Back in May before I started my Tour de Asia, I moved out of my NYC apartment. Actually, I moved out of NYC altogether. For the first time in nearly 6 years, I have no real address in the city listed under my name! Bizarre.
Anyways, since I was going to be gallivanting across the globe, I stashed most of my belongings at my parents’ house on Long Island. Now I’ve returned and am going through my apartment items as well as cleaning through my past. My childhood and adolescent memories are all here in this house.
I came across a t-shirt that I made when I was in 1st or 2nd grade. It was at a t-shirt making birthday party for Danielle M, who was my best friend in elementary school and who lived a few blocks away from me growing up. I remember all of us sitting around her patio table armed in our smocks and with our fabric squeeze paints. Most of the girls were drawing dogs and cats on their plain white tees or writing their names across the chest and adding embellishments of crowns and flowers. One girl, I still remember, wrote “princess” on her shirt, which I think made even my seven-year-old self cringe a bit.
I also remember thinking that if I were going to make a t-shirt, it was going to be a meaningful one (as if it were a tattoo or something, ha). One that I would wear proudly even when I was in 3rd or 4th grade! I’m not sure why I thought this since my mom and I did t-shirt painting rather frequently when I was a child. But I remember thinking really hard about what I wanted to put on my shirt because I ended up being the last girl to start her shirt and finish too. I was still at the table carefully squeezing my paint tubes while most of the girls were on the swings playing. And when Danielle’s mom came around to check on me, I remember her reaction. She expressed something along the lines of the design being an interesting choice or being different — I can’t quite remember — and then, I remember distinctly, she kind of bent down, squeezed my shoulders, laughed, and said, “Oh, Gabbie Tang, you are a special child.”
Thank you, Mrs. M, I was and still am, I think.
I don’t think I ever ended up wearing it outside of gym class because I didn’t feel that I had time to really decorate it properly (and as an aspiring artist, I couldn’t possibly display an art piece that was unfinished or didn’t adequately represent me as an artist!). But I kept it and I’m glad I did! Seven-year-old Gabbie had ambitions that I hope present-to-future Gabbie can fulfill one day, haha.
(Brian just said to me, “Oh, Gabbie Tang, some things never change.”)