This is my Saturday morning date outfit! I am going to see Maleficent and then to get ring sized because I supposedly have an important ring coming some time this year. 🙂
I used to think I would never get to go on an actual date. My mother considered the idea utterly ludicrous. I remember when I was a teenager, my younger brother L asked my mother, “What happens if somebody asks Kay out on a date?” To which my mother responded: “If some ‘BOY’ ” (it sounded like it was in quotation marks) “comes to us and says” (here she crossed her eyes and spoke in this utterly stupid-sounding, lisping voice) ” ‘I would like to take Kay to the zoo,’ then Daddy and I will say, ‘How about the whole FAMILY will go to the zoo.’ ” This prospect sounded so utterly humiliating that I hoped no “BOY” would ever ask me to go to the zoo.
Eventually, of course, the whole courtship thing started and that is EXACTLY how courtship goes except worse, but that’s not until later thank heavens. I believe we are still in 2001.
We got our first family computer this winter. Mom was afraid it would poison the air with radiation, so we set it up in the garage and if anyone wanted to use it, they had to go out to the garage and type in gloves. It was very cold. Eventually there was no more danger of radiation so we brought it inside. Then we threw out our microwave oven because that was also emitting harmful radiation.
During this winter we were totally in thrall to the Orcs. Since we couldn’t play with the other kids and we looked weird, we hung out with the Orcs, the Ents and the Balrogs (two other ultra-conservative families). We were exiled to the church “back room” where we all sat (families all together) on folding chairs during the service, separated from the actual congregation by a glass window. (I believe this room is called the “cry room.”) Our moms and dads had long disgruntled secret conversations about how much they hated the church. We were always the last ones to leave the building because our parents talked so much.
I wore the same red and pink wool sack dress pretty much every Sunday all year. On Easter Sunday Mom said we shouldn’t make a show of ourselves with new clothes so I wore it again on Easter.
The other church kids wouldn’t talk to me. They stood in a circle and turned their backs. I hung out all the time with Elizabeth and Katherine Orc and they did nothing but tell me how much better their house was, how much cooler their dollhouse was, and how holy they were. (They did have a cool house.) During this winter – I can pretty much pinpoint it – I went from being an outspoken, perky kid who could talk to anyone, to a really quiet, scared kid with a lot of social anxiety. I felt comfortable around my siblings but had trouble talking to anyone else.
I really wanted the Orcs to like me and I made Elizabeth Orc stuff for her dollhouse, almost obsessively. I think I brought her something every week. Sometimes they were things I would rather have kept and used for my own dollhouse, like a grill made from a plastic pizza prop. Elizabeth made me a pink canopy bed for one of my dolls once. She was an amazing seamstress and it made me jealous. I kept the bed for years and years.
The Orcs influenced us a lot. We started wearing dorky long jumpers like they did, and we adhered religiously to the Hallelujah Diet. For our end of school party that year, instead of cream puffs, we had salads with chick peas. (We could not have salad dressing on our salads because that was processed.) We ate beans beans beans and lentils lentils lentils. Mom made “burgers” out of carrot paste and lentil paste and chick pea paste. And “pizza” with no meat and no cheese. Every morning we had to drink a huge cup of “Barley Green” grass juice. For L’s birthday in July the party guests had sloppy joes with meat, but we had a special pot of just beans.
Dad did not participate in our diets. He ate hamburgers and Little Debbies and we found the wrappers later in the car. He also used to go to the grocery store a lot. He would be there for several hours and would come back with a bunch of bananas and a jug of water.
At some point during the summer I sprouted pubic hair and asked mom what was going on. She said it was probably all the “hormones” from the “meat I ate at the last Máhanaxar potluck.” I was mad at myself for causing this problem but it was too late now.
I was so hungry though. I used to scrounge in the bread cupboard for heels of bread because we seldom bought bread any more because it was “processed.” I used to get these intense horrible bread cravings. I also used to eat big spoonfuls of concentrated orange cheese powder out of the freezer – I forget why we had this.
I had flashbacks sometimes about the kind of food we used to eat when I was little. I remembered coming in from the cold to find Mom taking a big homemade pizza out of the oven, or eating BLTs on rainy days, or having a picnic with cold turkey lunch meat on pita bread. I wished I hadn’t taken it for granted back then. It seemed funny to think we used to eat that way.
In the spring, Frodo Baggins smiled at me. We were both playing in the church orchestra (that was an OK activity) and he smiled and said hi. I was just walking on air after the service. Then I went into a bathroom stall and asked myself sternly: “Are you ready to get married? No? Well then don’t you DARE get a crush on anybody.”
I got a real dollhouse at a yard sale that summer and moved my doll family out of their apartment. The house was pink with a green roof and it had actual stairs and a front door on hinges. The only problem was that it was extremely deep and dark, and I had only one light: a hurricane lamp keychain that ran on a button battery. I found a tiny string of Christmas lights that lit up and I couldn’t wait for it to be Christmas so I could make a tiny little tree.
To be continued!