As a young teenage girl, I always enjoyed Saturday mornings
travelling on the buses with my girlfriends to the inner dream city. By
way of downtown all roads lead to wonderful mini-adventures of the teenage kind. As
usual, we would usually agree to going downtown, there was not too much else
for girls to do in the halcyon days of 1969.
Unless parents could afford the many lessons; either piano, horseback riding
lessons, girl guides, etc., there
would be little in the way of extracurricular activity for girls. Boys always
had first dibs on life, back then, and usually had
their sacred hockey cult a prelude to the later years "good old boys club". The near
obsessive focus on boys' sport activity iften eclipsed girls fun and games. Boys
always had first choice, they were more valued.
I was suppose to be a boy, but this
did not happen. After two girls, the third girl was a disappointment No one to carry
the nametag on the malebag; supremacy and priviledge the tagwords to priviledge and
the open door and the executive washroom key. My parents
undoubtably loved me, but I was just was not the epitome of blue ribboned trophy
face it, my parents admitted wanting a baseball team; in otherwords; boys, boys,
All my life, I felt a disappointment, especially to my dad. Although for the first
eight years of my life I did assume a psuedo-boy tomboy position. Although not a
rough and toughbruiser type tomboy, I could appreciate the manly realm of
wearing unisex clothes with butch boy hair, and seeing life through a male
perspective. This way of thinking came more naturally to me, and I identified
with leadership rather than a subservient position in life.
Climbing trees, biking wherever I wanted to go, freedoms not
often afforded girls, I did not see value in the nonadventurous lifestyle of women
typecasting. I felt I was a unique individual absolutely with as much autonomy and
personal power as any pedestalled male bastion of powerism.
I had a good relationship with my father, and we were
buddies, until age eight. After eight I was caught drinking rye under the table at a
summer adult party. After the catcher in the rye incident my father seemed to view
me with total disdain. This rye faux pas did not seem to be a just cause for the
complete emotional isolation my father would soon bestow upon my relationship.
Friction would now rule our relationship, no more buddy buddies. My childhood was
officially over and I had to reinvent myself to find the favour I had lost in the
process of wanting to grow up too fast in an ever-accelerating boomtown world.
Many years later I would see stiking similiarities between my father's relationship
with me and the Jane and Henry Fonda movie On Golden Pond. The obvious angst and
strain between the father-daughter relationship a mirror-image of my relationship
with my father.
Girls rarely figured into the power equation back. Girls were, unfortunately second
class citizen and boys never made us forget our limited value in society.
Girls were taught systemically to be persons non grata, non-people. Girls did not
talk about it, they were too busy beginning the women's war on sexual discrimination
department It was systemic
proseltizing and chattelizing of women by men, ingrained.
Women were either Eve or Mary Magdelene, no inbetween. There would be no way I was
going to be described in this way or feel in anyway boxed-in, closed-ended
description of who and what I was and what I could or could not become, I refused to
believe I was a person of a lesser god. Thank, God!
Girls were to be "seen and not heard", or "pregnant, barefoot, and in the
Discretion the better of valor, women did not dare speak their mind until the
sixties peace revolution brought on by the hippy movement.
Women did not play the same
ballgame as men, the glass ceiling was not broken, and is still not, and the pink
collar ghetto was a day to day reality.
The initial rumbling of womens' universal sufferage and discontent moved towards a
fullblown bra burner agenda. Years in the making, with much fanfare women began to
be noticed and demand equal rights on all levels of society.
Making waves the new feminist books of Gloria Steinem and Betty Freidan The Female
Eunich enlightened me as to the way men viewed women; more than an eyeopener, a
These books were definitely instrumental in forming a new Jane mindset.
In the late sixties my sister gave me this book to read. I was thirteen.
Realizing my worth as a citizen of the world and a woman of worth was often
compromised by the male mindset stuck in the cement. Women would soon storm these
artificial ramparts. Bombardment of these walls and their final collapsed yet to be,
the power switch is changing in favour of seeing women as actual people instead of
simply wives, mothers and secretaries, the old sterotypes die hard.
The feminist malestrom of the power usurpership of which I speak was hardly
understood in the complexity it presented to women.It would be a huge undertaking, a
complete reworking of the intrinsic mechanisms of the human psyche. How to overcome
the ingrained prejudices which had taking up residence in the essence of man, the
gene core of our dna. Much tweaking would need to be incorporated for the removal of
the poisonous concepts created by male thinking.
