutes I have had Electric Avenue, The Name of the Game and now You Shook Me All Night Long stuck in my head. What a mix!
xoxo

Melanie said...

Look at Claudia and her friends! What a great looking bunch. I hope she can look back on this photo with fond memories.

Thirteen? Oh... Being an outcast and popular at the same time, outcast because I was different, popular because I hung out with the most popular boy, which shames me to think that's all it took. I was strong-willed and terribly insecure all at the same time. Kind of like now...heh.

Great post, made be go way back and it wasn't as painful as I thought it would be.

Connie said...

Happy Birthday, Claudia!! Baking her own cake. Good for her. I,love how her friends seem to like to carry Owen around. He doesn't seem too upset about it. ;-) When I was 13 I was sneaking off to the 5 & dime to buy make-up to cover up my freckles and regularly being sent home from school because my skirts were too short. Enjoy these years with your adorable kids. I know you've heard it before but they really do just fly by. Whoosh!

Sue said...

What a cool looking bunch of mates Claudia has. 13, I think it is the time when I felt too old to be near my folks and they thought I was too young to be left to my own devices. Next thing you know she will be all grown up and moving on. Love your frock and wrap cardy, and the photo bombing Charlie!!

Natalia Lialina said...

Happy Birthday, Claudia!!! You look awesome, and your friend look like a very cool bunch of friends! So fun and stylish too!

Curtise, I was more like you -- awkwardness, that's what I remember about being 13. Like you want to hide, so no one notices you, and at the same time you want to be noticed - but for who you are, but you are not even sure who you are! It was painful. I was shy. And all those mood swings! I was also good and kind, and sweet, and smart, but I don't remember at that age anyone helped me with realizing my uniqueness. Your Mum did a great job raising you, and you are a great Mum yourself - you can always tell by looking at kids. :)

I just told my parents tonight at the dinner table that before I was not crazy about teenage - but now raising Anya I see how cool this age can be, to watch the transformation from a little kid to a young lady... priceless! I think this generation is just amazing. Maybe all generations are? :)

You look gorgeous! I really loved both outfits on you, and as always such thoughtful and delightful accessories.

Oh, and in 1977 I was 4 years old, very happy and open kid - just learned how to read!

Love xxx

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

Happy Birthday Claudia! Your cake looks sooooo good! I hope dinner out with your friends was fun. I can't imagine it not being fun, as you and your friends looks very cool!

1977....one more year of high school....not much to reminisce over unfortunately. It wasn't an altogether awesome time, although I did have a boyfriend and good friends; I wasn't really being authentic to myself! Sigh, it took a long while to get there!

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

Great minds Think alike! I wear my sequin hedpiece today and at 1977 I pretend to be Agneta almost every day. My Frida-friend were more popular so the guys were fighting about who should pretend to be Benny. Today I'm a bigger friend of fridas look.

Kylie said...

My thirteenth year was basically shit
(am I allowed to say that here?)
I'm glad Claudia had such a terrific birthday. She's beautiful Curtise (just like her Mum and little Sis) x

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

But when I was 13 ... Howard Jones and Eurythmics, sweet Dreams and sex crime!

Miss Magpie said...

Happy Birthday to Claudia, the cake looks fab.


I can't really remember 13 but then it is very early in the morning!
In my early teens I was an overweight, painfully shy, awkward and melancholy child.The full package of hang-ups really.

beate grigutsch said...

happy happy birthday to the gorgeous claudia!!!!!
of cause she has cool friends! that boy with the pink shirt and bow! the whole bunch makes me smile!
with 13 i knew i was different, maybe special, but the common sense was that all are the same - communism (and leftovers from the fascist years) ya´know. and my mother, full of fear, did not encourage me, tried to put a lid on me. at 15 the whole pot exploded - of cause :-)
my 13 was 1981, i remember the first punk songs from a neighbors son´s room, my cousins and i had a heavy "rock´n roll phase", playing elvis, beatles and beach boys in heavy rotation, wearing circle skirts and high ponytails....
wish you a wonderful weekend! xxxxxx

Delia Ryder said...

