i remember it as if it were yesterday.
i was 17 soon to be 18.
i was a lowly freshman at the university.
i didn’t live at the dorms. it was cheaper to live at home.
so i rode my bike across town to campus and classes.
there was a certain young lieutenant who’d been waiting
to talk to me outside my classes as i unlocked my bike.
every single day!
we flirted and laughed and just mostly made small talk.
but then one day.
he asked me to the ROTC annual ball.
he was an upperclassman and it was in the first semester and it was
well . . . probably the most exciting thing that had happened to me yet!
i accepted. and raced home to announce the news.
i had saved up some money so mother and i went shopping for a dress
that weekend before the BIG EVENT.
those caps should tell you something right there.
AND ~ that you already know how i came to admire henry
as in ‘thoreau’ and how he felt about new clothes etc.
but. i was 17 and in a little ‘crush’
and good grief charlie brown.
you know the effect of the UNIFORM on silly girls.
this lady was my icon in those days.
i read everything i could get my hands on about her.
my hair was cut in the familiar pixie or gamin style
and i was tiny too ~ if indeed too short in stature ~
thanks to elizabeth arden and probably revlon
i achieved the big eyes.
but it’s that blend of elegance and lady part that i was still working on.
there is only ONE Audrey Hepburn.
always. always. best to be yourself old bean. LOL.
but. we’re getting to that.
my mother ~ always my best friend indeed ~
well . . . we went in search.
in search of the perfect ‘ little black dress.’
and we found it.
it was not exactly like this one below.
mine had tiny spaghetti straps and
a slim bodice that without the straps would have looked
that will not make sense at all if any men are reading this!
that’s okay. i’m sure you’re long gone by now.
more’s the pity. because it truly gets hilarious.
you should have stuck around.
undoubtedly wise advice.
though hotel rooms were the LAST thing on my mind.
i just wanted to get through this important formal evening
with a young officer almost 4 years my senior
without embarrassing either one of us!
not that i was a total clutz. but i was definitely
a work in progress . . . shall we say?
the perfect black dress was found.
little black strappy heels to add at least
one and a half inches to my height.
long black gloves.
small pearl earrings with a tiny diamond set just underneath each one.
my only jewelry.
the early evening of the BIG EVENT.
i raced home on my bike. hot. sweaty. it’s 5:30 for pete’s sake!!!!
my young lieutenant will be walking through that door at 7 sharp.
we must go through the receiving line first he’d told me.
that would take 45 minutes to an hour.
a large group of us to meet lots of the VIPs.
then dancing with the brass.
to a huge live orchestra.
~ only the ‘kids stay’ ~
and dance to a live rock n’ roll band.
common sense would tell you
no. it would SCREAM at you
“TAMMY ! NO ! NO ! THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME”
i never listen to common sense when ‘no sense’ is more common.
i don’t even know if they still make this.
i’m quite sure they must.
i have cut my own hair for the last 30 years. 30 years!!!!!
and i never color my hair of course.
good grief. where has the time gone!
so. i never set foot in a salon anymore. they probably aren’t even
called salons now. LOL.
at any rate. that is what i used that day.
at 5:45 that afternoon i decided my hair wasn’t dark enough.
i raced on my bike to the drugstore. good lord. yes. i did that.
i raced back.
i asked gram if i could ‘borrow’ the kitchen sink.
i went to the bathroom and put this
‘DARK RICH MINK’ rinse on my hair.
yes. i even remember the name of it.
can you imagine? dark rich mink.
so. i sacrificed one of mother’s towels to this project and ran
head wrapped to the kitchen sink to rinse the RINSE out.
now ~ all you ladies know. rinse in terms of hair dye means
it’s not a dye at all. it’s merely a rinse. which will rinse out.
i think the key in this is the word rinse. LOL.
you need to rinse well.
patiently. patiently. not hurriedly.
then i towel dried it with the other half of the ruined towel i’d already used.
actually. if you’re ahead of this little mystery.
which i’m sure you are . . .
that’s a rather important clue.
i hopped into the shower.
no need to even shampoo now!
i hopped out.
blow dry my ravishingly dark rich mink pixie and
carefully apply my eye makeup.
i look in the mirror.
