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Dynomite! School Photo Edition

July 26, 2012

Here we go again!  It’s contest time.

Didn’t we just do this — like, yesterday?

Yeah, thereabouts.  What’s your point?

Aren’t we all sick of this by now?  

Does it matter?  I’ll have you know, I have an email inbox overflowing with old photos — old photos that have finally broken free.  I’m talking free after decades spent living inside of cramped boxes.  I’ve seen those boxes.  There’s no space for them to move around.  They’re not allowed access to grass, they poop on each other’s heads, they’re miserable.

So let’s not deny those photos of their shot at freedom — and you’ll surely agree these contestants deserve that respect.  They are much braver than I.  Maybe you’ve noticed this blog has never featured school photos from my adolescent years.

But you’re probably thinking, surely I have nowhere to go but up from here?

Actually, from here I took a downward spiral plunge — off a cliff and to the jagged rocks below.  By the time my mangled body was recovered, I looked a lot like Arnold Horshack.

Now before we get started, I must apologize that I have no male contestants competing this round.  Rest assured, guys, Childhood Relived is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

See?  Here’s a look back at our past male contestants.




Handsome fellows, am I right?

This round is comprised of five talented female bloggers.  (But I’d like to emphasize this is not a contest exclusively for bloggers.  We bloggers are just much more comfortable with stripping off our dignity for entertainment sake.)

I’d also like point out that at the end of this I’ll ask you to vote for the most Dynomite! school photo.  So be ready for some soul-searching.

The winner of this competition will (1) be featured on my site (still lookin’ good there, Lenore) and (2) receive a special Flashback in a Box (showcased here) delivered right to her door!  In addition, (3) I will soon be presenting a Dynomite! Wall of Fame page on my blog, so we can all look back on our past winners.  You know, for when we need ideas for costume parties, for when the government wants proof of unidentified flying hair wings.  Et cetera, et cetera.

Now let’s meet our contestants!

1.)  Lynnette [Wordtabulous life, writing and the pursuit of wholeness]

The symmetry of Lynnette’s hair is admirable.  And frankly, it pisses me off.  You’ll note that the split of her hair across her forehead, together with her eyebrows, forms a perfect equilateral triangle.  Try as I might, the best triangle I could ever achieve was a scalene.  Let’s move on as I wince in pain from retroactive envy syndrome.

2.)  Heather [Becoming Cliche — my journey to becoming my mother]

My favorite thing about Heather is all the many layers of perm (which Heather assures me is intentional) that cascade down her shoulders to form an understated mullet.  I’m also a big fan of glasses that are broad enough to surround both eyebrows and cheekbones.  I have searched for frames that even encompass earlobes and widow’s peaks, but, alas, I am left wanting.

3.)  Kim [Kimberliah — the story of a working mom/wife…as told by the voices in my head]

Aside from the swoopiest wave of bangs I’ve ever seen — I’m talking pass the ginger ale, I’m seasick — Kim earns bonus points as the only Dynomite! kid with two fully-functioning eyes.  She is also wearing a shirt made from the pelt of a rare yellow tiger.  Hot pink, red, fluorescent green?  Dime a dozen, those tigers.  But I’d come to believe the yellow ones were extinct.

4.)  Shannon [Dirt N Kids — mommy is my heart, soil is my spirit]

I appreciate that Shannon’s hair is the perfect shade and silhouette of a Super Mario Brothers goomba.  Of course, a mention of this resemblance would’ve been lost on a 1981-Shannon.  A Space Invader?  Perhaps more fitting of the times.  Also, the velour of her v-neck shirt is oh-so pretty and oh-so similar to the one I had in purple.  And pink.  And blue.

5.)  Rachel [Rachel’s Table a local food experiment]

It’s not easy to spot in this photo, but Rachel is wearing the black-on-blue combo that I especially loved in 1980s yarnwear.  What would make me happy is to learn there was a yellow triangle and red square in there, too.  You’ll notice her bangs are fashioned into a blooming hydrangea, which nicely off-set her slightly askew glasses.  I can almost see those hydrangea petals sparkling with morning dew drops, the kind that derive from a can of Super-Hold Aqua Net.

