Cheryl Hagopian – Curly Mopped Mel

When I was four my world was magnificent.  My feet didn’t yet hang over the front of the couch, Peter Pan was famous, and I still believed I could fly if I had the right cape and I tried hard enough.  I was Zorro, Mighty Mouse and ate plenty of mushy spinach so I could be like Popeye and especially, I would never allow myself to be sent to Camp Granada.

Being four was great.  Except for one thing, I had to take a nap after lunch every day.  I think the same person who said we had to wait a half an hour after eating before going swimming was somehow involved with the nap conspiracy.

I decided if Peter Pam could stay young forever, I was going to be four forever.  I still hadn’t mastered that flying thing, maybe I needed Pixie Dust. 

Life was great.  Then it happened, she came along.  I’m not sure how it happened or why it happened, but it happened, I had a little sister.  They named her Melanie.  My four-year-old paradise had been disrupted, not destroyed.

She cried all the time.  If I did that my parents would get mad, but she allowed to get away with it.  Everybody came over and said how cute she was.  Couldn’t they see she looked like a prune with wisps of curly hair.  They “oohed and aahhed” like she was a fireworks display.

Like  Peter Pan I swore I would never grow up, but then I had a birthday and I was told I was five instead of four.  I felt the same.  I  understand how my goal in life could change from one day to the , but it did.  I had a big party with lots of presents, so being five didn’t seem so bad, but somewhere inside me, presents and all, I still wished I was four.

When I was five, life was almost as magnificent as when I was four.  I still hadn’t mastered flying and my goal in life was shattered.  I just didn’t understand why Peter Pan’s life wasn’t so great. 

When I was five, I watched my prune faced sister turn into a little person.  When she started crawling and when my mom wasn’t in the room, I would put my cape on her to see if she could fly.  She just got all tangled up in it, then I’d start laughing and then my mom would come in and get mad at me.  She told me never to put anything around Melanie’s neck, and that she could choke.  I told my mom I was just checking to see if Melanie could fly.  The look on mother’s face was indescribable, like I instantaneously grew a third eye.

When people came over, everybody would say that Melanie had such pretty curly hair.  When the company was gone, my mom would say, “Oh Melanie you have such pretty curly hair.” When my mom would leave the room, I’d say, “Mel, you have ugly hair.” I never really paid much attention to hair, so one day I looked in the mirror and I saw that I had beautiful shining straight hair.  I loved it.  What’s so great about curly hair anyways.

When I was five my new goal in life was to go on the TV show “The Price is Right” and win a bunch of neat prizes, my mom could keep the furniture.  So whenever we went out, I would continually ask my mom how much everything costs.  She grew tired of it and would tell me to quit being so nosey.  Yeah!  She wouldn’t be so mad with a new living room set.  Of course, I would be the first kid to actually get on “The Price is Right.”

As the days drew on, my sister Mel got bigger, and the bigger she got, the more curly hair grew on top of her head.  My mom was continually telling Mel how pretty her curly hair was, and when my Mom left the room I would tell my sister she had ugly hair. I decided I absolutely love my straight  shiny hair .  It felt smooth and silky.

Life was great.  I had another birthday, dream shattered.  Having a little sister wasn’t so bad, it was fun to torture her, but as she got older she learned to talk and she became a curly haired tattle-tale (by the time I was seven.) I still tried to fly, and still dreamed of being the first kid on “The Price is Right”, continually nagging my mother on how much everything we saw or owned cost.

Company would come over and tell my mom how cute “Curly Hair Mel” was.  When they would leave, I would tell Mel that she had ugly hair.  She would cry, I would laugh, she would tattle, and I would get into trouble.  I loved to make my sister cry, and I continually got into trouble, but it was worth it.

One day the family took a trip to Disneyland.  It was so exciting for my sister Mel and me.  We never forgot that day.

When we got back to town, I discovered a new game to play on my sister.  I called it “OOH, THERE’S DISNEYLAND!” So when my sister, my mom, and I would drive in town, I would yell “OOH, THERE’S DISNEYLAND,” and my curly haired sister would pop her head up, eyes bulging thinking that Disneyland was out our window.  Too bad it was 200 miles away.  I would roll over laughing.  Five minutes later I’d yell, “OOH, THERE’S DISNEYLAND,” sister would pop her curly haired  head up, eyes bulging, I’d roar out laughing, and my mom would tell me to stop.  That game never got old, she fell for it every time.

One day I was really desperate to fly, so I decided to build myself a helicopter.  Where does one start, with the seat.  I got the wood, nailed the seat together, sat on it and it broke.  It’s just that I didn’t want my curly haired sister to accomplish flying before me.

Company  would come over, tell my mom how cute Mel and her curly hair was, and when they would leave, I’d tell Mel her hair was ugly, she’d tell my mom, I’d get in trouble.  It was a continuum, like my getting older, not flying and not getting on “The Price is Right.”

Then one day it happened.  My mom packed us in the car.  I play “OOH, THERE’S DISNEYLAND,” (you think my sister would have learned.)  My mom took us to a friend’s house where they sat me in ta chair and put stinky stuff in my hair.  When it was all over, I had curly hair too.

The smell of the day stayed with me forever.  So did the curly hair.  My hair never went back to being straight, even to this day.  Melanie finally out grew “OOH, THERE’S DISNEYLAND,” but it didn’t matter.

When I was eight, my mom brought home a new sister.  I never made fun of her curly hair, never learned to fly with a cape, never went on A”The Price is Right”, but ‘OOH, THERE’S DISNEYLAND” lives on.

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