Like curing cancer, women sufferage needed to be attacked with all our resources if
women were to survive "and make love" . This is how power stays in the powermonger
control; nobody knows what the other hand is doing. Deliberate sabotage of any
usurpers, women included would conceal the bitter pill of truth. Women were being
cheated of their rightful place in society. Determined to squash the tide of women's
complacent attitudes towards their underdog plight in the world of men's domain
only. Determined that I would challenge the system's status quo one
day and make positive changes so that good things would happen for women
A revolution of one could work. As a thirteen year old girl I was mightily advanced
in my political thinking. The feminist movement of the mid sixties 1960's had
sparked my own feelings of being the unwanted girl child instead of the much
covetted male model of the year. I had a reason to push for change, I was living the
pain of knowing that if I were a boy I would be far more valued. It was my turn to
right the wrongs and to return society's opinion of women into something honourable
and enduring, many ancient cultures honoured women highly, why not our society in
It would be a very rare day with two blue moons in June when women would be able to
actually entire the men's club in my town. It took a woman mayor to give all women a
feeling that equality was not only possible, but probablel Great the day when girls
could take back the night and the ownership of the good old boys icerink from what I
saw as the many brutal and nasty plain dirty and stinky boy hockey players; all
beastly boys with mean dogfaces and sticky hands.
For me to ever get a chance to skate, I would have to go into the far backwoods of
the back forty behind our house. Even then, boys would be there usually and would do
their usual coveting of the skating rink acting like it was a possession. Who would
argue with a boy? No woman would dare question a man's leadership role, until today.
Where were Donna or Sue when I needed them. These were brave girls who made
it their habit of standing up to bullying men and would victoriously win. Donna and
Sue had brothers and knew instinctively how to handle a stick. They were, in other
words, good hockey players and amazing women. I admired them greatly.
When I would find the much needed energy and stamina to get up earlier enough to put
on my sister's old skates at the house and walk the quarter mile through the woods
to the skating pond. My feet often frozen by the time I reached my destination.
There would be the simple yet lusciously joyous moments before the boys arrived to
ruin the moment.
The rare warblers songs were like angel voices in the freshly fallen snow. I could
practice my skating skills and strengthen my weak ankles.
Up until then I had been skating mainly backwards, as this was much easier for me to
do for some unknown reason. Probably the brake cleats were hard to maneuvre or
obvious lack of practise time, thanks to the boys of the ice. Those cold-hearted
boys that ruled the ice rink. One day I would reclaim my dignity and be powerful
Skating backwards I preformed with much more precision than forward figureskating.
Boys would always be lurking around trees, coming up the path, loudly cursing and
being the jerks that they usually were at this age. Once they spotted me they would
make some cruel joke about my height and continue to ignore me as a person. The boys
would often play hockey long into the evening. The sun was
setting across the back woodlot before they decided to leave the rink and go home.
go Home, go home, I couldn't wait to get in at least a few minutes when the boys
went home. Maybe I did not like these boys because they were rude and they never
once asked me if I would like to play hockey with them. I did not like feeling
Boys were, to my adolescent mind, strange creatures. I had no idea why God would
make such mean and heartless beings.
I must say I did belong for a time to my sister's boy haters club. It was grand to
have a campaign to rally in defence of the female intrinsic perfection and women
power. It takes time to make positive changes, and I had the power to wait for the
day when I would not be treated so poorly by men in general.
Ah Spring! Spring would bring out the freshly painted and maintained bikes. This
refreshingly new season mode of transportation did allow for a wider range of
recreational activities than the winter could provide. Enjoyed by all were the long
distance bike trails on the bank of the River. Of course, swimming my favourite
The forested city bus would take a circulatous route around town and travel along
the banks of many meandering river. The scenic route, where fairy tale seemed real
and dreamland landscapes, with fairy nymphs and elfin trolls existing behind every
dusty old elm or mighy oak tree. Fantasy could be imagined here.
The Deer River would twist and turn to the big downtown of the central
Ontario Canada town of mild mannered doctors, a sleepy University town of
conservative persuasion. Old money denizens built the limestones towers of the
Harvard styled University.
There were many scenic spots and idyllic and idle, languid and longingly romantic.
