1947

When I wake up, the war is behind me. Brutality fading as if it were in another person’s lifetime.

The thick polished curls of my hair are my art this morning. The air is heavily perfumed. I still have time to breathe it in slowly.

I recite in my head the name of every person I will meet on the way to the market. I make sure I have a dime and a nickel for the freshly baked bread we needed.

I think of the late afternoon with nerves and excitement. My mother would like me to marry soon but my Daddy wishes I would wait until after secretarial school. I only think of the dances I’ll get to do tonight. My palms sweat at the thought of the newest dances, I may not be brave enough to try. I would prefer to spin, spin, spin and laugh and grab hold of my partner’s hand to keep from tumbling to the floor.

I asked my mother to listen intently to Bob Hope this evening so I wouldn’t miss anything on his radio show. I almost wished I could just wipe off my makeup and wear my housecoat and lounge in front of the RCA. But I would die of embarrassment to miss my date.

Skirt ironed. Collar stiff. Cheeks rouged. Lips painted. I’d like a small wedding at the church I suppose. Only three children. My mother has five and she is always cooking. I don’t enjoy cooking the way she does. It’s always too hot in the kitchen and my blouse is constantly damp with sweat. I most likely look like one of those overly athletic girls with the shine on my nose.

The night was long. So long it felt as if it were two separate days merged into one. My feet ache and my throat is raw from so much talking and laughing. I know mother won’t mind if I’m late tonight. My date had changed my dance card so that his name was on every other line. I felt a warmth in my cheeks when I had seen this. He was very forward. I could tell he wanted to dance closer but our chaperons were older and very old fashioned. He had brushed his hand over mine when he walked me home though, much to my delight.

I had tried a glass of champagne for the first time. I couldn’t even twist my braids properly the room was spinning. I gave up and flopped on my bed. I thought of him nervously asking me to see the latest Robert Montgomery picture with him next Saturday. I detested Robert Montgomery films but smiled dreamily thinking of sitting so close to him.

My eyes grew heavy and I yawned deeply. I hummed a Doris Day tune until I felt my consciousness drifting away.

Ode To The Virago Within Memory

A virago is a woman who demonstrates exemplary and heroic qualities. The word comes from the Latin word vir, meaning ‘man’ (cf. virile) to which the suffix -ago is added, a suffix that effectively re-genders the word to be female.

A woman is both hard and soft. She is an enigma. She is strong, fierce, delicate and warm. A woman has been lost. Remember the women that were beautiful. They were outspoken. They were overly sexual. They were businesswomen. They were mothers. They were complicated. They were mean. They were full of love. They wanted everything. They gave everything. They were an impossible thing, everything at once.

Tell me what you love about these women before we forget them forever….

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