Throwback Thursday

So, apparently there’s this thing called “Throwback Thursday” where you can just post any old picture of yourself and not actually have to write anything, and I was like, “THAT IS THE LAZIEST THING EVER AND IT’S LIKE IT WAS MADE EXPLICITLY FOR ME.”

Here is a picture of me, age 8:

Cotton.  It’s what we had instead of marshmallows.

My little sister, Lisa, is also in the picture.  We’re picking cotton in fields that surrounded our house.  This is what real cotton looks like before it’s processed and turned into underwear.  Real cotton is full of seeds and stems which ruin everything.  Much like marijuana.  And after you pick it you have to dump it into big trucks and go cotton-stomping.  That’s when you jump on a giant truck of cotton to smush it so that you can fit more cotton in it.  It sounds way funner than it is because the cotton is still filled with scratchy seeds and pointy stems.  It’s like jumping on a trampoline covered with splinters, or in a giant pit of cotton candy that has a bunch of angry hornets in it.

Hang on.  I thought I wasn’t supposed to have to write a post here.  Why is this so long?  I’m doing this wrong.

Fuck.

Never mind.  You know what?   This is a picture of me and my sister holding marshmallows.  The end.

138 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday

Read comments below or add one.

  1. My dad used to pick cotton and got a seed stuck in his ear and now he’s half deaf in that ear.

    If it makes you feel better, I do blog commenting wrong.

  2. I just posted a random photo of my dog and asked my readers to do all the work of coming up with a caption. I didn’t know it was called “Throwback Thursday!”

  3. I want marshmallows now. And I second the dress being very Laura Ingalls Wilder though at first I thought it was a nightgown. But I’m on my phone so Imma trust Anny Mouse that it is indeed a dress.

  4. I love your non-post….post. I so enjoy throwback Thursday, but mostly because I like to see if other people had a messed up past. Makes me feel more normal. LOL Such a cute photo by the way, it’s sweet.

  5. Wife. Mother. Blogger. Taxidermy enthusiast. Cotton farmer.

    You’re like freaking Wonder Woman! Is there anything you CAN’T do??

  6. I think your way is much more entertaining than just posting the picture. The picture by itself didn’t make me laugh till I cried, like your story did. In my opinion you get it right every time Jenny! Love your book & blog~ it never fails to make me smile. You are a gift to the world!

  7. I love seeing people’s pics from Throwback Thursdays. Especially the older ones as we didn’t grow up during a time where our entires lives were documented digitally on Instagram, Facebook, etc. And I now want to visit the marshmallow fields. 🙂

  8. Every Thursday when people start posting their TBT pictures, I think about doing the same. Then I realize the picture I want is in that one scrapbook that’s in the big plastic bin that used to be in the closet but then got moved to the garage and I think now there’s a bunch of other stuff piled on top of it and most likely I’d have to move the car to make room for the stuff after I took it off the bin so I can get to the scrapbook and find the picture. Then I say “fuck it” and post a picture of a monkey or a squirrel. So far no one’s noticed the difference.

  9. The cotton trucks always look like they’re transporting giant marshmallows down the highway. I always wondered why they didn’t just bounce and jiggle out of the trucks…then I remembered they weigh a lot.

  10. Cute photo! Marshmallows remind of how blonde & gullible I am. In my mid-twenties, I was watching the news in my apartment when they began a story on farmers and the marshmallow industry. They visited fields full of healthy marshmallow crops, and even showed workers harvesting them. They discussed different techniques used to attain the different colored ones. I was all, “Holy shit, I had no idea marshmallows grew in fields! This is amazing!”

    And then they said, “April Fools!”
    Fuck. I’m an idiot.

  11. I seem to remember a story from grade school about a dude named Eli who turned cotton into gin. Now that’s a superpower worth having.

  12. This week is like superduperthrowback WEEK, cuz of all the Beatles stuff everywhere. Here’s your connection: Marshmallow fee-ulds forevah! (you know you just sang that in your head)

    You’re welcome.

  13. that is probably the most adorable photo ever.

    well, second most adorable. i have one of me as a baby with a bottle of dewar’s scotch that has a nipple on the top. thanks, dad.

  14. At least you posted something. I had to get up at 6am so I could be to work at 7, and when I logged onto my home computer and started at my empty new blogger post all I could think of was “Fuck it, I so very much want to go back to bed for 5 minutes” and so I did. Yeah, I was late for work this morning.

  15. I showed your picture to my 5 year old daughter and said “oh wow, look, MARSHMELLOW FIELDS!” She got super excited and said she wanted to go there on vacation, because marshmellows are her “favorite thing EVER”. And now she’s crying because I had to tell her that I was just joking because that’s really just cotton. THANKS JENNY.