Wonderful place to raise children and grow into adulthood. I did not want to
ever leave my hometown, yet times changed and my world evolved into new vistas, far
removed from my comfort zone of the same routine. No matter where we live we always
think that somewhere the pasture will be greener in the next town. It never usually
is better than the loving start we received from loving parents.
greener pastures. Always an adventurer at heart, I did appreciate the
venture of the new and more verdent pastures and the journey ahead.
When the bus finally arrived at the center of it all; downtown. At least to me, it
was my raison d'etre, my existence, my reality, my being. Way back then, in a town
of approximately 200,000 people, most friendly and sedate. This was my home town. It
was where I grew up.
It was really all I knew, back then, and looking back now, a whole other
lifetime ago, paradise found.
There would be much more window shopping than purchasing this Saturday with
lots of browsing and looking around in Department stores like Simpsons,
Eatons, Metropolitan, Kresge, Woolworths.
Destinations in the downtown core were strategically planned for a week
during the school recess.
My two best friends, Christine and Julie would for many years be my steady and
trusty companions; steadfast when times were tough and we always shared lots of
laughs and good times.
Like Canadian Georgie Girls, we were pixy like; unfinished girls chaning into women.
We had high hopes for the unfolding future and the greatest of expectations. The
world was our oyster-shelled makeup bag full commercialized consumer products with
an endless supply of beauty products to buy. Playing dress up women was fun and let
us sample the women we were to become. It was a bittersweet time. Looking back now
at my innocence, I begin to tear with much sentiment.
Life would kickstart my propulsion into womanhood and boot my image of staid reality
during this psychedelic age. Later I would become overwhelmed by the overstimulation
of an overactive imagination, coupled with excessive montony of the everday world.
If I had my choice, I would prefer to live in a fantasy world, the real world was
far too harsh and distastefully too bitter a reality. Girls could dream, and I loved
to dream of the perfect life in the perfect world of my mind.
All week, we would anxiously discuss what we would do, who we would meet, and what
little trinkets we could afford or more likely not afford and have to continue
saving pennies from our piggy banks.
Sometimes we would pool our small change for a good time had by all and go roller
skating. That was a riot, although rare as the roller rink was all the way across
town. Sometimes we would 5 pin bowl, or go to concerts or the western styled fall
Life was indeed idealized at age thirteen. Our world was a
microcosm of all the dreams and ideals of "yet to comes".
We were very naive, with saucers for eyes and dreams as big
as the sky.
The half hour trip went by all too quickly as I found it pleasurable to chitchat
with my girlfriends. On the buses I could look out the window at the beautiful
scenery of my beautiful town.
It was about ten o'clock in the morning. The city sunrise awakened to a new day. The
smell of coffee and toasted danishes emanating from Lewis Bakery. The many
serendipitous stuffed boutiques were intriguingly exotic in the 60's culture.
Smells of cinnamon buns and friendly Greek restauranteurs smiling and waving to us.
Shopkeepers would open their doors to let in the sunshine.
There were many new scents of newly bloomed white
hyacinth flowers sprinkling on the fresh breezes with subtle energies waking our
souls to the promise of spring.
After we had hurriedly exited the rear of the hot and smelly bus, you could
hear the pneumatic doors close shut as we would leap carefree from the
back of the city bus like young antelopes.
The world was without adults' grating gravity and weightiness on Saturday mornings.
We could let go of the henpecking of the many adults who were always telling us what
to do and how to do it. It was so good to feel adult free for a few hours, and
experience the adult world on our own.
Giggling and commenting on the latest street fashions on the streets and displayed in
dress shops, such as TNT, Tweens n Teens, we girls invariably would point fingers at
found classmates who were on their own particular ventures and dream-seeking.
The many people downtown were organized with specific destinations in
mind; their feet were directed towards grocery shopping, banking and other family
business which they could not complete during the busy weekday.
The three musketeers enjoyed many romantic and juevenille adventures, we loved
hanging out together.
We would always stop for a grilled cheese and
chocolate milkshake at Woolworths, this was a definitive Saturday ritual.
Frozen in time, the old store formiculite and chrome metal countertops were authentic
50's style. If you closed your eyes for a moment you could imagine Elvis sitting at
the end of the counter listening to the latest tunes on the Nicklodeon and ordering
Woolworth's world famous Cheeseburger and fries. Or Marilyn Monroe buying curlers
and peroxide in the cosmetic department. The fifties continued with rockabilly charm
into the sixties dream machine, and we liked it, yes we did, indeed.
