Posts tagged ‘old maid’
March 25, 2010
I apologize for what I am about to say, specifically about my Sunday School teacher, Miss Cummings, and also my dad’s older sister, Lenore. What did they do? Frighten me half to death, that’s what. My mother tried convincing me that they were God’s perfect children, that I needed to love them, see them as God did, but it was hard. Sure they were sweet, but they were single women in a married world. That’s how it was with old maids. There was always a defect there, some flaw that made them unpopular with the opposite sex and scary to children.
Like most girls born in the fifties, my sisters and I were raised to be wives: We had the right moral instruction, good education, proper training in etiquette and ballroom dancing and stylish clothes from New York City department stores. Even the toys I got for Christmas provided perfect training for future wedded bliss: an E-Z Bake oven, a little Hostess Buffet and miniature percolator that made real coffee. Read more
February 14, 2010
Everybody loved me growing up. That’s how it was. We may have been five girls and five girls was too many; we may have been poor compared to the millionaires next door, but where love was concerned, we had an embarrassment of wealth.
My sisters loved me, and so did my teachers and Sunday School teachers. My grandparents did, too, and my dad—he loved us, all five of us, to pieces. That’s what he used to say all the time, in different ways, of course. Sometimes, he said it while imposing rules (no TV on school nights). Sometimes he said it by taking us on some very creative adventures (for breakfast, to Jones Beach, at sunrise, for example. He kept a frying pan in the trunk of the car. We’d find an isolated sand dune; he’d build a fire and make eggs and bacon. After we finished, he scoured the pan with sand and threw it back in the trunk. Read more
November 28, 2009
I was born under a curse, the kind you find in fairytales. It goes like this: First my parents had a girl. Then, two years later, they had another girl. The next baby — was a girl. After her came another baby — a girl. And then my mother, Adelaide, Wellesley girl, did something very unusual for her, not being Catholic: she threw away her diaphragm. Two years later, I came along, on a hot August day, a Friday, at 4 pm.
This was the day that my dad had an epiphany. “Honey,” he said, taking me out of my mother’s arms right there in the Glen Cove hospital, “This one’s mine.”
He named me Vickery. Vickery Ames. It was a strange name, to be sure. “Like Hickory Dickory?” people like to tease. “Yeah,” I always answer, “something like that.” Read more
November 21, 2009
Dear Fellow Spinster:
Here’s a little tale, not about how George and Laura Bush invited me to take an outdoor shower (more on that later) but a real story, the one I’ve been building into a memoir for the last three years: about how a tall blond WASP, Latino-lover and one-time girlfriend to a mountain-climbing, motorcycle-riding Italian photographer became an ex-girlfriend, a solitary Sunday School teacher and librarian in a Christian Science Reading Room, of all places. From Latino-loving biker chick to head librarian. How does that happen?
I have come up with seven possible explanations for this strange trajectory into spinsterhood: varnish, the US Navy, the Sons of Hercules, Cosmopolitan, horses, being raised in a religion most people find weirdly suspect, and John Gotti. Read more