Thursday, February 28, 2008

An Affair to Remember

So the previews for a new movie are making me relive a traumatizing event from my childhood that I have to share with you to get it off my chest. Every fourth grader at Rock Canyon Elementary school looks forward to one big-time event: the Fourth Grade Wax Museum! Every student writes a biography on a historical figure and then they get to dress up like the people they studied and stand for thirty minutes in their wax-figure-impersonation glory while the rest of the school tours the museum and "learn" about the people (ie, do their best to make the "wax figures" laugh or wiggle).

I was so excited when the whole grade gathered with their teachers to sign-up for their historical figures. My mom had convinced me to sign-up for Pocahontas (I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that my sister was an Indian for Halloween and the costume was just waiting to be used again). There would be no duplicates in this wax museum, oh no, as I stated, this was big-time stuff, but I wasn't worried because we got to sign-up in alphabetical order so with the last name Borup, I thought I was safe. That is until my friend Bonnie Beuss got her turn and sign-up up for Pocahontas. I tried not to panic and stated my second choice, Annie Oakley, but I'd been so caught up that I hadn't heard that Anne Barrett already picked Annie Oakley. The teacher in charge told me I would get another turn to pick after everyone else went. But then all the good historical women were spoken for. Joan of Arc, taken; Amelia Earhart, taken; Kristi Yamaguchi, taken . . . I couldn't come up with a single idea. I wasn't the only one left in that predicament so several of us went home with notes that we had one night to come up with some new ideas for the wax museum.

I went home in despair. Who could I possibly choose? At the dinner table that night my parents threw a few names back and forth, and I'd never heard of any of them. I told them I had to have at least two names and they better write them down since I didn't know who they were (I'd asked them for details, but they told me, "That's what research is all about. You'll learn all about them.")

Then next day, I showed up at school with two names written on a slip of paper in my mom's handwriting: Madame Curie and Anne Boleyn. My teacher gave me a quizzical look and asked me which one a wanted to me. Still disgruntled that I wasn't going to be Pocahontas, I told her I didn't know anything about either of them. She said, "One was a queen and one was a scientist. Which one do you want to be?"

My fateful reply? "The Queen I guess."

"OK, that's Anne Boleyn."

I didn't give it much more thought until we headed to the library the next day to begin our research. There wasn't a single book in the whole school library on Anne Boleyn. The only info on her was a section of the B World Book Encyclopedia. I knew I could never come up with a five-page paper from those little paragraphs, but I skimmed through it anyway to see what she was famous for.

Then I knew.

Anne Boleyn was one of Henry VIII's many wives who was famous because he said she cheated on him and then her head got chopped off. I was signed-up of to dress up like someone who was famous for getting their HEAD CHOPPED OFF!!!!!!

I rushed to my teacher and told her that I needed to switch. I did NOT want to be Anne Boleyn. Sadly, someone else had already signed-up as Madame Curie and she said it was too late to change anyway. She was sure that I could figure something out.

Looking back, I'm sure my parents thought that was a pretty funny thing to do to me, but they paid for it in the end too (Note-to-self, if I ever have a daughter, do not send my innocent nine-year-old to sign-up to pose as Anne Boleyn!). My dad ended up getting stuck looking for more information on Anne Boleyn at the BYU library and helping me dredge through my five-page report (He also come up with the idea to add some color copies of portraits of Anne Boleyn to take up more space in my report). My mom ended up scouring the city for an Anne Boleyn like costume that would fit a nine-year-old and finally found one that she could rent.

And the final product speaks for itself.

It's taken me years, but I can finally say that I find this picture very funny.

I forgive you mom and dad!


EK said...

I love this story because we just had the Wax Museum at our school last week. And I'm reading The Other Boleyn Girl right now.

Poor you. :)

Charity said...

This reminds me of a very bad experience I had with waist long hair and pippi longstocking....Thanks for the laugh, and the trip down memory lane!

Mom said...

Did I ever share Roz trick or treating (fifth grade) with a rubber axe through her head and fake blood dripping down her chin? People opening doors and gasping at the gore?? Gosh, you passed up the opportunity to wear a fake dress 6 feet tall with your real head tucked under a stuffed arm - but I guess that might have been a bit much....

J.R., Meg, and Alyssa said...

I did a wax museum with my fifth graders--I hope none of them had traumatic stories/memories to tell!

Nikki said...

I started to read this entry and decided that I HAD to share it with David . . . we both laughed out loud. I'm glad you got that off your chest and added a little humor to our evening.