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Always Leave them Laughing

by Junie Girl 

Posted: 02 October 2003
Word Count: 626
Summary: A submission I had used in my last writing course and which I would like feedback on as too whether it would fit well into a memoir

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Always Leave Them Laughing

I have been thinking of writing a memoir of my life for some time and in going over some notes I came upon some quite hilarious moments from my younger un-checkered past. You must remember it was a much more innocent time. We were not stupid, nor, perhaps even as naïve as our parents thought but we were not bombarded with televisions assault in our every waking moment describing every emotion and bodily function. I lived in a suburb of Rochester, New York. Rochester was a lovely place to grow up with family and extended family, good friends and boundaries, and an air of innocence.

From the end of first grade when I read the Louise Alcott’s Little Women I was a voracious reader. I went through all the children’s classics and series such as Nancy Drew and proceeded to read my Mother’s literary club books and mysteries. So, at the age of 10, when my Mother’s copy of Gone With The Wind arrived in the mail, I immediately immersed myself in it and became part of Scarlett, Rhett, Melanie, Ashley and the many other characters. When I read a word I did not understand I would figure out what I thought it meant and go on from there. At the beginning of the coming school year my cousin who was a hairdresser decided she would give me the “in” haircut of the day. It was called a feather cut and was quite short and easy to take care of. I on the other hand having been steeped in my romantic novel felt that I should have long hair that I could toss exotically when the occasion demanded, which didn’t occur to often in an eleven year olds girl’s life. After arguing back and forth and knowing I was losing the battle I blurted out, “What do you want me to be a virgin all my life?” Naturally, this was repeated, with great relish, by my cousin to the entire general public within shouting distance or for that matter on a phone line. Years afterward relatives would still question my intentions. This is one of the reasons I became a dictionary addict for you see I thought virgin meant sophisticated.

Some years later when I was sixteen, I worked part time in Edward’s department store. I worked in the stationary department. At twelve to one on Saturdays I would have to go to the drug department and fill in for Gert, a very large, rosy cheeked, Irish lady. One day as I was filling in for her a woman came up to the counter and asked me for a traveling douche bag. I didn’t know what that was but putting the words traveling and bag together and in my Sherlock Holmes wisdom I informed her that she would find the traveling douche bag in the seventh floor luggage department. Her look of skepticism made me assure her again that she would be helped in the luggage department. When Gert came back from lunch, I told her about the woman that had backed away from the counter with the strange look. She asked what she had wanted and I told her. She looked at me oddly and asked what I had said. I repeated my logical story. Gert’s usually flushed face became pinker, mauve and finally bright red. She literally shook like a bowl full of jelly. And naturally she told at least everyone on the main floor. From that Saturday on I was allowed to oversee the stationary department with its romantic writing paper, colored inks and graceful pens. These are just a couple of incidents from my dubious past that I thought seemed to be humorous enough to share with you.

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Comments by other Members

JohnK at 02:20 on 03 October 2003  Report this post
Hi again, June -

I loved both stories. Embarrassing moments, well described. One thing I didn't follow was the reference to Rochester being great because it had 'boundaries'. Am I right in thinking that the district was well-defined, so you were protected from the unsafe areas of New York State?

A couple of changes: Stationary should be stationery, and 'I thought virgin meant sophisticated' might be better as 'I thought virgin meant unsophisticated'. (I could be wrong.)

I agree wholeheartedly that this would make a great memoir of 'a more innocent time'. Excellent.

All the best, JohnK.

Junie Girl at 13:55 on 03 October 2003  Report this post
Thanks for your input. Especially the spelling. I can't believe that when I was a child I used to win spellimg bees.
How do I explain Rochester. It was such a safe city then. We could roam the streets, take buses home from our friends homes at times when one would be fearful now. It's the third largest city in NY state but it was also Kodak city and even dubbed the home city because it was so famuly oriented and it seemed everyones Father worked for Kodak and General Motors.
When I get back there now it is much changed and makes me sad but nevertheless when I speak of it I always call it home even though I haven't lived there for 37 years.
Thsnks again John. June

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