I think I mentioned once about my constant string of boyfriends. You know my parents divorced when I was a sophomore in high school and I am sure my need to be “attached” would be defined as “classic-case”. It was also a way to make sure I got from place to place (pretty much all of my boyfriends had cars, of course). It made me feel like I belonged somewhere; and I realized then the potential of my power as a girl. One of the best things about having a boyfriend is having everything paid for whenever you go out. This was an unforeseen perk that I’m sure I took full advantage of. There was only one problem….Dances.
School dances, like Prom, Homecoming and Valentine’s day were formal occasions where I had to find a dress, shoes, accessories and then pay for pictures, which was proper form after the guy paid for the tickets, flowers, tux and the meal. I did not get a pile of formal gowns and matching satin pumps in any of those hand-me-down bags. I had to fend for myself.
When I was in high school I had a very part-time job at my church as the ‘music intern,’ and it paid $35.00 a week. $35 bucks a week was big money for the poor little rich white Mexican and my natural hoarder saved it all until I needed it….and I needed it about three times a year to buy gowns – and shoes.
I don’ think I ever missed any of the three formal dances in all four years of high school and only once did I wear a dress I had worn before and only three other times did I wear a dress I didn’t pay for. One of those times is not a fun memory for me.
A very kind and generous woman from my church took me clothes shopping when I was a senior in High School. Somehow, she learned I didn’t really have any clothes that fit (hand-me-downs end in early high school) and as a gift to my still newly divorced mom and to me, she took me to a little boutique for clothes and topped her generosity off with a brand new gown of my choice and matching shoes for Prom.
The gown was exquisite. It was an all-white, backless choker dress designed to go to the floor but she had ALTERED for me to be a mini skirt (it was 1993). In addition, she bought me a very expensive pair of white satin pumps that had all kinds of intricate floral beaded designs running up the outer edge. They were incredible. I think deep down even she struggled with how much they were against how much she wanted me to have them. In jest she said, “You’d better get married in these shoes.” I took that comment seriously.
On the night of prom, after the event had ended and the limo came around to pick us up, the driver mentioned he had cleaned the carpet while we were inside. What I didn’t realize until it was WAY too late was, the carpet . . .. the burgundy carpet, was still wet and my satin shoes with the fancy designs had absorbed a lot of red water. The shoes were damaged beyond repair and I had only worn them the one time.
I couldn’t bring myself to tell her what had happened to my “future-wedding-shoes” but I gave her a picture of me and my date and thanked her profusely for her generosity. She moved away before I got married so I didn’t ever have to confess it but to this day, my stomach turns when I think about the total waste of money.