A Story From My Past

I can tell this story, now that my mother is dead. About the day I played hookie in the seventh grade. The players were me, my friend Deborah, her friend Pat, Pat’s boyfriend, John, and John’s deaf mother. Got it?

Deborah and I decide to leave the school grounds to go hang out at John’s house. John lived about eight doors down from the school. She said we were supposed to be meeting up with John and Pat there and that from there John would take us to the mall or to a movie. Anywhere but school.

So Deborah and I show up at John’s house and of course neither he nor Pat are there. So we walk up the gravel driveway to the back of the house, where there is (conveniently) a door directly to John’s room. We let ourselves in. (Remember, this is 1970-something; sometimes people just didn’t always lock their doors.)

So we’re in John’s room and we sit on his bed figuring he’d show up any minute. We start rifling through the books on his bookshelf, picking through the rest of the contents of his room, tell each other stories (much as the one I’m telling you now perhaps). Then after about 30 minutes of this, we sneak into the front of the house.

Remember, John’s mother is deaf as a post. She hears nothing. The trick was to keep from being seen. We tiptoe through the house, hugging the wall like the cat-burglars we think we are. We notice the old woman sitting in her rocking chair in the living room. It looks like she’s knitting or crocheting or something. We swiftly make it past her into the kitchen. I don’t remember what we ate, but I do remember we snitched something, cookies, cake, bread, or the like, and ran back into John’s room.

After munching our breakfast, Deborah decides that she’s got to go to the bathroom. So I stand watch outside the bathroom door while Deborah does her business. While I’m standing there, it occurs to me that my platform shoes are killing my feet. Absentmindedly, I took them off and stood in my stockinged feet wiggling my toes in relief. Suddenly, we hear the old woman stirring. Deborah comes out of the bathroom and we hightail it back to John’s room. We dive for his closet, not even knowing or caring what was in it, only hoping that there was room for two teenage girls in there.

I hear the old woman moving through the house and she’s headed our way. And then it hits me. She’s found my shoes out in the hallway. She comes barrelling into John’s room. We can practically hear her breathing (snorting is more like it) through the closet door. We hold our breaths. After eyeing the room carefully, the old woman leaves. I don’t to this day know what happened to my shoes. The next thing I remember was hauling ass down the driveway to the street, and then sneaking back into school, shoeless. And having to walk around that way the rest of the day.

I don’t even remember what bullshit story I told anyone that day. But I sure did like those shoes. Because, ladies, as you all know, the attractiveness of the shoe is inversely proportionate to the amount of pain said shoe causes its wearer! And those were some mightyfine (myteefine, do you hear me?!) shoes. They were huge platforms, with cork bottoms and red bandana cloth across the vamp.

As for the rest of the ensemble, I was wearing my prairie print/floral granny dress, wire rimmed glasses and sporting the latest (this was the 70s, remember) “angel” haircut, which was achieved by rolling very wet (not just damp, but wet) hair around pipe cleaners and taking the pipecleaners out only when the hair was bone dry. What a vamp; what a tramp!

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