1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

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Ugly Bug Ball

Now imagine a giant boil on my cheek!

Now imagine a giant boil on my cheek!

A true Prince Charming will look past an exploded boil and ugly hair cut to see the Cinderella hiding deep inside.

Kathy and I drove to Hudson Falls High in her Rambler. After checking our make-up one last time, we joined a steady stream filing into the school. We paid our entrance fees and I registered as Kathy’s guest for the senior dance.

The dimmed gym lights provided teenage ambiance. Given my double disasters of a golf ball sized boil protruding from my cheek and a misguided attempt to duplicate Barbie’s bubble cut, dim lighting was a good thing.

Kathy, a few of her school friends, and I danced to the live music of a local band. An hour into the dance, something warm trickled down the side of my face.

I touched the crisscrossed Band-Aids on my cheek. They no longer humped out.

Kathy and I rushed to the ladies room. The hot compresses worked a few hours too late. My foul boil had boiled over.

I peeled off my Band-Aids while Kathy handed me a wet paper towel.

I wiped the ooze away, along with my foundation and blush.

The boil hump was gone, replaced by a boil pit filled with wetness. Afraid it might overflow, I brought a little wad of toilet tissue for dabbing the juice.

“It doesn’t look too bad,” said Kathy. “Just be sure to keep it mopped up.”

We left the ladies room, walked down the hallway, and returned to the gym.

The boil pit juicing had pretty much stopped, when someone tapped me on my shoulder. Instinctively, I knew it was a boy. I slowly turned and saw a guy cuter than any of my daydreams.

He was tall, blue eyed, extremely handsome, and his light-brown hair was styled just right. I wanted to swoon into his arms, but knew it would scare him off.

www.fanpop.com This is what I pictured in my mind.

This is what I pictured in my mind.

“Would you like to dance?” he asked.

I looked at his feet and said, “Okay.”

The music was too loud to talk while fast-dancing. I carefully kept my boil side turned slightly away. He flashed a movie-star smile with straight white teeth.

I returned a half-smile, in an attempt to hide my crooked English rabbit-teeth, a gift from Dad. (I eventually got braces as a senior in college.)

When the song ended, he said, “My name is Rick.”

What a great name. Once again, I lamented Mom’s lack of naming ability.

“What’s your name?” he politely asked.

“Mary.” I left off the Barbara.

The next song was a slow one. I casually tucked the wad of dabbing tissue inside my sleeve cuff and gave thanks that the boil pit was on the left side of my face. I wiped my clammy hands on the side of my dress.

Rick had definitely paid attention during the dance portion of gym class. One-two-three, one-two-three, we box-stepped a waltz.

“You’re a great dancer,” he said. “A lot of girls can’t follow me when we slow dance.”

I already knew I danced well, but acted humble. “Thanks. You dance good too. It’s easy to follow you.”

When the gym lights resumed full power, he walked me over to Kathy and her friends, and asked for my phone number. I introduced him to the girls, and then he bid me good-night (no kiss).

‘I’ll phone you tomorrow,’ he said.

Kathy was quiet until he was out of sight, then she started shaking me. I squealed, and we both jumped up and down.

“Do you think he’ll really call?” I asked.

“He seemed pretty interested,” Kathy assured me. “And he’s a senior!”

The girl with the boil pit and bad haircut is love struck!

The girl with the boil pit and bad haircut is love struck!

Could the evening have been any better? Well, yes, the beginning and middle could have. But the ending was as good as it gets.

I had almost canceled on Kathy because of my chopped hair and boil. I went to the dance with zero expectations. With no thoughts of attracting a guy, I let my guard down, stopped trying to impress, and simply had fun being myself.

I didn’t fully catch on to the lesson here, but enjoyed the outcome.

Lessons not quite learned: Don’t pretend to be what you’re not, just be yourself. And good things come when you least expect them.

Now it’s your turn: How did you meet your Prince Charming or Cinderella?

Related posts: Chapter Fourteen: Boiling Over

© 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. valleygrail says:

    I loved those dances! Your story is great! Thanks for the memory.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Thanks, VG. We always looked forward to school dances. From what I hear, they aren’t cool enough anymore unless it’s a major production like the Prom or Homecoming.

  2. I really like this post a lot! I can’t add anything much, because I met some awesome people at dances in those days, except to say I always tried to look past the makeup and the special clothes to find the girl inside. So I guess the boil wouldn’t have worried me too much, either.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Thanks, Fred. If we weren’t paired up with a member of the opposite sex, girls danced together (fast dances) and line dances like the stroll were open to everyone. I’m sure many girls were delighted when they saw you coming!

  3. I love your story! You have a new follower! I don’t have a dance story that I can remember, but you asked about meeting Prince Charming.

    When I was a senior in high school my best friend and I loved to go to the outdoor ice skating rink on the weekends. That same year we both worked at a nursing home after school and on weekends. It happened that because of working I was a little behind on my homework, so one January Friday night while Saundra went to the rink, I stayed home to get caught up.

    Around 8 PM the phone rang, Saundra calling me.