The Woolworth instore restaurant was located exactly at the epicentre of the
department store between Notions and Hardware. How many wonderful dimestore goodies
at our fingertips, no five finger discounts, now.
We would swivel back and forth on the barstools while we hastily
slurped the shakes, and tried to appear so mature, particularly to the grade eight
boys who would always tease us and makes us feel less than the feminine ideal or
pinup girl, wowsa. We were more likely to them, bowsa. Remembering the way boys use
to think about girls their own age back then.
Of course we never really understood why we always had other customers' eyeballs
rolling sarcastically in disguist in our direction with the odd, gafaw, and tch-tch
of disguist upon fellow diner's click-clacky tongue wags.
Maybe it was the loud slurping noises from the chocolate milk streaming from Chris's
pucilanimous nose as she laughed out loud out of control as Julie stuck a straw in
her nose to complete the rauchously rebellious laughter.
We girls always tried to outdo the other with goofy teenage girl antics. Another
favourite trick was to blow the straw wrapping paper across the black and white
linoleum floor to make contact with the cute boys at the opposite end of the
counter. Usually the boys were from other schools in the district. A challenge
always appreciated by the musketeers.
Unstoppable giggling would premeate the store and customers would glare hate-beams
The uproarously loud and unruly laughter was contagious, at least for us girls. I
would make a beeline to the washroom very quickly. I definitely have my Aunt Joan's
early onset bladder control problems.
As well, the incessant fingernail-like on chalkboard-type creaking and screaching
from our swivelling on the rusty barstools could not have helped our less than ideal
public relations. After looking through the sales bins of Mabelline makeup and
wanting to buy bright blue eyeshadow and orange-flavoured lipgloss, it
was time to check out the rest of downtown, the girls were bored and needed
Now what were we going to do? We had another two hours
to kill. All of us had unanimously decided to venture to Simpsons and go up
and down the rickety old and some say haunted escalators and elevators. Julie loved
to do this, and we usually gave in to Julie's whims because she had
access to horses across the road from her house and we wanted to ride the horses for
free later on that day.
Julie was fickle, and if she did not want us to ride the old nag Nelly we would not.
No ammount of convincing could change her mind she was that stubborn. Julie was like
that and Chris and me would make sure to make her happy so she would
allow us the priviledge of the Equestrian Arts Saturday Afternoon Experience.
However, it was western riding and the old horses were really overdue for the glue
factory. Horse riding did not seem as romantic in reality, once the bumpity bump of
the jogging horse got the tailbones jarred. What was I thinking?
Chris and me told Julie we would go to Simpsons and ride the escalators for
half and hour if she promised to let us ride today. This did placate Julie somewhat
and Julie reluctantly agreed to the conspicuously deluded contract.
So we would soon be at Simpsons and up and down the escalators, trying on the
latest fashions, stopping to spray the powerful perfumes at the Cosmetics isle. The
dour cosmetic clerks always gave us the dirtiest looks, as they knew our intent was
probably not in the best interest of sane store policy. We could feel instore
detective shadowing us around the premises and use to play games hiding around
clothing racks and playing a silly hide and go seek with each other. Would we ever
Since we rarely purchased cosmetics at Simpsons, although I wish I were like my rich
friend Joanne who could heap piles in her basket. Her father owned a concrete
company. I would always walk on top of Joanne's family's last name on my long walk to school each
day, the sewer drains all were stamped with the family designation. Nice to be old
money like that, and such a famous name too. Money did appear to buy happiness and
snobbery. Money, was never a problem back then, really and something, in a way, I
felt I could live without.
Being as makeovers were so pricey at this upper class store, upper class by our town
standards, anyway. Later, on the bus ride home, invaribly, someone would vomit on
the bus ride home.
Usually a stranger who was not use to the proliferation of multiple scents attacking
To put it mildly, we were just dumb back then, not knowing how potentially dangerous
these fumes from hell. Too many nasty atomizers sprayed here and there and
everywhere when the overly primped cosmetic ladies with their pinch nez glasses
silver chains hanging precariously on their matching angora kitten sweaters twin
sets. Very Chanel.
