I met my best friend Barbara on the public bus that stopped
near our high school. Her parents owned a new home a five minute walk from our own similar two level house. Richmond
was an area with heavy winter flooding, so we lived mostly on the upper floors of these buildings.
like to think we were sisters in another life, because our friendship was calm, pleasant, and easy going from the start. I
just always felt I could be myself with her. We could sit for hours, without saying much, sharing homework, or perusing fashion
What drew us together?
Barba's father was a war veteran with
a serious ddrinking problem, percisely, an alcoholic. My dad was quite promiscuous, a handomse man who broke my mother's heart.
We were devoted to our mothers. Barbara's mom, Betty, was like an aunt to me, with a colorful history of her own.
wardrobe was full of the pretty dresses my ownmom liked, full skirted dreses with tight bodices to show off breast lines,
high heeled shoes, bits of fur on cuff and collars. Betty too like May used expensive cosmetics and beauty aids.
through the bathroom drawers, we discvovered our first cellulite roller, these look exactly like rolling pins for cookies
and pastries, except with hundreds of rubble needles tr press out excessive fat. Betty also introduced me to Clairol
Condition, the best hair condition, that came in a large white cylindrical jar.
I liked Glamour Magazine for clothes
and hair styles, Barbara liked Mademoiselle, a little more sophisticated.
And of course, we liked boys, and had crushes on them.
Barbara comlaind about the strictness of the instructions she had received a Catholic girls" school, a place that
may have had the name Little Flower somewhere in it.
ow we were free to go to Ingledew's inthe Oakridge Shopping Mall, looking
for matching shoes and leather bags on sale. Or down to Sears at the Richmond Shopping Centre, where we saved money by buying
home sewing patterns, and choosing fabrics of blue velveteen, or brown wide wale corduroy, or pale green cotton sprigged with
tiny white flowers.
We talked about boys, cosmetics, clothes, God, our parents, though not
in that order. We were Good Girls, which meant we abstained from Sex, though we certainly wondered who was not a Good Girl.
We did not need to use those words, as peopel just knew.
Kids did stupid things then. For example,
if we liked a boy, we called his house, just to hear his voice, giggled, and then hung up the phone. This was not stalking,
as our interests changed too quickly.
Two brothers who liked us once followed us with their father's car, and
this was not really stalking, as they seemed too shy to approach us, and we knew they were harmless.
never had one date, the year that we were fifteen. We never had one date, the next year. Finally, around the time of
our graduation, we began to date. I closed off my high school years by dating a very popular boy, who had heard of my family's
orblems, through gossip spread by a nurse at the local hospital.
This first romance broke up, as after
months of dating, I did not want to have full sex with him. He really loved me, but I was too dumb to figure that out. Several
years later, I passed Doug on the escalator at our local Bay Department Store, and we talked in a warm and forgiving way.
endless beauty magazines Barbara and I bought taught us quickly how to appeal to men on the outside, we would need to live
a lot longer in the real world to learn any truly useful tips concerning the uncertainties of the male-female relationship.