    “Sue you have to come down to the center right now!”
    “Why? What’s going on?”
    “There’s a guy, he won’t leave me alone. I don’t want to be rude but I don’t want to be alone with him. You come on down and be with me, he’ll go away, hurry!”

    She sounded like this was a real emergency, it must be something really bad for her to get me away from homework and drive all the way over to the rink. I slammed the book shut, grabbed my coat and asked for the car keys.

    “I thought you were doing homework, all done?” from mom.
    “Not really, but Saundra thinks she is in trouble at Lloyd Center and she asked me to get down there right away, I think I really should go get her.”

    Fifteen minutes later I am walking through the crowd of shoppers at Portland’s only outdoor mall, headed for the rink. I found Saundra without her skates leaning against the barrier wall next to the ice.

    “Oh thank God you are here Sue! I really don’t know what to do, can you take me home?”
    “What? Home? Now that I am here we might as well skate a little while, don’tcha think?”
    “Shhh he is coming over here now!”

    I turned to my left and looked… right into a sweater. Then my eyes traveled up, up, up the tallest guy I had ever met to lock into his bright sky blue eyes. Eyes that twinkled like he knew just what was going on!

    “Hi! I’m Susan!” I just blurted right out, I couldn’t stop myself! If she didn’t like him, I sure as hell did! My heart started popping and the chill from the ice felt colder and magical.

    “Skip” he said. “You Saundra’s friend?”
    “Yes, I am. She wants to go home but I’d rather skate awhile first.”

    “You two go ahead and skate then, I’ll wait here for you Sue”

    Off I went to get my skates, my hands shaking as I laced them up. Finally I ventured out. I loved to skate but I wasn’t any good at it. Then, swoosh! He slid up next to me and took my arm and we skated around the rink. I held on tight as he whirled me around faster than I ever remember. He smelled good, he was so tall! His body was warm next to mine, I could feel the heat through my ski jacket.

    That is how I met him, the one I had been dreaming and longing for. I had not been thinking about that when I drove over there. I was on a best friends mission. But when my eyes locked with his, everything else fled my mind. I didn’t think about my clothes or my makeup worn out from being on my face all day. I didn’t think about my hair or whether I had put on perfume.

    It was his eyes. The cool twinkling sky blue that emitted a magic signal. That was all it took.

  4. Glynis Jolly says:

    I’m quite sure there were many kids who could put on a facade. I know for certain there were those who stood shaking in their boot (shoes?) being shy and timid. For some odd reason, a quirk in my personality most likely, I couldn’t do either. I only knew how to be me, which was being boisterous but only after some else in the group was. A definite follower but close on the heels of the leader.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Glynis, I think you did it just right. I had always tried to attract male attention by showing off and outdoing them. When I paid no attention to them and simply had a good time, presto!

  5. Wonderful story! It brought back many good memories. Wasn’t it great growing up in the 50’s. We did not have the technology of today, but we sure grew up in a great time in history. I am now following you and am anxious to read your previous posts. Well done. :o)

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Thank you, Pat. I think we had a lot more face to face interaction. We also managed to have a great time without tons of bells and whistles because we knew how to entertain ourselves. My four children were disappointed that their classmates turned their noses up at school dances.

  6. Ralph says:

    Wow ! What courage to go back in there and get your man after such a disaster. Great story Mary ! xox ❤

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Thanks, Ralph. As bad as a boil pit was, the boil hump was worse. So I figured it was an improvement. And since I couldn’t see my own bad haircut I imagined it not to look quite so ugly. Luckily my hair grew quickly and I never had another boil pop out.

  7. Aunt Beulah says:

    A charming, funny post that spoke to all of us who’ve fretted over our imperfections and managed to overcome them. Did he call the next day?

  8. suzjones says:

    I don’t have any school stories because in high school I was always the girl that the guys went to when they had girl problems. I was their friend and confidante. I wasn’t girlfriend material. I was an honorary guy and little sister.
    After school, I was dropped from one of our social groups when one of the guys took an interest in me and wanted to take things further. I didn’t. So the guys felt it best to stop inviting me out with them because they had to work with this guy each day (and things were easier that way apparently).
    And then one day (whilst going through my divorce many years later) I was on the rebound volleyball court. Our team was short a player and one of my team mates called out to an extra on the other team and asked if they would fill in for a while. Prince Charming walked onto the court. I couldn’t take my eyes off him and couldn’t believe that I had been seeing this guy each week and hadn’t even noticed him! The next week he was at a party I went to…. and the rest (as they say) is history 😉

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Suz, Prince Charming seems to appear when you least expect him. But when he shows up, there is no doubt who he is. Your prince was like Superman, disguised as Clark Kent so you didn’t recognize him at first.

  9. Elle Knowles says:

    So…great last two posts! I tried to comment on the Boiling Over and it would allow me for some reason! Glad your night turned out swell!

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Thanks, Elle. I was walking on cloud 9 at the end of the dance. Nothing like being 16 and finally getting your first boyfriend.
      No idea what glitch happened with Boiling Over. But thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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