We girls had dreams of granduer as we accomplished the weekly; to smell "like a
lady" usually far too many times over. Apparently the looming olafactory pleasure of
too much Shalimar or Chanel Number 5.
I think it was Gray Flannel which really was the most vicious of
scents. I can see now why perfumes are banned from so many places, I still have
migraines remembering those chemically and artificially reproduced scents. They
could, most definitely, create dire consequences with very
negative and dangerous medical effects.
It must have been the perfume bomb and/or the gaseous carbon monoxide droning from
the bus' diesel lead-choked engine which created the chemical hazardous reaction.
As to which scent was responsible for the multiple sensory
overload, a blood test would be required to determine the chemical culprit.
It was during a particular vividly sunshine bright Saturday morning outing when I
happened to realize the world did not revolve around me. No
not at all.
Until that time, I had been, to put it mildly,
vain, pompous, a horribly bratty woman-child spoiled beyond relief or belief.
Alhtough I wanted to be less egocentric, and was very religious, and I thought
friendly and kind, the world was, at this time, revolving endlessly
around me. It did not bother me, and I relished the appreciation the universe had
bestowed upon me.
My need to find the panoramic world view with others' lives just as important as my
own. Others, "the grups" to quote a Star Trek episode where teenagers took over the
earth, could describe my world view. Others often floating in the periphery, outside
my realm of being. Typical teenage self-centred girl.
Looking back now, I found those early years, and the way I
viewed the world similar to a bobbleheaded dodobird. I was terribly
forgetful, naive mainly and very negligent about my surroundings, and of course, all
Often staring blankly into space, I was considered a "daydreamer" by a particularly
cruel teacher. This moniker would not help me later in my future career plans of
becoming an imminent neurologist. Why not take a bus when you are
already in Detroit? Thank-you Dr. Wayne Dyer. I did take your suggestions seriously,
and learned the truth in the very appropriate quote from Your Erroreous Zones. Yes,
I know, I made a lot of mistakes, not completely unrecoverable during my misspent
Remembering in hindsight that two various and viscious teachers, especially my Grade two teacher and Grade Four teacher did demoralize my childlike soul. This did have
a negative effect on my morale. Mrs. Livingstang and Mrs. Berker had
cruelly questioned my creative mind and had greatly limited my world
view and my much needed divine access to the Cosmos by their evil attitude towards
me. It was unnatural and seemed almost, political, in some way. Mrs.
Livingstang, for some unknown reason, absolutely hated me. This was a big
mystery to me, as I had been a perfect brown-noser the year before, being the
epitomal teacher's pet the year prior to this old hag's return from Salem.
Mrs. Livingstang took great pleasure in publically embarrassing me in class, making
me place my spent gum on my nose for absent-mindedly chewing gum during math
class. If I could have run away from school at that time, I would have run as far
away to another place or planet. At least there I would be fully appreciated for my
creative genius, so over-looked in Mrs. Livingstang's torture-chamber classroom.
At this point of the weekend journey, I would begin to conjure up my
usual childish fantasy world. It protected me and created a cushion against
the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune". Thank-you Immortal Bard.
My fantasy was always the same, from the proliferation of horse posters on
my sister and mine's shared bedroom walls. We had single beds and our own dresser.
My sister had plastered our walls with her favourite subject, horses. My sister,
being my older sister was always admired and copied by me. Since my sister had
riding lessons, I wanted riding lessons, too. However, since my sister had been the
one to pipe up first, she was the one who got to claim the prize; the lessons were
hers and hers alone to enjoy. No biggy, I got over it, and to this day, never regret
never having lessons.
Sis would take English riding lessons in the country every weekend. Dad and
me would drive her back and forth to her hour classes. Not unlike my older sister
who took piano lessons for eight years. To appease my eight years of
having to sit through boringly and excurciating painful piano recitals at the
Conservatory, my Dad told me I was a good travelling buddy. Great, wonderful. How
Liberating. Perhaps I was a tomboy, but not for long. My mom would see to it that I
learned to appreciate my feminine side.
There were horse posters on virtually every wall accept the
Nonetheless the huge palomino and dapple gray horses caught my creative imagination.
