She was the girl with whom I frequently trekked across the fields behind our house to Woolworth’s for a “last” banana split before we went on a diet, which ostensibly started the next day.
I remember the banana splits; Kathy remembers the iced teas we ordered at Woolworths the day after our diets began, but like a lot of bad memories, I blocked the ice teas out. I only remember the good stuff.
We lost touch for many years, but recently we reconnected. Kathy lives in Washington state, and I in Kansas. Yesterday she emailed me this photo of us, taken in the mid-1960’s.
By today’s standards we weren’t really chubby, but try telling that to a teenager who wanted to look just like the models in Seventeen Magazine (which apparently I was reading when this photo was taken).
Although Kathy and I felt like we never quite measured up to the standards of Seventeen, it was not for lack of trying. Get a load of those straight bangs, which I taped down every night (a trick taken straight from the pages of the magazine), and Kathy’s profuse head of copper-colored hair, tamed by rolling it in empty orange juice cans.
We also wore girdles. Girls, remember the Playtex “Living Girdle,” (a euphemism if ever there was one)? They were almost impossible to get into and out of, but thankfully the women’s movement soon freed us from the strictures of latex.
Yes, women have come a long way in the last 50 years, but lest you think we’ve been liberated from those binding contraptions, I’ve got one word for you: Spanx.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.