  16. Ah, East Texas memories. Driving up to Texas A&M when I was little (from South Texas) for a game, we’d stop near Snook (that’s a real town name) and pick cotton just for fun. Former slaves across the South rolled in their graves every time. I feel I should apologize. 🙂

  17. I remember going out and doing the same thing as a kid! That was an experience I never want to repeat, especially because my mom decided I was a small human cotton gin and kept handing me pieces to de-seed. Itchiest. Stuff. EVER.

  18. “Real cotton is full of seeds and stems which ruin everything. Much like marijuana.”<—-this comment just made my day. Thank you.

  19. True story–I attended college in TN and was friends with a girl from NYC (I am from Maine originally) and we were driving around one Sunday afternoon when she said, in her very distinct New York accent “Cool. Marshmallows.” (which sounded like maaaahshmallows). I at first was baffled, until I realized that she was looking at a cotton field. And was totally serious.

  20. second marshmallow reference of the day and my kids haven’t even asked for OMG-mom-it’s-snowing hot cocoa and marshmallows yet. During the summer they talk about marshing the mallows, so this morning when I saw a diy marshmallow shooter on Pinterest, I thought, “Holy crap, we can launch the mallows.” But this is about cotton. Hrrm.

  21. I grew up on a farm and cotton picking and chopping was a part of my life for years. But I always loved jumping in the trailer full of cotton and tramping it down. Loved the smell. Thanks for taking me back.

  22. I really love your dress (and your non-post post). Being a girl from the northeast I have not experienced “Real cotton”. It tastes just like vanilla cotton candy right? That’s what I’ve heard… but not really….

  23. If you hadn’t put an explanation, I would have thought you were throwing snowballs while inappropriately dressed. See, some things need explaining or child services get called.

  24. Can I post someone else’s throwback picture? Or what about that iphone app that lets you photoshop pics? Can I photoshop my child self into a cooler environment than my plaid living room circa 1976? The cotton field looks pretty good – hornets notwithstanding – got any room?

  25. I love that it looks like it snowed all around a cotton field when it’s being picked. I hated that as a kid we had to remove all the white shit from our yard when the cotton was being picked.

  26. Everyone knows there is no such thing as marshmallow fields. Now spaghetti trees, well, that’s a different story (to see the annual spaghetti harvest, search for spaghetti harvest BBC; you can thank me for the giggle, later).

  27. LOVE it!! I grew up surrounded by cotton fields, too!! It’s a whole other world… ahhh, memories of youth are flooding back!! Thank you!

  28. I love the words that went with the picture. And if I get around to it today, I’m going to do the same thing. Breaking the rules!

  29. Funny! Both because you’re funny but also because this is NOT where I decided you must have grown up…I was thinking something more along the lines of a hippy commune in California or a cardboard box in the alley behind Oxford University or something…not that there is anything wrong with growing up in a cotton field.

  30. “Much like marijuana.”, which immediately made me wonder if you’ve tried it. Then again, I sometimes think I’m one of the few people who hasn’t.

  31. Your marshmallows’ next stop is Tomball, Texas. There in my toddler story time, your marshmallows transform into Texas snow which I throw over kids’ heads every winter while singing, “The snow is falling down, falling down”

  32. You know, my fiction is about a young farm wife and her husband and little boy on a cotton farm in the Dust Bowl, and you’re right.

    Farming is not for sissies.

  33. At my grandparents’ farm, I used to ride in the back of the wagon sometimes when the combine emptied barley into it. Our being there didn’t serve any purpose, but I liked all the bugs that came through with the grain. Maybe it helped keep the combine operator more alert – what with not killing the children and all. Anyway, just like playing in the grain bins (which we also did) in the end you ended up about as itchy as you could get without actually having poison ivy.

  34. OMG – you and your sister are soooo cute. Also, where I come from (a place called Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, which sounds way more exotic than it really is) we had wheat growing around our house so this reminds me of my childhood. Good times 🙂

  35. I do a lot of sea chanty singing, and am rather fond of the tradition of “Cotton Screwing Songs”. Which aren’t nearly as naughty as they sound. Seems they packed the cotton into the hold with a big screw device to pack it in really tightly. Hence “I wish I was in Mobile Bay, screwin’ cotton all the day”. Yeah.
    Of course, if any water got into the hold while you were at sea, the cotton would swell up and your ship would pop, but nobody seems to have sung about that,,,

  36. Tossing and stacking hay bales is fun, too! They’re a little heavier than a cotton ball, but you also get all the chaff in your hair and down your clothes, and it feels like you’ve just gotten all sweaty (because this is always done when it’s 137 degrees in the shade) and rolled around naked in some of that pink, itchy house insulation.

