Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Old Postcard Wednesday—Smile!

I am cheating this week, in that what you see above is not an authentic "old" postcard but is, instead, a postcard from my dentist's office serving as an appointment reminder.  It was obviously created using old photos, and I wonder if it may have, in fact, initially been an old postcard and if the girls were each holding a small flag that was Photoshopped out and replaced with those toothbrushes you see them holding.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile may know that I have been wearing braces for a long time, having passed three years at the beginning of May. Adult orthodontia is a real journey, I tell ya! Mine would not actually be over quite yet because there is still some tweaking here and there that my orthodontist would have liked to do (we were never shooting for "perfect" because I had bone loss and gum recession from years of over-brushing using hard toothbrushes). But a recent x-ray showed that two roots in my front lower teeth have shortened significantly, indicating stress (and warning of potential loss of those teeth) and my orthodontist said the braces must come off immediately. It was okay with me, as I am more than ready to be done with this and I could tell that they were going to look better than they ever have in my life.

So, on Tuesday they removed the braces from the top row of teeth and measured for a clear retainer. On Thursday I will return to have a permanent metal retainer installed on the back of the lower front teeth, after which they will remove the braces on the bottom row. Then I will be done.

It is sort of magical for me having the top braces off now, with my teeth all straight and polished and looking like I wish they had all my life. In my adolescent and teen years I was especially embarrassed by my crooked teeth and I know my lack of self-esteem held me back socially, perhaps academically. During college I worked for a local savings and loan as a Girl Friday and was once sent on an errand to pick up a photo of the office softball team at a downtown photographer's studio. The photographer asked me if I modeled. I told him no and couldn't get out of there fast enough. As I walked back to the office I wondered, Didn't he see my crooked teeth? In my adulthood I was simply used to them and have even had compliments on my smile. Then in the last decade as I aged my teeth began to really shift in such a way that my bite was completely off, causing me jaw tiredness and pain and ruining the quality of my sleep. For physical and sanity reasons, and not for vanity reasons, I decided to consult with the orthodontist, and now the rest truly is nearly history.

I was told I looked like different women during varying phases on my way into adulthood. For a one-year period of my life, my junior year of high school to be exact, several different men said I looked like Geraldine Chaplin. Doctor Zhivago, the movie, had been released earlier and her role as his long-suffering wife made her famous at the time. I bring this up now because there is one photo of me taken that year in which I do see the resemblance, and it was — typically — of me not smiling, most often because I was hiding my teeth. This all came to mind because the message on the old postcard speaks about a great American smile, which made me think of the greatest song ever written about a smile, a song written by Charlie Chaplin, Geraldine Chaplin's father, who was not American at all but British, and who has been responsible through the decades for more worldwide smiles than probably any other comedic actor. And that reminded me of a marvelous video that I posted at my other blog some years ago, with Geraldine Chaplin and her daughter singing Chaplin's marvelous song, Smile. As I mentioned, references likening my appearance to Geraldine Chaplin were short-lived, and I do not see any resemblance in the mature women we have become.

Here are photos of Geraldine Chaplin and me taken within a few years of one another, followed by that wonderful video, thus ending what is probably the most personal OPW post ever here at Writerquake, and I thank you for indulging me this sidetrack.

Mother and daughter sing Smile in 2009.
Oona (Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter named for his wife, Oona) & Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin's daughter)



mythopolis said...

This made me smile! : ) And yes, you do look like Geraldine!

rosaria williams said...

Maybe not now, but then, you did look like Geraldine.

Fireblossom said...

Wow, there really is a resemblance in the two photographs.

Oona totally has Charlie's smile, don't you think? And she's doing his little eye roll thing, no doubt because they are singing his song.

I am a huge Chaplin fan. Did you know that Geraldine plays Charlie's mother in the bio pic "Chaplin" in which Robert Downey Jr. plays Charles?

You know how much I adore the singer Emmylou Harris. Well, she always had a crooked tooth, and I liked it cos with all the beauty, talent, and so forth, it made her seem more human to me, a charming flaw. But in the past ten years or so, she must have gotten it fixed, cos it isn't there anymore, and do you know what? I miss it!

Lydia said...

mythopolis~ Happy you are smilin'!

rosaria~ Agree.

Fireblossom~ I love Charlie Chaplin, too. Hadn't recognized the eye roll by his granddaughter, though, and glad you mentioned it. I am aware that Geraldine played his mother in that film and saw just a portion of it on TV once.
Emmylou's tooth was indeed cute. But I had one dentist in 2001 say I shouldn't get braces because then I would look like everyone else. Little flaws are charming, until, like my teeth, they begin to change and cause physical problems. Maybe that's what also happened to Emmylou!

susan said...

I'm sure you feel much more comfortable now they're gone (or mostly gone). When we met I thought you had a delightful smile.

Rob-bear said...

Well, so glad to hear that your orthodontic treatment is almost over. (Or should I say orthodontic torture?)

As for you and Geraldine, I do see the resemblance. You could be sisters, at the very least.

And toothbrushes instead of flags sounds so un-American. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I quite enjoyed the sidetrack into the personal! So, so glad your adventures with metal-wear are ending, congratulations!

Lovely picture, by the way :)

Lydia said...

susan~ Ah, you are so kind. I thought the same about your smile...and was jazzed about the brain behind it! (Yes, it feels great to have them off.)

Rob-bear~ Yes, you can call it torture.....all except for the entree it gave me in conversing with kids in braces. It saddens me to know I will never be able to relate with them in quite the same way again!
Yes, there was a resemblance for that one year.
Toothbrush flags do seem silly, I agree.

Amber Lee~ Aw, thank you. I love that "adventures with metal-wear"! That's great and I must remember to share it in a matter of hours when I have my last appointment. Yikes. I'd better get some sleep!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

smile is a lovely song, but very difficult to play -full of odd A diminished 7th chords that i'm sure writers only put in to annoy musicians and break their fingers

Hattie said...

I really liked this post, and the video. Both of my daughters got braces. My husband needed them and never got them,and now his teeth are getting more and more jumbled looking. But they don't seem to bother him.

goatman said...

My two top-front teeth had a large gap whilst growing up. Mom kept telling me to push them together with my thumbs whenever I thought about it -- it became a habit; and it worked!

I hope this helps with the O'Sullivan pictures:

Lydia said...

goatman~ Your mother was darned smart, and you were good to have followed her instruction. I used to try to pull my crowded teeth apart until my fingers no avail.
Thanks for the link! That is the same article I mentioned my friend sharing with me last week. Such amazing photography!

naomi dagen bloom said...

What a rollicking post all in service to teeth and their correction! And smiles too, wonderful to read and listen to.

Lydia said...

naomi~ Your first line is just great! Thank you.

bfk said...

I see the resemblance, Lydia. And many times you looked like Jaclyn Smith. But most of the time you looked like you, and that was far prettier than the others.

And you've ALWAYS had a wonderful smile. From eighth grade on.

Lydia said...

bfk~ Thank you so much for such lovely compliments. I am honored.

You never told me you thought I ever looked like Jaclyn Smith. She is the other actress that others mentioned me looking like. Interesting.

Lydia said...

Pixies and Hattie~ I am sorry to have somehow missed replying to your comments in this thread. Please excuse the oversight and know that I enjoyed them ever so much. :)



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