1981 High School Graduation To 1991 Early Marriage

by Sherry Riter in Family,Sherry

Once upon a time there lived an extremely shy and introverted girl with short red hair who loved learning, but simply did not fit in with other teenagers. Back then, she dreamed of being a petite blonde with golden bronzed skin and big blue eyes who got the attention of boys.

Does that sound familiar? Yes, I wanted to look like my daughter when she graduated from high school. Alyssa looked so glamorous, classy and totally beautiful. Of course, my mother will say, “You were so beautiful!” but we all know how biased mothers can be and even somewhat blind.

1981 High School Graduation

There were not a lot of redheads in my schools as I was growing up. I was picked on mercilessly which only increased the self-loathing of my appearance. The only features I actually liked was my neck, earlobes and hands. Um…yeah…I know that is a weird combination. Let’s just keep moving, shall we?.

While in high school, I rarely attended football games and I did not attend any dances or proms. While changing classes, I hugged the wall of the hallways and never made eye contact with anyone. I basically spoke when I was spoken to and only answered questions in class when asked directly by the teacher. Dating was also something that didn’t happen for me during high school and I thought that I would surely never marry.

Eventually high school ended and I started college. I also decided that I would grow my hair long and wear makeup. Something about being away from the confinement and peer pressure of the high school environment helped my personality to develop into an outgoing, friendly and confident woman. During this time I also embraced my red hair and green eyes since I realized that just because I was different, it didn’t mean it was a bad thing.


By the time I had been married a few years to my first husband, I had blossomed into a totally different person. The days of hugging the hallway and no eye contact were but a distant memory replaced by confidence, firm handshakes and hugs.

1991 1st marriage

What exactly is the point of this post?

Actually, this is really for Alyssa.

Yes, Alyssa. I’m talking specifically to you now.

I know that you graduated from high school less than a year ago, but it really wasn’t that long ago that I also did the same thing. The photos above show a ten year span of time and look at the difference in my appearance and personality, but also notice that some things did not change.

I am still a redhead with green eyes who is almost 5 foot 9 inches tall and still loves learning new things and writing. My heart is also the same. I just want to love and be loved back which I thought would be an easy thing, but have since discovered that getting the love back is a bit more difficult than anticipated.

You and your life will also change dramatically over the next ten years, but several things will remain constant…

I will always be here for you and my love will grow stronger each day.

Remember the things you have learned.

Believe in yourself. You are a strong and talented young woman with a huge heart. Don’t lose yourself along the way while you love others and help them through their journey in life.

When you think you just can’t make it one more minute, remember that I was once in the same place and I pulled myself up. You are the best of me and your father. The future is filled with opportunities for you and I know you will be a success and will also blossom into an even more confident and successful woman than you can now imagine.

I love you Alyssa.


The Redhead Riter


This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carolyn January 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Beautiful… the sentiment AND the woman.


2 Skip_D January 21, 2012 at 3:30 am

Like fine sherry, you continue getting better and better.


3 Stéfan January 21, 2012 at 5:10 am

We are always so self-critical. You have always looked mighty fine, with short or long hair. You are you; just perfect as you are.


4 TJ January 21, 2012 at 5:20 am

I think you were beautiful!!!! How many can be so with out a stitch of make up.

You were just as beautiful as your daughter, and one of the best daughters a mom could ever have. You never brought me a minute of worry or heartache or disappointment!!! I love you and always, and Alyssa I love you as I do your mother. You are so blessed to have a family who loves you so very much, especially a wonderful mom and a loving Nanny,lol



5 Katherines Corner January 21, 2012 at 6:46 am

I enjoyed the photos and this love post it's like a love note to your daughter. Smooches and hugs and wishes for a beautiful weekend xo


6 PJ January 21, 2012 at 8:42 am

Hi Red! You made me cry! LOL! That was beautiful! I wish I had had someone to tell me those things while growing up. I instead was like you. Not necessarily shy, because what friend's (which were the unpopular, background kind of kids, I was outgoing with) but very insecure around anyone else. I was I guess you would say average in looks, nothing different, but my insecurity came from "not having money to buy nice clothes, and having an unorthodox family situation for "back then". I was constantly looked down on and made fun of. Mom was divorced and had to work all the time until she got sick, then she "took in a boarder, who was a gentleman" Needless to say, back then, that was a definite no-no, even though there was no "contact between them. I didn't know what to say when my peers came over about this "living arrangement" so I just stopped letting people come to my house, which made my peer life even worse. Anyway, my point is I understand how you felt during your high school days and I admire you for your tenacity to blossom. Believe it or not, after 40 years, I'm still working on it.

Alyssa, you are ONE LUCKY GIRL.

Love ya Bunches,


7 PJ January 21, 2012 at 8:45 am

Hey Red! By the way, I also wanted to comment that I think you "were" and are a beautiful girl and woman. The bright red hair is soooo special.

God Bless,


8 ak January 21, 2012 at 9:03 am

Nice, kind, touching…I feel lucky to have made such a genuine friend.


9 Joan January 21, 2012 at 11:31 am

"Once upon a time there lived an extremely shy and introverted girl with short red hair who loved learning, but simply did not fit in with other teenagers." I believe you when you say that you did not fit in. However, many teenagers secretly feel that they do not fit in. It is part of being a teenager and feeling awkward and insecure about yourself, but luckily most teenagers grow up, start maturing, and get a sense of themselves and their place in the world.

Your mother was right! She was not blind or bias when she said you were beautiful. Your pictures show that you were beautiful, even though you might not have thought so. Your red hair that you thought made you different was beautiful and your crowning glory! Too bad that kids can be so cruel at that age and they teased you — but maybe they were secretly envious of you. Did that ever cross your mind? No, I didn't think so! :o)

You were beautiful and smart then, and you are beautiful and smart now. More importantly, those years that made you feel like such an outsider, helped you to become the compassionate and loving woman that you are today. Where are all those kids today who taunted you and made your life miserable? I am willing to bet that not one of them writes a blog that over one hundred thousand people a month read!

I loved this very heartfelt post and I loved seeing your beautiful pictures! :o)


10 mollydcampbell January 21, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Bravo to you! I think you are gorgeous.


11 menopausal mama January 22, 2012 at 6:54 am

I love this post and the pictures are great—reminds me of my own times back then. Beautiful blog post!


12 Mandy January 22, 2012 at 10:56 am

Great message to send to your daughter. Loved reading this!


13 Philip Bond April 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I second the above accolades.


14 Sherry Riter April 8, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Thank you Philip!


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