Gas Pump Girls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Years ago, when I lived in a small city in Virginia, I knew a woman who earned her living turning tricks at a local truck stop where she pumped gas. She was working her way through college. Later she found religion, and told me, “The Lord Loves a Cheerful Giver.” She graduated with a BA in sociology and a 4.0 average.
Mary Ann was only one of the women I knew along life’s journey. My cohort was the generation that embraced the latest surge in the women’s movement beginning in the 1960s. Yes, I was there, but didn’t realize how significant it was at the time. I didn’t understand it would rock established society.
One acquaintance was Betty Friedan’s personal assistant. She taught me how to pronounce Betty’s last name, which she said was never pronounced correctly by media types. I met this girl in a woman’s support group. She disliked me because I laughed at her for mentioning that she was afraid of the “rays” her microwave was emitting. Sorry, but something hit me as funny, or did in this case. She told me I was demented.
Lauren kept horses, and one day she asked me if I would like to go horseback riding. Her stupid horse knew how to dislodge passengers. He did a sharp u-turn and threw me in a muddy field where I slammed my back and broke my little finger. Then I tried again and he ran under some pine trees and scraped me off. The kids said I looked funny hanging from the branch. Wicked children.
Lauren finally acknowledged her horse had a problem when he threw her friend, an “experienced rider” and the girl almost busted her head on a harrow.
When her husband shipped out to Japan, Lauren had an affair with the farmer next door (the harrow owner). When farmer Brown dropped her and took his wife on a cruise to Alaska to make amends, Lauren flew to Japan to reconnect with her husband and found him living with another woman. She then took off to Alaska to look for her ex-lover and joined him and his wife on the cruise ship. I don’t know what happened after that, because I stopped seeing her. Later, L’s husband told mine that L said I had “gone funny.”
In the 1970s, Miriam and I were neighbors in the same rental complex. Single girls, we attended a few Saturday night dances together at a local establishment. Miriam always found someone to “take her home.”
yellow submarine (Photo credit: youngdoo)
At one of those dances, I found Stuart, an expert on one screw on the Trident submarine. He had worked on the screw for over 20 years, but couldn’t talk about it because it was top secret. Years later, I discovered Stuart’s ex-wife was my husband David’s son’s band leader.
I discovered the band leader left Stuart because he almost drove her crazy according to a mutual friend who knew Stuart’s mother. I became nervous when the mutual friend got excited about me getting together with Stuart, a “really nice boy.”
One night, Miriam came to my apartment and I noticed she was half-blind. She had sprayed herself in the face with static guard, thinking it was hair spray. I liked Miriam, she reminded me of me…partially.
In the early 1960s, Alice and I were together in the psychiatric ward. I had suffered a postpartum depression, and she had gotten drunk and mowed down a street lamp on the Tampa-Saint Petersburg causeway. She broke both legs and arms and was in traction. I asked her why she was in the psychiatric ward. She said the police thought she was nuts, but she had only been drunk. She was really funny, and made me, a real sad-sack at the time, laugh.
When she was better, the cops came to take Alice to jail. She called me, and I bailed her out. Boy was my husband angry.
Other than being mad, bad, dangerous, and funny, what do these women have in common….me as their friend. Later, when a friend dragged me to Al Anon, I realized they had alcohol in common. My friends today are a sober lot.