I first saw her red hair. Not ordinary red hair, but wild, bushy, like it was allergic to combs. Her eyes, piercing from under flyaway bangs, looked as if they’d seen Rome, London, Paris. Places beyond my new life in Park Forest, the “planned community” built to provide housing for World War II vets, made famous by William H. Whyte in The Organization Man. Her clothes—baggy jeans, plaid shirt, scuffed loafers—surprised me, a proud graduate of Stretch & Sew lessons.
Stopping abruptly in the doorway to that Marriage and the Family class, I straightened my homemade pink polyester pull-on pants and smoothed my blond pixie bangs. Suddenly, my Peter Pan-collared blouse felt too snug around my neck, and my white tennis shoes—I’d never owned a pair of loafers—looked way too clean.
“Red Hair” could be the friend I wanted. A friend with an insatiable mind for learning. Maybe Red Hair was a nurse like me. She looked my age. I wondered if she had taken classes before to spice up the housewife restlessness.
Barbara Lipkin said:
Is this Marianna? Congratulations on your book. This must be so exciting for you. I wonder if you remember me? We’ve met a few times, through Marianna. I can’t wait until your book comes out.
Yes, I remember you and Marianna talks of you from time to time. And this wonderful friend I found and wrote about in this chapter was Marianna. Thanks for your congrats! As Marianna can tell you, this writing of ours has taken a long time, but we have learned so much and, mostly, it’s been lots of fun.
And, if that was you in the Trib a few weeks ago, congrats to you for an insightful letter to the editor!
Thanks for checking in.