  37. I knew exactly what that was. When I was little, we lived in Los Angeles, but my grandparents lived on a farm in the Central Valley. On trips up, my mother would make us stop and pick cotton for a minute so that we would know where it came from and how hard it was.

    It occurs to me now that while this was an attempt to teach us a number of valuable life lessons (my mother was always, always about the teachable moment), we were also stealing. Which is not at all what she meant to teach us.

    I just thought of a blog post. See what your picture of marshmallows did?

  38. Because you are an overachiever, Jenny. You try to half-ass it, but you just can’t. Me, on the other hand…I’m not even half-assing today. More like quarter-assing, or eigth-assing. God, I’m sorry. It’s new meds.

  39. I grew up with a cotton field behind my house. You’d be amazed at how many people don’t know that cotton doesn’t come off the plant fluffy and usable despite learning about the cotton gin and what an amazing invention that thing was.

    All my childhood pics have my siblings in them too. Unless you look at my school pics. Please don’t look at my school pics.

  40. Oh Lordy, pick a bale o’ cotton…

    Great photo! I remember watching my hippie parents clean the seeds and sticks out of their pot using the lid to the Monopoly box. I hated the smell of Monopoly.

  41. I used to live in Phoenix and to get to the Mesa amphitheater, you drove through cotton fields. (It’s all houses now.) I stopped by the side of the road and picked some up once, that had blown around, maybe two or three cotton balls, and sent it to my son so he could see what cotton looked like before it went through the whole make in into clothes thing.

    I’m glad you do Throwback Thursday wrong. Just saying.

  42. Milf runner #79 “I hate the smell of Monopoly”, that slayed me. And I love knowing there’s a Stems and Seeds Blues song.
    I, too, thought the pic was of some kind of freak snowstorm in Texas when you were little. But I’m sitting here in like the 6th snowstorm of the season. All I can see is snow and ice it seems.

  43. Up here in southern Ontario, a marshmallow field is actually a hay field after the round bales have been formed and covered in white plastic. And out marshmallows are much bigger than yours.

  44. It’s interesting that your sister is happy and cheery and you look pensive and kind of grown up for an eight-year-old. Foreshadowing? It’s a great picture.

  45. When I was little I got to throw hay bales off a huge haystack my grandfather had made in his sort of slapdash barn into a truck. It’s a miracle I didn’t kill anyone in the process. Eight-year-olds don’t have the greatest aim when shoving hay off a tower-like structure. Ahhhh, country living.

  46. Please let’s figure out a way to make marshmallows grow in fields! Then I wouldn’t feel so bad about eating them because they’d be “all natural” or even “organic” and considered a “real food” instead of something completely manufactured.

  47. You were like Laura stomping down hay for Pa so they could survive The Long Winter!!! MY hero!

  48. I love the photo. And I’m glad you got the not writing anything part wrong, because otherwise I might never have known about the hornet-swarming cotton-candy feeling of cotton-stomping.

  49. sigh I’m a loser that just figured out the whole #tbt #mcm thing. I’ve spent a LOT of time staring at screens going “What the fuck is a tbt and what does it have to do with this picture of Nicole with a bucket on her head?”

  50. Last year, my husband and I drove out to New Mexico for a vacation and we passed some cotton fields and I was awed by it because I had never see one before. I really wanted to stop and pick some just to see what raw cotton was like. (No, not a city girl. I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life and we don’t grow cotton. LOL)

  51. That is an awesome picture. You are right, cotton picking isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Then again neither was raspberry picking at my grandparents farm….

  52. look at you two with your little cottony friends. so adorable! you did get to keep the cotton you picked and put googly eyes on it and paint it interesting colours, right?

  53. When we were growing up, my little sister and I used to see those big cotton trucks on the road all the time as they were toting cotton from the fields. Given that the entire part of the truck storing the cotton was basically a big bin that you could see into, and cotton was flying out all over the place, we liked to imagine the cotton was popcorn and the truck was the popper. I’m fairly certain my father fully encouraged us to stick our heads out the window to catch the “popcorn” in our mouths. (We weren’t in seat belts, you know. This was the 70s, yo.)

  54. I remember playing in piles of cotton and getting in trouble because we mixed the cotton that still had seeds with the pile that didn’t…oops…

  55. I keep wanting to grow cotton and then card it and spin it and dye it and knit it. But I am pretty sure that would ensure my single status permanently.