I would, in my mind's eye be frequently jumping over fences on their strong horse
bodies, full manes and tails blowing in the wind. It was so much better
than dreaming about the Old South antibellum
mansion on the north facing wall mural with the many willow tree-lined plantation
and classical doric columns. If you looked hard enough you would see Colonel Sanders
coming from the backyard to meet his dog by the old mill stream. The mural dreams
were getting as tired and stale as the yellowed ten year old
wallpaper. However, I did not want to redecorate a pretty pink.
The horse posters were better than Teenbeat magazine, who needed pictures of Jack
London in Oliver, anyway, although he was a favourite crush and a frequent penpal,
Jack could not maintain the number one place in my heart. Horses were definitely
feeling the void left by Jack.
When nightime jammies were put on and teeth brushed I would leave the light on for
awhile so I could see the Palominos and begin to imagine a real life with them. I
would pet their long main, and mount them, and we had many ventures, sometime
venturing onto the northfacing mural Southern Belle wall of shame.
Here I could really ride the horses all
night long if I so desired, who needed boys, they were so mean, and nasty.
Since there was not enough money for both of us to take the expensive riding lessons
with Canada's Olympic Equestrian, Hunter class. No, we could not have the same
Later, at sixteen, I got to take charm school lessons with Vicky. A prelude to
modelling classes, my other more senior of my two sisters absolutely despised
modeling; I had to
concur; the modelling industry was laden with rich snobs who were cruel money
Besides, I had a way too big nose anyway, according to Vicky the has-been, washed up
Model turned hardened and Cruella DaVille businesswoman. Since there was no
rhinoplasty for teenagers back then, I did as my father said I should do; take the
old fall-back career, typing. Oh well. Acting did allow for some large noses, which,
in my opinion, is a good thing.
Back in the distant past, before age thirteen, most days were filled with horse
fantasies. Since the magic eight ball age of eight, I would pretend to
ride The Original Black Beauty, or the classic Shiloh gray mare around the house. My
sister did not mind and often joined me in such forays into the imagination. Always
with black bowler, beige jodphurs
from Thrifys, and leather crop in hand I borrowed my sister's Equestian outfit. I
had rather fancied myself a dressage wannabe.
It may have been due to the fact that I never had the priviledge of horseback riding
lessons like my sister that I fantasize so realistically and persistently and with
much sincere love of the large beasts. I was now a spiritual horse lover.
If I could not have a real horse, I would make-believe a pretend horse or horses. I
did not mind that I would never get to ride or be what I wanted but I never really
ever did get what I wanted; rather I got what I needed. I must have been destined to
be a nun, although, a poor choice, since I could never control those less than
saintly desires of the flesh.
The creative mind was indeed powerful. There were no limits to those conjured
beautiful and bountiful creatures in my minds eye.
Irish Unicorns looked tame, even though their amazing narwhale-like unihorns were
dashingly dangerous and mysterious. Although I never rode a unicorn in my dreams, I
did have a few leprauchauns shoes found amazingly placed on the roadway by my
Caught up in giddish, girlish gleeful games, I think I
floated, rather than walked around on my cloud size nines
Clementines Buster Browns. Maybe it was the times. They were sophoric and ephemeral,
like a warm summer breeze the 60's were Penny Lane perfect. My favourite scent of
Love's Soft Babyfresh Lemon and Yardley's Slicker Over was wafting from my
virginally new skin.
We were teenyboppers living in the late 60's, listening to the Beatles, going to Sam
the Record man and buying the new 45's of the Beatles and Monkey albums and Neil
Diamond and Joni Mitchell albums, as well as my perennial favourite, Gordon
Lightfoot. To see Gordon Lightfoot was a gift from my friend Sue who I always helped
make and eat oatmeal cookies after school. The Good Brothers were performing then
and I had never seen men that tall. They were at least a foot over my head. I was so
impressed. Gordon was so sexy and I have a favourite tune; Summer Side of Life which
so reminds me of this period in my life. Now back to the story...we were downtown
It was a beautiful spring day, which is diametrically opposed to the horrible
memory which would haunt my every waking moment for the
rest of my life and to this very day.
For some odd reason, I have never liked doors. They get in the way. If there
were no doors at all, that would be a wonderful world indeed.
As I was cantering lightly upon my make-believe steed, I veered into Simpsons
Department Store with my two friends skipping to catch up,
something heart wrenching was about to happen.
My friend Chris was trying to push ahead of me and in all the commotion I
did not notice the huge department store doors.
