1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

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Boiling Over



Cinderella got a gown and coach before going to the ball. I got a giant boil and an ugly haircut.

My previous neighbor, Kathy, and I remained friends, much to her mom’s chagrin.

I was a junior when Kathy, a year older, invited me to a senior dance at her high school. Hudson Falls High was five times the size of Hartford Central, making it five times as exciting with five times the number of boys.

A few days before the dance, a little pimple popped out on my cheek. I gently squeezed it and applied hot washcloths. Instead of fading away, it grew. And it hurt a lot. My pimple turned into a super-pimple, known as a boil.

I never had a boil before. It swelled up as big as a golf ball, stuffed full of oozyness. Because of its location on my cheek, I couldn’t hide it. I felt like the elephant man.

Before and after my horrible haircut!

Before and after my horrible haircut!

I took this moment in time to radically change my hair style. Mom convinced me to chop off my long hair. The idea was to look like the second version of Barbie; the one with the bubble haircut. It didn’t work.

I became a bad version of Mary Martin’s Peter Pan. I was ten when the television movie first played. And I didn’t believe, for even one minute, that the lady with the ugly haircut, pretending (unsuccessfully) to be a boy, was a viable candidate for Peter Pan. And now I also looked like a boy, but without green Neverland clothes.

My sheered head didn’t stop at horrible; it made my head look shrunken and crooked. It also highlighted my boil.

On the day of the big dance, I continued applying hot presses to my facial appendage until Dad and I left for Kathy’s house. My deep-red boil stuck out about two inches, so I crisscrossed it with a couple of Band-Aids; X marks the spot.

The first thing Kathy noticed was my hair.

“You cut your hair,” she said, graciously refraining from further comments.

Then she noticed my dress; the one Aunt Sophi bought me.

‘Nice dress.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I like yours, too.”

And then, she noticed the two Band-Aids humped out on my cheek.

“What the heck happened to your face?”

So much for hoping my skin-colored Band-Aids blended in and might go unnoticed. Kathy smoothed her long black hair, parted in the middle and hanging perfectly straight. I once tried straightening my bushy-wavy hair by ironing it, and succeeded in getting singed ends and a burnt scalp.

I was still in Driver’s Ed, while Kathy was a full-fledged operator. As we drove toward the dance, I was the ugly step-sister next to Cinderella.

Little did I know what the boil or night held in store for me.

Lesson learned: Do not try to make yourself look like a Barbie doll.

Now it’s your turn: What’s the worse thing that happened to you before a big affair?

Related posts: Chapter Thirteen: A Reluctant Twin; Chapter Four: Don’t Play With Judy

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. mikesteeden says:

    Never even had a spot – I am so jealous; always wanted one – as ever lovely musings.

  2. Ralph says:

    You tell a great story Mary. The only thing I can think of is when I turned up at a party at 9am instead of 9pm as I woke up with a start thinking that the morning was evening. Duh ! xox ❤

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Thanks, Ralph. Your mistake only happened because you were so excited about the party. At least you weren’t late and missed it. I’m sure the other party goers thought your mistake was funny, and happy you made it!

  3. Courtney says:

    Prom was really bad for me, too, but you don’t have time to read that drama now, lol. So, I’ll go with my wedding, instead.

    The week of my wedding, I had the worst sinus infection of my life. I tried everything to get rid of it. I visited the doctor, a Chinese herbalist, and the ER. Finally, at the ER, I said the magic words, on loan from my uncle, “Give me a Z-pack!” And the doctor gave me a strong antibiotic that cleared it up in a few days. Of course, it wasn’t totally gone on my wedding day, it was just starting to clear, so I had to keep blowing my nose, but at least I wasn’t in excruciating pain anymore and could board the flight to Costa Rica without fear of my head exploding. :/

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Oh no, Courtney, a sinus infection on your wedding day? I hope it was better during your honeymoon. If you’d had a boil instead, at least you could hide it while your veil was down, ha ha!

  4. Driving a new girlfriend to a dance in a strange town one wet winter’s night I drove into a no-through road. It ended in a raised pavement I didn’t see until it took the bottom out of my car. We were still a mile from the dance and it was raining – hard. I never saw her again.

  5. Glynis Jolly says:

    I must have been lucky because the big events during those years went without a hitch. I have had a boil though. I was working at a hospital. My boss saw it and demanded that I go see the dermatologist in the hall where the clinics were. I’ll write the story in my blog sometime in the future. 🙂

  6. My tale of woe (at least one tale) happened when I was 9. I was supposed to be the bride in a “Tom Thumb Wedding,” but instead woke up covered with red spots – chicken pox! Even the veil wouldn’t hide the stuff…much sadness ensued.

  7. suzjones says:

    Barbie is overrated anyway

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Suz, I figured I had a long thin face like hers, so if I got the bubble cut the rest of me would look like her too. I didn’t look like her with a pony tail, so I don’t know why I thought the bubble cut would work magic.

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