Archives for : July1953

Sassy Sisters

The doorbell chimed.  I opened the door to see double.  Marylou and Marysue, the Sassy girls, arrived to help.

I should step back to explain…I couldn’t stop thinking about Mag’s red lips.  The color haunted me.  I found myself staring at red delicious apples while grocery shopping, slowed down to catch red lights, paused longer than safely at stop signs, and searched everywhere for red.  It was an unnatural mini-obsession.  I needed to consult a professional.  I stalked the cosmetic counters at department stores, zeroing in on the reds.  There were many to choose from, but none were chosen.  The painted ladies behind the counters couldn’t satisfy my need.  I sampled select hues on the inside of my wrist, making slashes of red against the pale underside.  My wrists resembled the unstitched-up version of a patient’s suicide attempt. I selected more contestants that never matched my fantasy color.

The futile searches brought me to call sisters Marylou and Marysue.  They were the local representatives for “Sassy,” a cosmetics company.  Dressed identically, coiffed dramatically, and able to complete each other’s sentences.  I invited them into the living room.   It had been a while since I’d seen them and I prayed that they were up to the task.  I demurely described my interest in “updating” my look.  Marylou began to describe the latest technique for drawing a longer, darker eyeliner that would make me beautifully exotic.  Maybe I should have been more direct with my needs.  Twenty minutes later I stared back into a mirror  to see Elizabeth Taylor minus her glamour, natural beauty, and violet-colored eyes.

I shyly asked about lipstick shades.  Jackpot!  Marysue opened another compartment to offer samples – Crimson Crush, Scarlett O’Hara, Radical Rose, Redvolution, Blush, Rust, Romantic, Fire Engine, Beet, Brick Cherry and Poppy.  I lifted my head and looked at their smiling faces and said, “Which one?”  Marylou started to wave her hands over the samples.  Her eyes were closed and her long fingers danced lightly over each tube.  She stopped finally at one, opened her eyes, gazed deeply into mine, touched another, lifted it,and then returned it to the compartment.  Six samples later, Marysue slapped Marylou’s hand and grabbed one from the center of the samples.  Marysue grabbed my chin, lifted it, made a quick swipe across my lips and ordered me to purse them.  Marylou handed me a tissue to blot my lips. Marysue touched up the bow of my lips and smiled back at me.  “Perfect,” she exclaimed.  I took the mirror and gazed back at myself.  Was it magic?  I loved the color!  I may have to order several tubes so that I can stash them in multiple places.  I reached across and placed a big kiss on her cheek, leaving a beautiful outline of my sultry new vixen lips.  Whew…I was exhausted.




Maude’s Manhattans

Crushed ice, 1 cup

Whiskey, 2 ounces

Sweet Vermouth, 1 ounce

2 dashes of bitters

2 orange peel strips

2 Maraschino Cherries, drained


Place ice in shaker.  Add whiskey, vermouth and bitters.  Rub one orange peel on rim of straight-sided glass.  Strain contents of shaker into glasses, add second orange peel and cherries.  Sip away!


Big Screen Shots


Last weekend, we packed the kids in the car and headed over to the River’s Edge Drive-In to enjoy that big screen experience.  Steve always acts like he’s choosing our final resting spot as he meanders up and down the rows looking for the perfect spot for the car.  Stevie Jr. and Daisy couldn’t wait to jump out and head to the swings.  Luckily I was able to stop them long enough to give them some clues on how to find the car again. The playground equipment swarmed with little ones enjoying the fun until the sun set and the movie started.

This quiet time gave Steve and I some time to catch up alone.  I spread out our grown-up picnic on the bench seat between us.  I unwrapped the tin foil covered pork cutlet sammies, unburped the apples slices, and poured little shots of Manhattans. Steve sat back and relaxed.  A little later, the music from the upcoming cartoon signaled the start of the show and the kids found their way back to us by the time the screen lit up.  They hurriedly changed into their pajamas and argued over the placement of their pillows.

