Thursday, March 9, 2017

Slice of Life Story Challenge #9 - The Perfect Tan

It's the March Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!

I'm reading The Giver by Lois Lowry aloud to my 6th graders, and today we got the part when The Giver transmits the memory of a sunburn to Jonas.  We started talking about sunburns, and interestingly enough, not many of my students have ever had a bad sunburn.  I'm sure with the awareness of sunscreen, there are less foolish instances of exposure to sun than there were when I was 16 and went to Florida with my friend, Amy Cross, and my parents on spring break.  We were lily white from the Ohio winter, and we didn't bother with sunscreen as we immediately headed to the beach upon our arrival to start our tans.  The memory came back to me...

     "Do you see a tan line yet?" I say as I pull up the leg of my swimsuit after about an hour in the hot, intense, Florida sun.

     "Hmm...maybe a little," Amy responds.

     "Well, let's lay out a little longer."

     Another hour later, we decided we had had enough sun, and we walked back to our rented condo off the beach and relaxed in the air conditioning.  We felt a little dehydrated and sleepy from being in the sun that long, but other than that, not too bad.  Mom was concerned we both looked red, but we brushed it off.  We were convinced we had the beginnings of bronze, beautiful tans.

     I remember that "The Thorn Birds" mini-series was on that week, and we were glued to the television that evening.  It wasn't soon after the show began, that I started to feel sick.  I was dizzy, nauseous, and headachy.  The sunburn had begun to feel very painful, and we started to realize we had definitely overdone it.  I had sun poisoning.  

     The next morning, I awoke to blisters all over my face.  I couldn't smile or talk without them popping painfully.  I was absolutely miserable.  I'm sure Amy was burned, too, but not quite as badly.  Mom took me to an urgent care, and the doctor told me emphatically that I was absolutely not to be in the sun AT ALL that week.  He gave me medication, and told me not go out without a hat.  He scared me when he said that if I got any more sun exposure, the blisters would scar.  I had serious burns.

     So ironically, in our pursuit of the perfect tan on that first day, we had ended up confining ourselves to a week of indoor activities in sunny Florida.  Amazingly, I still remember having fun on that trip!

Somewhere there is a photo album with pictures from that trip, but since we moved, I don't know exactly where it be, unfortunately.


  1. I feel like everyone has a sunburn story to tell. Mine was when I was young, and we took a trip to San Diego. Seemed like an overcast day, so I went without any type of lotion, and we stayed out all day. Like you, I was miserable by the evening.
    Glad we are wiser now!

  2. Oh, the sunburn woes! My two have a couple of sunburn stories to tell, after they were beyond the reach of my constant worry and application of sunscreen. What a treat to read The Giver with your 6th graders!

  3. This sound like our senior trip! One of my friends got burned so badly! It was awful! Oh...the Thorn Birds...LOVED that mini-series. I am Catholic so I know how awful it was, but Rachel Ward and Richard Chamberlain were amazing! Ahhh memories!