In 1977 I was 6 years old so don't remember much about that time and to be honest I cant remember back to when I was 13 not to how I thought anyway. I was a busy child I used to belong to the church choir infact I was head chorister and also used to ring the bells once a week, I also used to belong to the red cross and would serve tea in the local hospital once a week and also used to be in the girl guides. I was a busy bee during my 13 years. But cant remember how I thought about myself or what music I listened to. I think your daughters friends look amazing what a unique style they have going on they look so sweet and in tune to what they like. Happy birthday to your lovely girl, dee xx

Olga Rani said...

Happy birthday to your daughter! I was trying to remember what I was like at that age. I think I was still a sweet half-child, started to have crush on Bollywood movies, liked to bake cakes and hang out with friends.

Vix said...

I had an olive green satin catsuit from Bus Stop for my 13th Birthday and one of Mum's admirers, a pro photographer, came and took photos, my school friends came round, bought records and we had chips in newspaper from the chippy on the corner. Enola Gay & Turning Japanese were in the charts and I've still got them in my stash.
Happy Birthday to Claud! Her mates look a right col bunch. Boys weren't on my radar back then. How fabulous is that cake? That girl is super-talented.
Love your Queen's Drawers dress and the sequin beret. You are one cool mum!
Love you! xxxxxxxx

Mim said...

Oooh, that maxi is gorgeous, really elegant.

My brother was born in 1977. I was three, so have very few memories of that point. There's a vague impression of summer sun, pine trees out the back, and being taken to choose a music box for my birthday, but that's about it. As for thirteen, I'd like to forget my high school years entirely, and to be honest I can't remember anything at all specific about that time, I've done a pretty good job of wiping my teenaged years. It's nice that your kids have good things to remember :-)

Bobbi said...

Happy birthday, Claudia! She's beautiful and has a great group of friends...and how could she not be amazing with such a cool mom?
Thirteen...that's about whn I was bitten by the Duran Duran bug.
Love your outfit, too.

Virginia at A Sewing Life said...

I too am mightily impressed by Claudia and her gang! May she and they enjoy this time and someday look back with fondness on being 13.

1982 would have been my 13-year-old year. Like you, it is hazy in my mind. I was at the tail end of a period of my life when I was almost completely unaware of pop culture. Although my parents weren't hugely devout, we went to a very conservative church and didn't even have a working television. Becoming a teen at the same time as I was emerging from that way of life created some real culture shock!

Love that wrap cardigan on you.

Patti said...

Happy birthday to Claudia! What a wonderful mum she has.

My thirteenth year was 1968, tumultuous for me and for the world. The Vietnam war was raging, Gloria Steinem was coming up, I had mad crushes on boys who didn't know I was alive. i didn't have a supportive mother, and I doubted everything about myself. Ahh, I wouldn't be that age again for all the money and chocolate in the world. xox

freckleface said...

Happy Birthday Claudia! I hope 13 treats you well. Your little gang of friends look great. There are a lot of nice kids out there. There was some great music around when I was 13 and we loved watching Top of the Pops for all the fashions. I was a skinny runt. No hips, no boobs and at about that age my face went all funny, you know where your features get a bit big for your face. I was also shy, but never anxious about any of it. I spent my time drawing and painting. My mum always bought us great clothes and I made some of my own too. I had red satin skin tight trousers with a black boob tube (what a joke), a mini kilt with baseball boots and a jumpsuit just like the one in Second to None. It wasn't all good, but I'm ignoring the crap. Xxxx

Joni James said...

I was definitely a shy geek back in the 70's. But I was wearing great bell bottoms and clogs so it was all good. I guess what I remember most was the independence and freedom roaming the neighborhood with fear. And the music of course.
In 1977 I was 17 and my sister had a baby boy which my mom raised. That was both annoying and a joy. I think I got my first job in 77 too. Ended in disaster!

Joni James said...

*without fear. ;)

thorne garnet said...

Happy Birthday, Claudia!

13, know I'm feeling really old. That was 1968!

1977, that would make my 22. Running around Sacramento with a pack of no count poets, artists and all round low-lives! Some of which are still dear friends. And punk rock,punk rock, and more punk rock.

Suzanne Carillo said...