LOVELY!!! JUST LOVELY!!!
so glad i rich minked my hair. i look like audrey’s little sister.
my gramma walked into the bathroom about the time i was
admiring myself in the mirror ~
pulling on my elbow length gloves ~
” pride goeth before a fall tammy ellen “
she quoted a bible scripture and she used my middle name.
the door bell rang.
and look who’s at the door!
there’s the handsome young lieutenant.
WOW! he’s prettier than i am!
a dear friend once commented on here that my life has been
full of truly attractive men.
darned if she wasn’t right on the mark.
i honestly don’t know how that happened either.
i am nothing that much to write home about.
perhaps because i never put looks of ‘anyone’ first in my mind . . .
but then i can ALWAYS find something attractive about anybody actually.
back to story.
we leave for the evening.
a smashing pair. off in the cool night air. to this
all went swimmingly.
finally the time for the rock n roll band.
we hit the dance floor.
things are loosening up for sure.
i had taken off the long gloves early on at dinner.
the band is HOT!
the room is HOT!
i don’t mean as hot is as ‘cool’ is today. or rather hot like the band.
what i mean is. it felt like it was 102 degrees in there!
38.88888 Celsius! for pete’s sake.
and trust me. at 17 years old i was not having a hot flash.
lots of body heat. lots and lots of people.
lots of gyrations going on on that overcrowded dance floor.
i had gone to the ladies’ room right before the r&r band started to play.
it has occurred to me since then
to question why i never went BACK to the
that would have been my saving grace.
but alas. i did not.
i was not delicately glowing.
heck. i was not even perspiring lightly like little ladies do.
i was sweating like a field hand at an august wheat harvest!
i reached up for the silver twirling ball lighting the dark room
HA. remember those? it only came on after the brass left.
i was trying to inadvertently smell my arm pits.
it worked. a new dance move. very sexy really.
ah. thank god. still fresh as a daisy.
too bad that’s the only thing that was fresh.
the room was fairly dark.
tell me. would you tell somebody if they had spinach on their teeth?
or something like that? that was . . . you know . . . embarrassing to see?
ah. i see. well just wondering.
i lightly touched my face. delicately swiping the moisture from my brows.
i felt little rivulets of sweat now streaming down my face
on the way home my lieutenant didn’t say too much.
the car was dark.
gramma left the yellow porch light on.
it’s lit up like a polish cathedral.
my lieutenant walked me to the front door.
~ very clumsily i thought ~
for a debonair young handsome lieutenant on a date
~ with Audrey Hepburn’s little sister ~
TO SHAKE MY HAND GOODNIGHT !!!
i shook his hand and thanked him for a wonderful evening.
he stood at parade rest while i unlocked the door and went in.
i went straight to the bathroom and didn’t even turn on the light.
I HAD TO PEE . . . SOOOOOO BADDDDDD !!!!
when i was through i switched on the light to begin to wash my hands.
far far worse than this.
her mascara has only run.
my mascara never ran a drop.
might as well have though.
it looked like that anyway.
my WHOLE HEAD had run ! ! !
ALL OVER MY FACE.
running from my forehead down the sides of my nose.
into both eyebrows. down my cheeks.
it was DARK RICH MINK running rampant
all over my little pale face!
i had smudged it especially well under my nose.
it looked remarkably like dark rich mink snot dried there.
i could not find a picture on google BAD enough to match the one i was
looking at in the bathroom mirror that night.
i just stood there.
something called ‘shock and awe.’
i started LAUGHING OUT LOUD.
i couldn’t hold it in. i laughed until i cried.
mother woke up. so did gramma.
i can’t remember if the marine did or not.
he was used to living with 3 crazy women.
probably he slept through it.
this is actually more like it.
picture THAT black all over me.
my throat where i’d swiped the sweat.
my cleavage that wasn’t much. since i weighed almost 105 lbs.
my mouth which looked like i’d been chewing on a dark rich mink
i learned that night about prophetic little grandmothers
and their astute bible verses.
i know you’re dying to know if he ever called me again.
or if he was waiting by my bike like he’d always done.
the answer is NOPE.
disappeared like a wisp of smoke in the autumn air.
now. if he’d been like my bob ~
we’d still be laughing about it and it would have been
one of our favorite memories.
some people just don’t know what’s important old bean!
til soon old bean!
if i ever see you with spinach on your teeth
i’ll tell you.