Here is my Blogging for Books entry for this month -
Those ladies were great. Every Saturday morning I would see them running to the the door about 9:45 for the 10am opening. They had really, really nice cars - one even had a Mercedes convertible. I was usually in my '78 Fiesta, waiting for them to arrive and unlock the building. I would get out of the car and meet them at the door. I couldn't wait to see what they were wearing. Such great dresses, skirts, tops, dress pants. And the shoes - oh my! I could not wait until I stopped buying shoes at Payless.
I knew I was lucky. While most of my 18 year old friends donned a McDonald's uniform and worked until the wee hours of the night, my after school job was quite different. I dressed nicely each day and was always finished by 5:30. On Saturday mornings I could easily watch "Alvin and the Chipmunks" before leaving for work, once again finished by dinner so I could enjoy my Saturday nights. And the store was never opened on Sunday. I had the good fortune to be employed at a gift and card shop in the "Village." That little shop has been owned and operated for many years by a number of well-to-do women who wanted some fun thing to do on the side.
Saturdays were always the best. They would sit in their glorious outfits, sip on Bloody Marys (they made virgin ones for me) and talk over the social exploits of the previous week. Their friends would come in to order stationary or to exchange interesting tid-bits. Occasionally, a teenage or college-age child of theirs would pop by. These women were having the time of their lives. They looked incredible! They were always having fun! They had great friends and families they loved!
On the other hand, I resided in high school hell. I was a smart girl, made to sit through that ridiculous movie they showed us every year about how high school was meant to be the best time of our lives. The movie showed all these beautiful teens in cheerleader outfits or football uniforms, laughing together in absolute bliss. I would simmer through those movies, muttering under my breath, "This is NOT meant to be the best time of my life! How pathetic!"
Each Saturday morning I had a glimpse of what else was out there. They were smart women in their 40s who had control of their lives. They always looked great, because they were happy and not entertaining the fashion whims of the world. They were comfortable with friends and family. They had a certain amount of peace. As I sat there fuming in that high school auditorium when the yearly viewing of the movie ended, I knew this was not the best time of my life. I didn't expect to be miserable for many years to come - but I knew the 40s would probably be the best. As I anticipate my 40th next month, I cherish this vision that the best time is still yet to come.