Now here’s the hard part.  You must vote for your favorite.

In case of a close match, I reserve the right to advance the top TWO contestants to a one-on-one, fight-to-the-death finalist match next week.

This round of voting will end at 6 AM CST next Wednesday.

80 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2012 5:53 am

    Lynette even had pooka beads damn her!!!!!

    • July 26, 2012 10:01 am

      Does it diminish your envy to know that those aren’t real pooka beads? That was a plastic bead necklace I won at the state fair. God, I loved that necklace.

      • July 26, 2012 10:02 am

        Each bead looked like a real pooka, except for the seam around its circumference.

      • July 26, 2012 10:23 am

        I had to settle for a fake pooka as well. I secretly wished it had been given to me by Spicolli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (or similiar cool surfer dude).

      • July 27, 2012 7:37 pm

        Oh, Spicoli! I would’ve cherished so much as a piece of pizza given to me by Spicoli.

      • July 29, 2012 7:54 pm

        mmmm … pizza

      • July 27, 2012 7:35 pm

        Ooh, the seam! That blasted seam that always gives it away! As a kid I had a pearl necklace that had those damn seams. Certainly the lavender tinge didn’t give them away.

      • July 27, 2012 7:34 pm

        I feel much better knowing this.

    • July 27, 2012 7:06 pm

      We’ve since learned the beads aren’t real — I wonder how you can spot the impostors? Rub them against your teeth?

      • July 30, 2012 5:20 pm

        The beauty of the pooka is that they cut across classes- no one can tell real from carnival. I`ve never found a pooka shell. Just saying.

      • July 31, 2012 5:57 pm

        And with that, I’m heading right over to the Dollar Store to pick up my own strand.

  2. July 26, 2012 6:20 am

    Cripes, this contest is almost as difficult as deciding Who Wore it Better in Us Weekly. I went with the cascading perm. You can never go wrong with a cascading, layered perm.

    • July 27, 2012 7:23 pm

      The cascading perm styles I like best are the kind that sort of waterfall out of a banana clip — like a fountain flowing in a beautiful Zen garden, except made of dead cells.

  3. July 26, 2012 6:27 am

    Is Heather’s already signed Dy-no-mite?

    • csgomez79 permalink
      July 26, 2012 11:48 am

      I believe that is Olan Mills of Olan Mills photo studio fame. They were in K-marts here in Colorado.

      • July 27, 2012 5:54 am

        So a signed collectors item similar to a Franklin Mint collectible. This piece of information may influence my vote.

    • July 27, 2012 7:41 pm

      Yes, Olan Mills. Those of you living across the ocean from the Olan Mills studios really missed out on some phenomenal portrait photography. Imagine the sharpest looking polyester leisure suit from 1979. Now imagine it with blooming trees far off in the background. Amazing work.

  4. July 26, 2012 6:41 am

    This was delightful. What a nice way to remind all of us that whenever we think we look good, the mere passage of time will come back to slap us in our faces.

    • July 27, 2012 7:44 pm

      On that note, I’m off now to shave my head. Based on the futuristic movies I’ve seen, I’m certain I will be the only one not looking like a chump in photo albums in 50 years.

  5. July 26, 2012 6:42 am

    This is so hard. They are all so spec-tacular. I had a whole wardrobe of velour shirts. Still do. Man, I really don’t know who to pick here….

    C’mon 5-way tie! A fight to the death round!

    • July 27, 2012 10:57 am

      Oh, I forgot to tell you how utterly thrilled I am that you, once again, plastered my husband’s shaggy ‘do and funky pants on your blog. I made sure to add the same pic to the end of my birthday tribute for him.