13...wow...that is going back a ways now! I was always in school with kids that were older than me as I skipped a grade and I think I matured faster because of it. I think I had my first kiss at 13. I had already been working for 2 years by then, so I grew up kind of fast. I started to learn about the female powers over men. I didn't understand it but I knew it could come in handy.

How about the dude with the bow tie? That guy is styling!

Happy birthday to Claudia! 13 is a great age of discovery!

bisous
Suzanne

mondoagogo said...

I love that dress on you, and that 20s-ish outfit you've got on is gorgeous too. Claudia's got some seriously dapper friends (though is there a reason they keep picking Owen up?!) Now she's officially a teenager, I hope she (And you!) has a marvellous time without all the aggro I remember... My teenage years were pretty awkward; at 13 I was more developed than the other girls in my year (and the year above too!), and completely self-conscious about it; I wore really baggy clothes to hide myself. Outside of school I kept to myself because I had more freedom than most of my friends -- the only kids who had the freedom I did were the ones who got into trouble. Although 13 *was* the year I started getting into trouble at school and took to bunking off whenever I could get away with it.

Loved reading everyone's comments here, all those little snapshots of people's lives!

PinkCheetahVintage said...

Claudia is so fantastic already at 13!! I was a super weirdo at 13. I think I'm still one now!!!

Carina Rosenholm said...

when i was thirteen it was all about punk rock ! I raided my grandparents closet and died my hair for the first time . I had big worker boots and was so so cool ... At least i thought i was . 1979 ...
love your maxi ! you are such a beaty !
xxx

diaryofapennypincher said...

I have no recollection of being 13. I do remember my 14th birthday, bizarre! Claudia is fast becoming a lovely confident young woman, making her own cake too, impressive! You must be so proud!

missboombaby.com said...

Never mind 1977, in 2015 you have more than made up for any insouciance, style and sense of self you may have lacked back then.

Angels have Red Hair said...

Kids seem to be so much more switched on at 13 these days ... maybe it's all that social media that they rarely switch off.
At 13 I was shy, lacked self esteem and probably looked about 8. But they were still happy times ... you start to feel more independent ... but you're yet to collect too many responsibilities. It's a pretty good age.
Happy Birthday Claudia.
xx
PS. I loved ABBA and at the risk of revealing my severe uncoolness I still do :0)

Fiona said...

Happy Birthdy Claud! You and your mates look well cool and the birthday cake looks 'epic'.
I was 13 in '75, can't remember much about it to be honest, although I do recall I wouldn't have said boo to a goose and certainly wasn't insouciant. '77 is clearer, I had memorable holidays in Vendee and USA, (just a few days after Elvis died) and the highlight of the week was recording the hit parade on a Sunday night. I bought Rumours and played it over and over...I've still got it now! xxx

Northern mum down South said...

Happy Birthday to Claudia, looks like a great cake she made, home made birthday cakes are the best. I didn't like my teenage years at all, no confidence, so it's lovely to see young people more relaxed in their skin xx

Kezzie said...

Love this!! Happy birthday Claudia!!! I love the look of her friends. Is one a Doctor Who fan per chance??? Bowties are cool!xx

Jazzy Jack said...

Claudia is the same age as Mr Artist! He turns 13 next Tuesday. We have a combined party for them both as their birthdays are 5 days apart, Mr Actor turned 10 yesterday. And our Wedding Anniversary is today!!
I turned 13 in 1976. I was shy, living at boarding school in PNG. I was musical and played accompaniment for the school performance. We knew nothing of cool bands or fashions. I invented an interest in a boy to be like the other kids.
In 1977 I had moved back to my parent's home to start at a correspondence school in their town. I was more confident having lived away from home for two years.
But still shy, studious and musical. And still inventing boyfriends! :-) Weird.
Claudia looks fantastic with her lovely friends, and your beautiful self! ( The Queens Drawers is a great name for a brand!) Love the cake! Well done Claudia :-D xo Jazzy Jack

Mrs Bertimus said...

I have blanked out the teenage years and never wish to return!
Your daughter and her friends look so happy, and you are such a fab Mum!
Happy weekend x

Ivy Black said...

