My Cup, My Smile.

My cup was the copper colored one. I think my sister had a green one. When I first rested my mouth against it to drink, I felt what seemed like a a tiny electrical current snap me.

I suspect that my Kool-Aid reacted with the metal somehow to bite my lip. We rarely got Kool-Aid so it was an electrifying moment even without the cup.

In this old photo I am with cup in hand. My sister Trish is giving me a casual hug while my brother Mike attempts to look serious and distinguished. Our dog Bobbie looks smaller than I remember him. Whoever took the photo should have told me to get that cup out of my face.

I was hiding my mouth.

My front four baby teeth came in dark and disintegrating.

The dentist told my mom that she'd probably been sick during the pregnancy, or I had experienced a high fever as a new born. He pulled them .

(I'm sure the dentist was wrong. I think it's some kind of genetic thing. My sisters eldest daughter had the same problem. The dentist covered her teeth with silver until her permanent teeth came in fine. Now my granddaughter Curlymop had the same problem. Her teeth are painted with something that is barely noticeable. I'm sure her permanent teeth will come in fine, too.)

My permanent teeth came in straight and white. And BIG.

Thus, my brothers called me Bucky Beaver. They may have only done that once, but when you are small and impressionable you remember it as if it was a daily occurrence.

The attention and comments that my huge new teeth drew caused me to be very self conscious. To the point that I didn't want to smile for photos or open my mouth around strangers. That ugly duckling feeling stayed with me through elementary school and into my early teens.

That changed one summer day when I was in a furniture store. We never bought furniture so I have no idea what I was doing there.

The salesman walked past me where I was leaning up against the counter and then stopped and turned back.

"Gee," he commented before he moved on, "You've got the prettiest smile I think I've ever seen!"

I must have smiled in response and disbelief.

"Yes, indeed - I just love a big white smile on a beautiful face." And then he went on about his business.

Why I believed him is a mystery. But, I did.

I smiled from that day forward.

When my mom passed away in 1993 I found the cup stashed away in one of her cupboards. It now sits by my husband's bronzed baby shoes in our china hutch.

And my smile sits on my face.


Beckie said…
And what a beautiful smile it is!

My brothers called by Bucky Beaver too. Brothers!
foam said…
what a wonderful story!
and what a great smile .. :)
why would you think the salesman lied?
ChrisB said…
That is a great story and you have a gorgeous smile.
LadyStyx said…
You do have a beautiful smile! I, unfortunately, have been cursed with the worst of both of my parents' smiles. Pretty smile, horrid teeth. *sigh*
Tiggerlane said…
You do have a pretty smile! And I had huge BUCK teeth when I got mine...and I was called "Bugs Bunny" by a kid in 3rd grade. It haunted me.

$3,000 worth of orthodontics later...and no one would no that my teeth used to cast a shadow on my bottom lip.
grammy said…
I still hide my smile. My teeth have mostly been fixed, but old habits die hard. I love the way my daughter just throws her head back and laughs... no worries about teeth. You have a great smile (o:
Loved the post about your Grandson. The whole texting, cell phone, computer thing is just crazy 9o:
wendy said…
I'm voting "heriditary" too.

Hannah's side of the family don't get adult teeth in one spot in their mouth. They have to hold onto their baby tooth or get an implant.

I LOVE your smile. You have a beautiful smile AND a beautiful face.

wendy said…
p.s. How goes the walking? I'm kinda stuck at 174.
Rayne said…
I can't believe you were ever self-conscious over your incredible smile! I would never have guessed. I loved your story.
12ontheinside said…
Great story as always - and you do have a gorgeous smile
Carla said…
That is so lovely. It really is. Glad you found your smile...and the cup.
Kaycie said…
One of my friends had four daughters. Two of her daughters had teeth that did that same thing and two of them didn't. Weird.

Your smile is lovely, and you were an adorable little girl. I can't believe that you weren't told how pretty you were all the time.
Shelby said…
I think your smile is perfect :)
Heather Plett said…
So glad you discovered your smile - it IS beautiful!
WT said…
And my girlfriend sits on mine.