      • July 27, 2012 7:48 pm

        Of course I saw that photo in your tribute this week. That photo is what led me to your post. I thought, “She’s a Maineiac? What’s this crap with the woman on the gravatar drinking a flask of scotch?” But then I saw Jimmy in polyester and everything changed.

    • July 27, 2012 7:47 pm

      Velour shirts have a special place in my heart. In a lot of people’s hearts it seems.

  6. July 26, 2012 6:43 am

    Hi Angie,
    This round was especially difficult. I wonder if there’ll be a tie.

    • July 27, 2012 7:51 pm

      These contestants are so amazing, this thing will never wrap up. We are all doomed, Amy.

  7. July 26, 2012 6:52 am

    LOL! what a blast!

    • July 27, 2012 7:52 pm

      I had the most fun opening emails of photos and wondering what I was going to see next. “Please let it be a mullet, please let it be a mullet…”

  8. July 26, 2012 7:17 am

    Another difficult decision.

    Blooming hydrangea: ha!

    • July 27, 2012 7:53 pm

      I don’t have a green thumb, which might explain why my hydrangea never bloomed.

  9. July 26, 2012 7:42 am

    Oh my, I know it’s bad form, but I voted for someone besides myself. The “blooming hydrangea” and “askew glasses” forced my decision. (I think this contest is rigged!!)

    Am I the only one wondering if we all bought our glasses at the same optometrist? Weirdly coincidental. May the best geek win.

    • July 26, 2012 7:44 am

      You know, I worked those feathers first with rollers, then with a comb-style curling iron, and FINALLY with a healthy application of Aqua Net. I always hoped the wind wouldn’t blow and ruin my “hard hair” secret. I have super-duper straight hair. This was my last year before a series of home perms that made me look more like Medusa in future school photos.

      • July 27, 2012 8:00 pm

        I remember using hot rollers and crimpers and curling irons and foam rollers that I had to sleep on. And steam rollers! So many, many ways I tried to make my hair curl. The curls would hold for all of two hours before flattening to the consistency of cooked linguini.

    • July 27, 2012 7:57 pm

      The frames in these photos, Shannon — it pains me to see them, knowing I had to suffer through 20/20 vision in school. Did you ever have those little stick-on gem thingies you’d put in the upper corner of your lenses? I loved those.

    • August 2, 2012 1:24 pm

      Hey, thanks for everything, Angie. This was tons of fun, even if I didn’t win. You have brought sunshine my way since I found in January. Time to give some back. (

      • August 2, 2012 3:02 pm

        Aw, you were so perfectly suited for this competition — my husband is bummed since he favored you to win from the get-go (shhhhh). You need to use that photo on your blog somewhere! Thanks so much for the bloggy love.

  10. July 26, 2012 7:53 am

    Your write-ups are hysterical. A “perfect equilateral triangle”? That makes my heart glad.

    • July 27, 2012 8:02 pm

      It’s as if I didn’t even realize what I was all along aspiring to in hairstyles until I saw this photo of Lynnette. Then all at once the answer came rushing into my soul.

  11. July 26, 2012 8:49 am

    It’s gotta be Rachel. Even though her eyes say “save me” her hair shows remarkable effort and that I can appreciate. I too dabbled in the blooming hydrangea many a times grades 6th through 8th. Although I likes a modified hydrangea with curl waterfall. (Curls completely manufactured by aqua-net of course.) Nothing says 6th grade hair like hard edges.

    And thanks once again for the photo of JP and his cat. I needed that today!


    • July 27, 2012 8:04 pm

      “Her eyes say ‘save me’…” You nailed it there, MC. There is nothing wrong with sympathy votes. Nothing at all.

      Yes, JP’s cat Penny will live on in our hearts forever.

  12. Emily Liston permalink
    July 26, 2012 9:00 am

    Thank God I have found a nice group of gals who know what velour is…usually when I mention velour I get blank stares, or “do you mean velvet?” No, I do not mean velvet, I mean velour!!
    Anyway, this one is tough! Time to ponder.