  56. I guess I’m the only one who saw that shirt and thought “Hollie Hobbie” instead of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

    And like you, I grew up around cotton; so naturally I am allergic to cotton. And watermelons and cantaloupes…I mean the family grew them too, not that I was allergic. A watermelon allergy would be tragic in west Texas.

  57. I remember my first time getting to have “fun” picking cotton…like you, Jenny, I was unaware of how pointy cotton is in the wild.
    Also? The phrase “shitting in high cotton” is supposed to mean that you’ve got it made. I have no idea where the phrase originated…my boss used to say it all of the time (the Southern boss, not the Yankee one). I asked him and he was all, “Well, you see…it would be all good…because you could take a crap and no one would be seeing you…and as an added bonus, you’d have cotton to wipe your butt with.” Clearly, a man who has never actually picked cotton (or shat in a field of it).

  58. What’s weird is, I was literally (I promise I don’t mean figuratively) thinking to myself yesterday “I wonder if the Bloggess has ever blogged about marijuana. Now, I’m not even a fan of it personally (I’m not crazy against it either I’m just not like oh boy let me move to Colorado because pot is now legal). And now today there is a post about it. Freaaaaky

  59. OK. Now I finally understand why I see so much inexplicable shit on my FB page on Thursdays. Obviously, I have been ‘beneath’ the curve regarding pop culture and probably Social Media as well. Thanks for The Enlightenment. I feel as if now, I can speak intelligently at cocktail parties (as if!)
    Thanks again.
    –A Texan
    P.S. I have picked cotton and I have hauled hay. Both are not fun.
    Oh, and by-th’-way: I took the liberty to copy a link to this on My FB page. Hope that is cool.

  60. My Daughter always tells me that (funner) isn’t a word. So nice to have you validate, for me, that it is. lol!!!

  61. I’ve never had to pick or stomp cotton, but when I was a kid we had to go bean walking, which is when my brother and I and a bunch of the neighborhood kids and my parents had to walk row after row of soybeans pulling weeds. So basically we had to weed a very big garden that was totally soybeans. The neighborhood kids got paid. We didn’t. I’m still a little bitter about that.

  62. I hated ‘stomping cotton’. The stripper that was throwing the next load on us scared the crap out of me! That’s why I’m such a good cook. Mom let me stay in the house to make dinner. (aka lunch at noon) Proud to be a cotton farmer’s daughter…in the house.

  63. My mom and her brothers used to pick cotton growing up in S.C. Her brother would pee on his so it would weigh more.

  64. As a child I was convinced that the huge white balls (bales of hay, wrapped in plastic) in farmer’s fields were marshmallows…Of course, where else would they grow?

  65. @Bridget Schwartz Mullin, “The stripper that was throwing the next load on us scared the crap out of me!” Totally conjured up an entirely different image in my head than the one I am sure you meant to describe. 🙂

  66. Breakin’ the law. I did that with my post too. Pick my first crush and gush about it? Why do that when I can revisit roughly one-third of my Its Not You, It’s Me phone calls. 🙂 Adorable picture.

  67. Prairie dresses used to be my go-to dresses. Now I think I look silly in them. Or maybe it’s just because I stopped wearing dresses.

  68. Lisa looks happy and carefree but you….look at your eyes. You are plotting crap far into the future. Admit it.

  69. hey our marshmallow fields looked just like that when I was little. pickin cotton was not for the feint of heart for real.

  70. My dad was a crop duster here in Arizona, so cotton it was — I remember distinctly my deep disappointment at the discovery that cotton on the vine was all stabby.

    Of course, that may explain why I didn’t realize that fiberglass was dangerous…

  71. You never do ANYTHING wrong, Jenny, you simply do amazing things.
    You were a pair of angels, by the way – with devilish tendencies.

  72. I used to live in the Central Valley of California, cotton country. I had the esteemed privelege of riding on a float, dressed in a brown sweatsuit with cotton balls glued all over it for the annual Cotton Festival. This stint is now item #1 on my CV, right after junior volunteer rodeo clown. I feel you may be the only person who could understand my childhood.

  73. I used to live in the Central Valley of California. Cotton country. I had the esteemed privelege of riding on a float, dressed in a brown sweatsuit with cotton balls glued all over it, for the annual Cotton Festival. I list this honor on my CV, right after Junior Volunteer Rodeo Clown. I feel that you may be the only one who understands my childhood.

  74. I love this! I’ve never known anyone else my age who has picked cotton. When I was 7 we had a cotton field behind the house we were renting in Bossier City, Louisiana. One day my mom made my sister and I pick cotton to teach us about the evils of slavery. My mom is awesome.

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