(sorry, Pavlovian response)
and a beautiful smile it is.

Jennifer said…
That was sweet. My middle daughter has perfect teeth, never had to do braces, but she thinks she has a terrible smile. I need some random stranger to compliment her so she can start smiling too!!
MarmiteToasty said…
This is such a loverly story..... and Pam you are so pretty and that smile is just so infectious :) beautiful..

DesLily said…
great story Pam!.. love it and love that you still have your cup!
Jenni said…
What a great story! And you really do have a beautiful smile. I have always thought so from that little profile picture.

I have a similar story. I have a very large mouth, big teeth, and a slight overbite. One of my guy friends in high school took to calling me Mr. Ed. I really did think it was funny, and still do, but even before that I was self-concious about my smile. In many of the candid photos taken of me, I'm laughing, mouth wide, top teeth sticking way out. It's not very flattering, but apparently I look like that a lot. I've decided that it's okay, though. It only means I am a happy person who smiles and laughs a lot, and I try not to be too vain about what those pictures look like. Posting them online actually helps me get over myself:o)
Junebug said…
My daughter's baby molars were crumbly and the dentist put metal caps on them until the permanent came in and were fine. It just happens sometimes.

I remember the metal cups and bronzed baby shoes. My oldest brother has a pair.

I like your smile too!
Karmyn R said…
Now I know the story of the bronze cup!
Sandy said…
Brothers are wretched! Mine also called me bucky beaver. Then he gave that up and convinced me that I was illegitimate and adopted. Yeah.

Great smile!

My metal drinking utensil was a metal glass (I think from the Jewel Tea Company) and I remember the shocks, too.

M@ said…
Thank you for not posting about Michael Jackson.
Desert Songbird said…
Great smile, Pamela. Wear it proudly.
Irene said…
So that's the story behind your wonderful smile! Great one, Pam! :)
Moi said…
As everyone has said, yes, you have a wonderful smile! And I love that your mom kept the cup and you still have it!
Sabrina said…
What a great post! So well-told! You do have the greatest smile!! I've been rather self-conscious about mine as one of my front teeth (despite two rounds already with braces) seems determined to overlap it's neighbor. Sigh. My teeth are so close together--not sure how to fix this! (Hopefully Z and I won't have braces at the same time!!!)
Jettied said…
OOHH hat is so right!! you do have a beautiful smile!!!!!!!!! And you know what same thing with our said it's becuse she was born so early and medication and stuff....Her front teeth are hudge too!! wierd!!
(So glad you had a wonderful time!!I love get togathers!!)
Peter said…
Another winning post and a winning smile to go with it.
You are beautiful in every way.

Just like your smile.
lisaschaos said…
It's great that you still have your cup. I bet they did tell you to move it and you just didn't listen. :) I had horrible baby teeth too - I was told it was because of a medicine my mom took to prevent miscarriage - she had already one - but I seem to be the only one in my family so it must be true. :)

Beautiful smile!!
Debbie said…
What a great post. And you have a beautiful smile.

I notice the cup and shelf nicely dusted. I would have to have dusted mine in honour of the photograph.
dawn said…
I had tears well up. What a wonderful memory you shared and such a lovely cup. C has braces now and her days of being SpongeBob are behind her. Luckily she was older and it was a very short time to go through it. She took photos on my advice and within weeks when the gap closed she was thankful she took the photos. You do have lovely teeth and a beautiful smile.
Beautiful Smile and cup!
I loved your photo too, I love the old ones.. and this one has a great story ..which makes it really fun! :)
Robinella said…
It's funny how things stick with us as kids. My sister introduced me to a friend of hers recently and he said, "oh you are the one who calls her chicken legs".

I haven't called her that since she was in kindergarten but for some reason, it's a memory she still carries.

I'm glad you were in that furniture store not buying furniture. :o)

I've moved back to NASW.

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