    • July 27, 2012 8:05 pm

      Yes, velour! Not velvet! How stupid! Who calls it velvet? Idiots! Now explain to me what is velveteen?

  13. July 26, 2012 9:02 am

    LOL! Let the games begin!!! I have to confess… only one of my eyes were/are fully functioning, I was just really good at accidently “forgetting” or “losing” my huge plastic glasses.

    • July 27, 2012 8:10 pm

      You totally fooled us there, Kim. The classic picture-taking strategy executed by generations of kids — on the big school picture day, reinvent yourself to look the least like how you actually looked on any given day.

      These school photos are the reason why I forget that my hair was chronically stringy and knotted into a rat’s nest.

  14. July 26, 2012 9:46 am

    I can’t believe 4 out of 5 girls wound up with the same glasses!

    • July 26, 2012 10:16 am

      LOL! I actually had those glasses, too! I must have stategically miss-placed them that day. ;)

    • July 27, 2012 8:13 pm

      I bet they all called each other on the phone the night before and arranged this. Poor Kim never got that phone call.

  15. July 26, 2012 10:00 am

    Shannon’s feathers are perfect!! That and the velour (I had a blue cowl neck variation that I wore until it looked like it had mange) is very evocative of the times. However, the pulled-back sides of Rachel’s do make me want to weep in solidarity. So many haircombs gnawing at the sides of my head, so many ponytail clips with the knobby balls straining to hold back the unruly masses. “blooming hydrangea”–love it. I also relate to Heather’s camp shirt and Kim’s swoop. So difficult to decide! Of course, there is always me…

    • July 27, 2012 8:17 pm

      Cowl neck velour? Get out! I’ve never seen that before! I had v-neck velour and turtleneck velour. I also had puffed-sleeved velour. That’s a rarity and hard to do. Velour isn’t one for puffing and pleating.

      Mange! Haircombs gnawing at your head! You poor thing, Lynnette. These sound like stories lived out through the Ingalls family.

      • July 29, 2012 9:05 pm

        Puffed sleeve velour? My world view is expanded. My high school friend Kathy had an AMAZING collection of velour sweaters, and an impressive rack with which to fill them out. So jealous. She used to get on the school bus with a fully heated curling iron and curled her hair on the way to school. She also did her makeup.

        Yes, Angie, I have suffered. The time my grandma cut my bangs crooked and up to my hairline comes to mind. Laura and I could have had drinks and commiserated.

      • July 31, 2012 6:03 pm

        Hmm, I wonder what Kathy is doing now, besides running a profitable velour sweater shop in the Hills….

  16. July 26, 2012 12:21 pm

    Wow. Each and every one of these lovely ladies deserves SOME kind of prize.

    Oh Angie, your descriptions are priceless. I wish I had my protractor to measure Lynette’s triangle hair!

    How did you know my favorite flower is a hydrangea? 1987-Rachel jumped many fences to steal blue hydrangeas out of neighbors’ yards. The hair was a clever disguise.

    As always, you rock. So do Lynnette, Shannon, Kim, and Heather!

    • July 27, 2012 8:23 pm

      Didn’t we all aspire to some kind of flower when we styled our hair? As I got to work on building my nest each morning, I’d be thinking “carnation flower” — but somehow I’d always end up with wilted tulip.

      You are so rocking that black-on-blue sweater! Dr. Huxtable would’ve been quite proud.

  17. July 26, 2012 12:42 pm

    Bless these ladies in all their childhood glory. They all deserve a big can of Aqua Net for their bravery.

    • July 27, 2012 8:25 pm

      Thanks for this inspiration, Karen. I’ve now set up The Aqua Net Fund in their names, and I’ll be passing around a hat later for donations.

  18. July 26, 2012 3:12 pm

    Ang, I hope you have a spare couch because when I get fired for trying to read your blog whilst on a teleconference, I’m going to need somewhere to crash.

