Growing up in Miami, a fair-skinned strawberry blonde, I got many sunburns from days at the beach, pool, or lakes I spent most of my time at from spring until fall. Sunscreen wasn’t de rigeur in the 70s. Tans were in.
Most people who grew up in South Florida in the 70s and early 80s still remember the Coppertone billboard at what was colloquially known as Spaghetti Junction—that space where the Palmetto Expressway, US Route 441, State Road 9, Florida’s Turnpike, and I-95 all met. It was rumored that Jodie Foster was the model for the girl whose bikini bottom was being pulled down by a small black dog. The sign read “COPPERTONE Welcomes you to MIAMI.”
Some of my burns weren’t too bad, but many ended with me blistered or peeling. No matter my age, I couldn’t stop myself from picking at the edges of my skin. It became a game. The longer the strip I could pick, the better.