I ended up becoming a pretend swooner and an accidental copycat. Well, the copycat part was a little bit of an accident, a little bit of fate, and a slightly bigger bit of on purpose.
I sat waiting for Madam Farenholtz to come rushing in to French class. Perfectly suited for her job, she sported tight gray Poodle curls.
A photograph clipped from a magazine slowly passed hand-to-hand along the front row. Each girl sighed as it reached her. Hmmm, who or what could it be?
I eagerly grabbed the clipping when it reached me. “Who are they,” I asked.
“You don’t know who the Beatles are?”
I studied the shaggy-haired quartet and wrinkled my nose. “Oh my gosh, are they supposed to be boys? They look like girls,” I said. “Their hair is over the top of their ears.”
And so I was introduced to the Beatles.
They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show a few days later. By then, I found out every girl in America screamed or fainted upon seeing the mop tops.
The night of the show, I sat on the linoleum floor directly in front of our television, making lovesick moaning sounds so my family would realize I was a teenage girl. I gyrated to their two songs while humming, because I didn’t know the words.
A few weeks later, Sandy came to school wearing a red fake-suede coat with a real raccoon fur collar. On her head was a black real-suede Beatles hat.
A Beatles hat is a puffy jockey cap with a narrow brim and usually has a covered button on top. Worn correctly, it tips slightly to one side. We girls crowded around and complimented Sandy’s fashion sense.
I needed a new coat. Mom took me shopping the following weekend to a discount store specializing in outer wear. On a display rack, in the center of the store, directly in line with the front door, hung duplicates of Sandy’s coat, offered in a choice of three colors. And reasonably priced.
I hadn’t meant to find her coat, it found me. I chose the tan one. I suppose I shouldn’t have selected a Beatles hat too, but I left with a dark brown one.
With a total of thirty-two students in my grade, Sandy’s and my look-alike winter wardrobe was immediately noticeable.
Imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but Sandy was not flattered. That was okay, since I wasn’t trying to be flattering anyway. My goal was to be fashionable and hip, with a load of glamour thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t my fault if Sandy failed to appreciate that our coats and hats were different colors.
I felt like a movie-star as my head nestled against the soft fur of my coat collar.
Lesson learned: Pick either the hat or coat, but not both, or you risk too much imitative flattery. A change of color is not enough of a difference.
Now it’s your turn: What was your first reaction to the Beatles?
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