A Community Newspaper for the way we live

By Connie Warnock, NW Connection

The Oliver family, circa 1953

She is 12 years old and waits, hidden by the curtains, to play her music. She watches her friend who is poised, pretty, and makes no mistakes. What would that be like? The sheets of music in her hands wrinkle slightly from the moisture, which is part nerves, part adolescence. She loves her white blouse and her black circle skirt. She imagines she is quite beautiful. It doesn’t help. When she sits down neatly on the piano bench, she turns to smile at the audience. Why must there always be an audience?

She plays “Moonlight on the Terrace.” She imagines she is the beautiful woman on the cover of the sheet music. The woman, so slender in a long gown, is looking up at a handsome man. The young girl is sure they are deeply and forever in love. She makes no mistakes, her fingers perfectly curved. “The Saber Dance” doesn’t go as well. Large circles of sweat form under the sleeves of the Gibson Girl blouse. Finally, she rises, smiles at the audience and walks off the stage.

Her parents are having a party and she is dusting for her mother. She is 14 years old. She loves dusting the crystal bears and delicate porcelains. The bears make rainbow prisms of light that are visible across the room. She is always fascinated by the perfect rainbows of color that flash off of the glass. As she kneels on the dark blue carpet, she’s aware of herself. She feels as if she’s in a play. She wonders if God is watching her, but then why would he choose to watch her? She is the maker of mistakes and her choices are not always acceptable. Her younger sister is perfect, her skin doesn’t break-out and she is slender and agile. Then there’s her long blond ponytail!

She finishes dusting the largest of the two crystal bears just as the afternoon sun lights up the piano in the den. She sits on the bench and plays “Paper Doll.” She loves this song and often plays it at the parties her parents have. Their friends always tell her she looks pretty. She ponders this later, in front of the mirror in her bedroom, trying hard to see what they are referring to!

She is 16 years old and is “going steady.” He’s taking her to her junior prom. Now, however, she sits on the floor in the upstairs hall. She’s watching her mother dress for an evening out with her dad. Her father is so handsome, and she loves him so much that her heart hurts. He gives her confidence. Her mother is beautiful in her long, ice blue gown. She slips her feet into high-heeled silver evening shoes. Her mother turns and sees her eldest daughter watching her with such a look of adoration that she kneels-down and kisses her cheek.

At that moment the mother feels that she is the most beautiful woman in the world and the most fortunate. Daughters can make a mother feel that way.

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