    I seriously had to just walk away before I got to the new contestant pictures. Thank exotic tiger pelts, I am back now. I wish you could see me. I have tears running down my face.

    The scalene triangle, the goomba, “frames that even encompass earlobes and widow’s peaks” and “yellow triangle and red square” were just a few tear-inducing moments.

    How the permed mullet am I EVER going to pick just one?!?!

    • July 27, 2012 8:29 pm

      I do have a spare couch, Jules — we tossed a blanket and some pillows over the cat vomit stains, and now we’re all ready for your post-termination visit.

      How the permed mullet could I go one more day without saying “how the permed mullet” again? You are a true master.

  19. July 26, 2012 10:36 pm

    I have to go with Lynette… because she looks as though she’s trying to lull me into a false sense of security before she goes for my jugular. I love that in a woman. Grrrrrr.

    • July 27, 2012 8:33 pm

      Your reaction confirms what my gut was telling me all along — Lynnette could perhaps be too Miss Teen USA for this competition. I don’t pity her nearly enough. In fact, I sort of want to look like her. Even the glasses.

  20. Mary permalink
    July 26, 2012 11:03 pm

    No contest, Shannon totally had me at velour v-neck. Owned many. Rocked them all.

    • July 27, 2012 8:38 pm

      Velour really goes a long way with me as well. I think I may need to do a Dynomite! Velour V-neck contest. In velour, we’re all winners.

  21. July 26, 2012 11:57 pm

    *Sigh* Sometimes I miss the 80’s. I really do. You can’t tell me you can look at Kim’s photo and not think, ‘Let’s grab some Jolt Cola, catch a John Hughes movie, then go dancing somewhere that’s playing something with synthesizers.’

    • July 27, 2012 8:47 pm

      There is always that fleeting moment when it looks really good. And then you remember the feel of those rayon parachute pants on a 90 degree day. And the way that Frogger looked like a lego shrub. And how it felt to play dodgeball while fueled on the energy substance of an early morning Pop-Tart. And for me, that’s when the bad-nostalgia begins to creep in.

  22. July 29, 2012 10:06 am

    Gahhhhhhhhhh!!! I subscribed to Dynamite in elementary school and this cover of JJ holding a copy of JJ holding a copy of JJ going on and on FOREVER was my all time favorite. You just triggered a giant smile and happy memory!! Way cool! PS — I think I saved mine….I wonder if they’re worth something??

    • July 29, 2012 8:18 pm

      Save them — yes! Send them to me! They’re worth a lot because I will pay you for them! ;)

      Thanks for sharing your memories on this, Liz — my recollection of my Dynamite subscription is a bit fuzzy. I want to say we bought the subscription through Weekly Reader sometime in the early ’80s. But I couldn’t tell you one thing about who ever appeared on it and what I even read inside.

  23. August 1, 2012 3:03 pm

    I missed the voting! NOOOOOOOOOO!!! (Curse this hectic summer working schedule– I miss all the best parties and online polls!)

    Does your inbox need more overflowing of awfulness? If it does, I’m sure I can scrounge up an awesome pic or two for future Dynomite competitions.

    • August 2, 2012 3:05 pm

      You can absolutely send me some awfulness, Dana — I’m always accepting awfulness. I will take whatever old Dynomite!-worthy photos you care to submit. But just so you know, the next round of photos will be the Dymomite! Family Photo Edition. I already have three splendid entries to feature — care to join in?

      • August 3, 2012 1:34 pm

        I’d love to join in to any of the Dynomite features, but I’ll probably have to wait for another month or so before I have time to dig through the troves of awful photos. Work will KILL me for exactly 1 more month, and then it starts to level off again after Labour Day. Wish me luck! :)

      • August 3, 2012 8:11 pm

        Dynomite! will still be here when you are ready, Dana. Hope your last few weeks of an icky work cycle go by as painlessly as possible.


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