Nobody ever said she was a pretty baby, except for . . . well, the truth is, nobody ever said she was a pretty baby. She was born with a 'Port Wine Stain' on the right side of her face that started at her hairline and split her face almost evenly down the bridge of her nose, through the cleft of her upper lip and about a quarter of an inch below her bottom lip and extended itself over to her ear, marking half of the lobe. She wasn't just afflicted with the stain, but she had the form that caused the skin to be distended and puffy.
Her face on the other half was covered liberally with freckles, large ones that went with her carrot red hair. It didn't matter what clothes she wore, because her face and hair already clashed. She could wear polka-dots, stripes, and plaid and no one would notice. Her right eye was a pale blue, and her left eye was brown.
The teasing and abuse started her first day in Kindergarten, when her teacher looked at her in shock as she walked in the door holding tightly to her mother's hand. The teacher in fairness didn't mean to be unkind. She was just taken aback at the sight of the little girl. The children in the class, though, could not offer that excuse. "Why do you have a funny face?" queried one girl, and she was the kind one. Funny Face went home when Kindergarten let out at noon and cried herself to sleep without even eating her lunch.
The second day was no better than was the first, except the teacher, being better prepared did not react when she walked through the door, this time because her mother was holding tightly to her hand. When the children laid mats on the floor for naptime no one wanted their mats to be next to hers. Funny Face curled up in a ball and covered her head with her blankie so no one could see her cry. It didn't stop the sound, though.
In October the children were all supposed to dress up in their Halloween costumes, and the excited children were all talking about what their costumes were going to be. Janice ruined it though when she pointed at Funny Face and said, "She doesn't need a mask. She already has a funny face." The other children laughed until the teacher made them stop.
In January it was too cold for the children to play outside, so the teacher had them playing some games in their classroom. When they started playing 'I Spy', Janice, who already was showing signs of being an uppity, snotty, arrogant priss, said, "I spy something red, and purple, and spotted."
"Funny Face," several of the children cried out, and then argued over who said it first.
At the end of the year for the Kindergarten class program the class put on a circus. Janice, of course, wore a tutu and was a "tightrope walker", actually a chalk line on the floor, some of the boys were "strong men", one was a "lion tamer" with other children as "lions." Funny Face was, . . . . . . a clown.
It was in the Fourth Grade that Janice, seemingly working hard to perfect her role as a royal pain in one's nether regions, commented loudly in the cafeteria that Funny Face always clashed, that she couldn't even get her hair and face to go together, let alone her clothes. Funny Face went home that day and got her mother's sewing scissors from the sewing drawer and locking herself in the bathroom cut off her hair as closely to her head as she could, leaving tufts of hair here and there on her head. Needless to say, her mother was not pleased.
It would be several months before Funny Face's hair grew back out to a manageable length, leaving Janice opportunity to find new ways of mocking her. The favorite seemed to be "the Carrot Chia Pet".
It was in the Sixth Grade that Funny Face heard her mother talk about another lady bleaching her hair, so she decided she was going to do it also. She took a bottle of chlorine bleach from the laundry and held her head over the bathtub and tried to pour the bleach onto her head. Her mother heard her screams when bleach got into her eyes and ran into the bathroom. She was horrified, but did what she could to get the bleach out of her hair and flushed her eyes. Funny Face couldn't open her eyes for the pain, so her mother rushed her to the emergency room, where the Dr. immediately saw her and irrigated her eyes. He gave her some salve for her eyes, to use for two weeks, hoping they would heal and no damage would result. He also gave some other salve to apply to the blisters on her scalp.
Funny Face was not able to brush or comb her hair for two weeks due to the pain from the blistered scalp, and her hair, normally frizzy anyway was very brittle and unmanageable from the damage. Her eyes were red and runny for several weeks, but fortunately, she didn't lose her sight.
It was in Seventh Grade that Funny Face hit puberty before any of the other girls. Her chest started to blossom, and by the end of the year had bloomed! Funny Face developed DD breasts, but unusually, hers weren't saggy or droopy, but stood out proudly. She was totally embarrassed by them, especially when Janice referred to her as a cow. A couple of the boys told her to lie down on the floor so they could go mountain climbing. One would think a development like this would be a redeeming feature for her, but due to being first, and already being different this too jumped up to bite her.
Funny Face started taking in stray pets. She had a cat with one eye, and a dog that had been hit by a car and lost a leg. It seemed every time a stray animal was around it ended up at Funny Face's house. She would take in sick or injured animals and nurse them back to health. It was not unusual for her to have as many as a dozen sick or injured creatures in the shed in her back yard. She would patiently tend them until they were well again and then turn them loose. Those that didn't make it she would bury solemnly in the back corner of their property.
Music became a very powerful part of her life also. She studied piano from the time she was four years old, and by the time she was in high school she was a very accomplished pianist, but she kept it all to herself, spending hour after hour pouring out her pain on the piano.
By the time she was a Sophomore she had grown to her full height of 5'6", and had developed a figure of 38DD-26-36. If you think this is where the ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan, you are wrong. Funny Face started riding a motorcycle as soon as she got her license. She wore a one-piece leather riding outfit that was nearly a second skin, and a full face helmet. When she would get off her bike at a store and walk in every man would turn and look until she removed her helmet. Then everything would get very quiet as they turned back to what they were doing.
It was in her Senior year at Prom time when nominations were going in for Prom Queen. Bobby Jenson yelled out, "Funny Face!" Of course, everyone laughed. Bobby turned to his friends, and not very quietly said, "Why not? With a body like that I'd wrap her head in the flag and go for Old Glory!" The boys all laughed, but not Funny Face.
I don't believe she ever had a friend going through school. I know she never had a date, or even had a guy ask her out. When she sat at a table in the cafeteria no one else sat at the same table. She poured her life into her animals and music.
Fast forward fifteen years. When the invitations went out for the class 15 year anniversary no one expected Funny Face to appear. Janice, who was class secretary, was surprised to receive an RSVP from Funny Face before any others. The reunion was held in a large rather swank banquet hall in town, with a nice dinner, and a live band to play for dancing. Funny Face waited until fashionably late was almost over before she walked in the door. Her Carrot Top hair had darkened into a deep auburn as often happens with red hair, and it flowed down midway down her back, where it accented very nicely her midnight blue formal evening gown. She was on the arm of a tall dignified gentleman wearing an impeccable tuxedo and a top hat. He also had a white cane in his hand and dark glasses on his face.
Funny Face led her escort into the banquet hall and found their seats at the front of the room. Janice was up to her old tricks of trying to make a spectacle of her again, but it didn't work. The dinner went very nicely, and in spite of her escort's obvious handicap he managed to enjoy his dinner without dropping anything on his lap. When dinner was over and the band began to play Funny Face and her escort sat and listened to the music as some of the class rose to dance. It was not until the fifth number on the program that the band leader stepped to the microphone to introduce the next number. It was a Grammy Award winning piece for piano and orchestrated for the band for that evening. Everyone was silent when he said the piece had been written and orchestrated by a member of the class, Dr. Funny Face, DVM. I was a proud as I could be as I stood to my feet, folded my cane and set it down beside my plate, took off my dark glasses, and escorted the most beautiful woman in the world, who just happens to have a Port Wine Stain, to the dance floor, my Funny Face.
Oh, and Janice? She is that frumpy looking overweight woman married to that prematurely bald guy with the beer gut, Bobby Jenson. As the old saying goes, "Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone."
With apologies to Donna Fargo.