I was a butterfly once. A Monarch butterfly. Marching in the Pacific Grove annual Monarch Butterfly parade. It was (and remains to this day) the tradition to have the kindergarten children dress up as Monarch butterflies and parade about the town on the first Saturday in October. The other grades participate as well, but only the kindergartners get to dress up as butterflies.
The odd thing is, I have no memory of being a butterfly. Of strapping on wings, being put in line, marching along through a crowd of people. Zero memory. None.
I was six years old when we moved to Pacific Grove. We were only there a year, while father attended the Defense Language Institute. Not quite a year, actually. Close enough: we arrived in January and left in December.
So in January, I would have been enrolled in school. In kindergarten. Too late for the parade. And by October, I would have been seven years old and in first grade. Too old to be a Monarch butterfly? Is that why I cannot remember? Because it never happened?
And yet … mother said it did. She told the story, often all through the rest of my childhood and beyond. I was an adorable butterfly, she would say. Beaming all around. She made my wings. And perhaps she did. Maybe I was kept back, repeating kindergarten, hooray for the parade.
So maybe it was true. Or not. Perhaps I was so disappointed at missing out on my one and only chance to be a butterfly that mother simply put me in the parade every year after that, until it became a part of family lore.
We didn’t stick around long enough to get caught pretending to be part of something that never happened.
Now, of course, we’d know. Cameras everywhere. Social media. Witnesses. But back then, it was just us, passing through on our way to other towns, other places.
Note: I’m participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge for 2016. The challenge is to write 26 posts, each one tied to a letter of the alphabet.