Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Friends, 1957

We were two skinny girls in love with Elvis.
We walked to school together every day.
Your idea of breakfast was a Twinkie and a coke.
My mom made me eat bacon and eggs.

We worried a lot about our complexions.
We agonized over our hair.
I bleached mine with lemon juice.
You wore yours in a pony tail.

We wore pale pink lipstick
and Cherries in the Snow nail polish.
We took dancing lessons at the YMCA.
We dreamed of becoming cheerleaders.

We read “Gone with the Wind”
two times, back to back.
You loved Melanie Wilkes.

I worshipped Doris Day.

You taught me the shuffle step
on your basement floor.
We used to lean on one other whenever
we walked down the sidewalk together.

We rode the streetcar to the Capital Theater.
Our favorite movie was Funny Face.
We wanted to look like Audrey Hepburn
and dance like Fred Astaire.

We sneaked into the Coney Island
and ate hotdogs with onions,
even though your mother didn’t approve.
We both loved horehound drops.

We played Kingston Trio records on your brother’s phonograph.
We talked about sharing an apartment in New York some day.
We dreamed of performing on Broadway
or becoming missionaries.

We competed for grades, but never admitted it.
We knew we were smart, but you were a genius.
We went to the boat club when your mother would drive us.
While I swam in the pool, you sat in the sun.

We each found a boyfriend, of course they were “jocks.”
We learned to make out without going too far.
We gossiped and giggled and whispered our secrets.
We pretended to know a lot more than we did.

We set a high standard and we were proud of it.
Our own reputations were all that we had.
We acted like Doris, the perpetual virgin.
We modeled ourselves after Melanie Wilkes.

When Elvis was touring, he came to Sioux City.
Your father arranged to take us backstage.
We waited downstairs in the old auditorium.
And then the door opened and Elvis appeared.

We rushed up to him with our programs in hand.
We gave him a pen and begged him to sign.
He protested a bit, but then he relented.
His upper lip curled as he scribbled his name.

You still have his autograph, 50 years later.
I’m sure you could sell it on Craig’s List or E-bay.
I threw mine in the trash when I left for college.
My love for Elvis had faded away.

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