Poodle Skirts
(or I always wanted to be somebody else)

 

       When I was growing up in the 50's, we 'made ends meet'.  There never seemed to be money for 'unnecessary' things. My friends got their hair done.  They had nail polish in all shades of red.   They got new clothes each fall before school started.  Yes, even 'way back then' school shopping was a tradition. They went on family vacations to 'exotic places' like 30 miles down the road to the beach.  My big adventure was crossing town on the bus to shop at the discount store (thank God it was in the days before 'thrift stores' and yard sales). 
        My friends had nice houses.  They had nice furniture.  Meals were always a 'family affair'.  They all had the stereotypical "Ward & June Cleaver" family.   Mothers were housewives who volunteered at school, were admired by the teachers, and active in PTA.  Most had brothers who were pests and sisters who 'borrowed' their favorite sweater.  Fathers worked.... They all had fathers.
        Cashmere sweaters and Poodle skirts became the rage when I was in Jr. High.  All my friends...probably every girl in school... had one (or so it seemed).  The sweaters were not a big deal to me.  I didn't like the fuzzy because it tickled my nose, but the Poodle Skirt...  I wanted one of those more then I had ever wanted anything in my life.  I may have asked Mom once. I may have asked a million times.  I may have not asked at all.  I just remember crying many times for being 'left out'.  You see, they would have "Poodle Skirt" day at school.  From my perspective, it seemed like those days were EVERY Friday. 
       I grew up, moved away, got married, but I always felt like I wanted to be someone else.  Earlene was beautiful.  She had a great figure (so did I but it was squashed under outgrown discount clothes.)  Her personality bubbled.  Everyone wanted to be her friend.  Carla  had a great family.  They were always so good to me.  I didn't know the term "adopted", but if I had,  That is what I would have wanted of them...to adopt me.  Jeannie  had great parents.  They had loads of slumber parties at their house.  We could have pillow fights and stay up all night.  Joann   had the most gorgeous long blond pony tail.  Her clothes were always 'top of the line'.  She was destined to be a model. Joyce was a favorite with all the boys.   Beautiful from head to toe and a personality to go with it.  Betty's   father was a professional photographer and they had a big studio.  She would have private dances there.  There were always equal numbers of boys for girls,   but I never got asked to dance.  (Those days girls didn't take the initiative.   It was considered 'forward'.) The boys would rather 'sit it out' then dance with me.  If I could just have been one of them,  my life would have been perfect.   And they ALL had a Poodle Skirt.
      Now almost 50 years later I wouldn't trade places with any one of them for a million dollars.  Earlene died of  Lois Gerighs disease in her 40's.  Jeannie was widowed and although remarried, is having to work.  I heard Betty was in a car wreck and it messed her up. I haven't found the others. As for me, as I look back over the last 40 years since those Poodle Skirt days, my life was not bad. Sure there were bad days and bad weeks, but not bad forevers.  I 'blossomed' late.   I'm still 'growing up'.  Life gets better every day.  "They", those with the Poodle Skirts, had their perfect time.  Now I have mine and how lucky I am.  I don't need  to be beautiful.  I don't need 10 shades of nail polish. I don't need 'designer' clothes (& I love shopping thrift stores).  I don't need a Poodle Skirt. Most of all, I don't need to be like anyone else.