Happy Birthday, Claudia! Funny age 13 or I think it was back then for us...children do seem to an awful lot more at ease with themselves these days and Claudia has a lovely bunch of mates there.
I remember being fairly self absorbed. I liked being on my own. I was in to music, painting, making stuff, drawing and writing stories when I was 13. No interest in boys whatsoever! I had an Instamatic camera for my 13th birthday and took off like David Bailey driving everyone nuts photographing everything. I also had a pair of yellow pedal pushers and some friend came to my house for chicken n'chips and Artic Roll for afters!
In '77 I remember seeing all the punks in town and being both excited and a bit scared!
Nice bit of photo bombing by Charlie's arse there.
Have a lovely weekend.
Loves ya.
xxxxxx

Winter Moon said...

I completely love this outfit!!

I worried my parents sick when I was 13. My daughter has been an absolute angel in comparison. I was so lucky.

Happy birthday to your beautiful Claudia ♥

Diane said...

1973 I was 13 and like you very shy. I was afraid at school because there were a lot of tough girls and I wasn't. I was happiest playing in the Rec with my best friend in our little mining village where the toughies never ventured. Top of the Pops and who was no 1 was everything! And boys were just objects to be admired. i never thought any of them would be interested in me. Teenage years were all full of angst! xxx

señora Allnut said...

wouu, being thirteen was not the best time of my life indeed, I was grown up but not enough, and absolutely unhappy!, the one good thing I can remember is that I read a lot!
But everything became better when I was forteen or fifteen and begun my rebel period! Teenage years were full of rage and dumbness, but that's the way we were!!
Your girl & friends look amazingly happy and that warms my ol'heart!! Happy Birthday to Claudia!
(obviously, you're gorgeous and your maxi is fabulous!!!)
besos

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Helga said...

Charlie bum!
Mmmm, loving that maxi!
13? Shit. I was 13 in 1980, I think. I remember being rather pissed off about it, as I didn't want to grow up! I was very immature, still very involved with all the childish things. Luckily it was another year before I got hit with all the growing up things......
Happy Birthday to your beautiful Claudia!
LOVE! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Forest City Fashionista said...

Gah - thirteen was 40 years ago for me!! Don't remember much, other than I know I was flat-chested, shy and short for my age with glasses. I think it's so cool that Claudia had a mix of boys and girls at her party. I love the kid in the glasses and bow tie! My friendships with other girls seemed full of stress then. Claudia seems like a very kind, self-possessed young lady and she can back a cake too! Happy Birthday Claudia!

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

Ha, I was surly and I hated everything! A miserable experience all around. Your Claudia and her friends are total gems, as are you. xoxo

Ivana Split said...

I remember quite well what being 13 was like. One thing I hated is how everyone spoke of teenagers as some kind of zombies infected with some kind of disease called 'puberty'. Everything we would do seem to make adults roll their eyes and exclaim: 'teenagers!'. I promised myself I would never do that and I don't think I have done ( I don't have children of my own but I used to volunteer a lot).

So, I really liked what you said about teenagers being quite sweet and polite. Really if we're not going to put our hopes into young, where will we put them!

I must say I love that maxi! You wear them so well...I always love to see them because for me they're so glam and feminine...maybe I should wear one myself today!

Melanie said...

Ooooh, I like this dress, it's lovely! You look fabulous.
I'm pretty sure I was very unhappy at 13 as I was in secondary school where the bullying began for the entire duration. I also have no memories of 1977.

That boy with the bow tie made me smile xxx

Trees said...

I'm pretty sure I was just incredibly unhappy at 13 - the total opposite of Claudia and her friends! There is some major style in this group of kids. I wish I had been happier sooner xo

Catherine said...

people always worry about kids growing up too quickly, but if they are finding themselves quicker and getting a better footing in life (not doing that in their 20s) then thats great!

13 year old me was really excited to move to a very far away town, not realizing how much id miss my friends and how different the kids in the new town were. And also end up hating moving house to the point where i now get anxious about those things. I was awkward, still not into makeup and had no fashion sense. So i thoroughly embarrassed myself plenty of times wearing the silliest things to mufti day. But for all that silliness I also knew who i was early, what i liked and what mistakes i should avoid and what career i wanted to follow! Oh and i knew how awesome the 60 were and how much i loved it even back then!