These huge Art Nouveau from the late 1800's plated frosted and glazed glass doors
were so heavy and at least ten inches thick. The doors were able to swing
precariously back and forth like salloon doors upon opening.
As I had rushed through the huge doors with Chris and
Julie upon my flank, I had forgotten to notice the little old gray-haired lady
Then that horrible thing happened. A piercing scream from behind me. The nasty heavy
gray door came so very close to
killing that dear sweet woman because I had forgotten to hold the door open long
enough for the woman. It must have been divine intervention. I am so very glad I
always had a praying grandmother, standing in the gap for all my fool hardy ways
as a young teenage Miss.
The poor, sweet, dear, little old gray haired lady took the full brundt of the force
of the weight of the door upon her personage. As the gigantic door swung in the
opposite direction, she took the full force of the door upon her dear sweet shoulder
and screamed the loudest scream I had ever heard in my life.
All of a sudden, the most foul and illicit comments came
streaming from this dear sweet lady's illustrous mouth.
Immediately I had turned around to look back at the screaming
Next, the evil words continued as she berated me endlessly for a least ten minutes
in front of all my friends and total strangers. Stunned, and with
my mouth hanging open, I was in total shock and denial. This was not real. This was
not happening to me. No way!
Many thoughts were spinning in my head. I did something
really horribly stupid, and I am going to get in terrific
trouble at home; I thought to myself. What my Mom and Dad think. How could I tell
them how negligent I had been? It would prove Mrs. Livingstang correct, I was no
good at all.
Profusely apologizing to the cursing woman, I noticed there was a burning
madness in her eyes. It was frightening. I had never seen before. At this moment
the woman was starting to reach for her umbrella as I approached her. I was at
this time, profusely apologizing, saying how sorry I was, and that I was so
stupid, and I did not mean to hurt her, that I had forgotten tolook behind me as the
door came crashing into the poor lady. I have never felt as bad as I did that day.
Once the woman saw that I was indeed very sorry and apologetic and most
sincere, all was forgiven. I felt a huge weight lifting from my shoulders and
neck. All was well that ended well. The woman was ok, upon examination. Many had
gathered around, and most were as stunned as I had been.
Then, all of a sudden the old woman began profusely apologizing to me for getting so
upset. My jaw dropped open again. She then smiled at me and told me to have a nice
day. For those few adrenaline-filled minutes, I thought I was the worse
person on the earth.
Chris and Julie were way ahead of me and came back when
they heard all the commotion. We girls had then decided to go horse
back riding and forget the horrible and awkward moment of my myopic
mistake that day.
Today I realize it was not my fault that those huge doors swung
backwards. Doors should always be on pneumatic door jambes,
especially doors of this magnificent magnitude. They were too heavy, and
this was merely a fateful moment which happens to people. However, I always have
felt that if I were not so preoccupied with being a fun-loving woman-child I should
have paid more attention.
Certainly, it could have been a much worse-case scenario. Seeing that the lady was
much better after I asked if I could help her. She said not to worry and that made
me feel so much better, yet I knew, somehow, I was responsible for this happening.
I really did not think that I was intentionally trying to harm
her in any way, whatsoever. The dear sweet lady, minus the swears, may have been
very sad and lonely. She may have been looking for any excuse to
get someone to notice her, for companionship. It seemed that way to me.
After this incident, reality set in; I was no
longer a the free-floating teenager daydreaming my life away
with make-believe horses, skipping, and hanging with good friends. Wholly centered
on self, this is not the way I wanted to be. I never liked the "me" generation
either, it was not my calling to be vainglorious. I was meant for be a better
person. This lesson did propel me to a new way of seeing the world and myself in the
Becoming that day I assumed the role of the consciencious citizen and I became much
more courteous to my fellow human
beings, polite and kind to all. Especially senior citizens and the physically
challenged, they have a special place in my heart now. I started to volunteer and to
help those with physical challenges and other desperate needs do to this day.
To this day, I am always so very, very careful around any doors. Funny that I got a
flashback of having my own thumb accidentally caught in the car door when my sister
closed the door on my thumb prior to Sunday services. The saints must have been
there, or another praying grandmother that long ago Sunday, because I never felt a
thing, and everyone was totally amazed at my miraculous recovery.
Yes, I am always holding doors open long enough for everyone. Never will a day set
that I will forget the real meaning behind the day the door closed