At intermission, Steve took the kids to the snack bar for popcorn and hotdogs swaddled in steaming foil.  I sat back and searched the night sky for the big dipper.  Later, the kids fell asleep leaning against each other and Steve wrapped his arm around me with an exaggerated move left over from high school.  We both chuckled and enjoyed the rest of the movie quietly.

Steve’s competitive edge kicked-in when the credits started to roll.  In his rush to pull out of the space before those around us, he forgot to unhook the speaker from the car window.  I yelped a little and pointed at the slightly crooked post as Steve jumped out of the car to replace the speaker.  I stifled my giggles with the drink I took directly from the thermos.

Molto Rosso

Mags dawdled outside her house puffing deliberately on her cigarette.  She called out to me as I pulled into the driveway, and I returned a wave.  I took mental stock of her outfit since I have high hopes of someday looking as put together as Mags.  I haven’t figured out out to lengthen my legs or grow a patrician nose, but I can work on the outfit coordination.

Mags crossed the street and I grabbed the grocery bags from the trunk.  As she approached, I noticed her luscious red lips.  Mags had a new lipstick.  It was bold, dark and perfectly suited to show off her creamy skin.  I couldn’t focus on a word she said and stared blankly at her face.  Her repetition of my name startled me, and I started to hear her voice.  I mumbled my apology and invited her inside.  I tried hard to focus on what she was saying until she dropped the red-tipped butt on the sidewalk and flattened it with the toe of her shoe.  She misinterpreted my stare, bent down, picked up the butt and tossed it onto the lawn.  I finally composed myself and we went inside to talk.

Fortunately for me, Mags was so distracted by her own story that she didn’t notice my lip color obsession.  Mags and Harold have been our closest friends since we moved to Monterey Park.  They sponsored us at the club and double-dated with us to the movies and dinner.  Mags is the one I confide in most and can usually read my moods even when I try to disguise them.  We clicked instantly and have shared good times and bad.

Mags had a serious look on her face as we sat down at the dinette and I asked out loud about Harold, her husband.  “Not Harold” was the response.  Harold was a vice-president at the bank.  She lit another cigarette but her lipstick still didn’t move.  I grabbed a pack of matches and lit the tip of a Chesterfield.  My face begged for a response.  “Damn” was all she said.  “You never really know your neighbors.”  “You know how well they keep up their property and some of their habits.  But when the doors and windows close, each home held its own secrets.”  She told me a story about one of the families on the street.

Mary and John Bruno lived at the end of Calista Court.  They were an attractive couple in their 30’s, with no children.  They maintained a neat home, smiled and waved when passed, but mostly kept to themselves.  I knew that John worked at the bank as a loan officer and liked to tinker on his car in the driveway.  Several neighbors invited Mary along on shopping trips and over to socialize, but she seemed shy and politely refused.  They seemed happy to spend time with each other.

Mags’ news (after swearing me to secrecy) explained a lot.  Harold had discovered that John was embezzling funds.  Furthermore, John’s name wasn’t John but was Bruno.  Bruno Marchetti, now former loan officer, who previously worked for mobsters, and was in the Witness Protection Program.  Holy macaroni!

After Mags finished spilling the story, we both broke into gasps of laughter.  As it turned out, Harold had reported John (or Bruno) for the embezzlement to the bank president.  A day later, federal marshals showed up and escorted him out the door from work.  Mags and I got up and walked to the front picture window and parted the drapes.  A giant unmarked truck sat in Mary’s driveway with oversized men loading furniture.  As we watched, Mary left the house, hopped into the back seat of a black unmarked Lincoln and sped down the street, never to be seen again.  We’re going to have a great tale to tell whoever buys that house!



Our Block

Like many blocks in Monterey Park, we have our own cast of characters.  In my mind, the lead girl is Mags.  Mags lives across the street from us in a beautiful modern ranch-style home. Mags is married to Harold, who is a bank vice-president.  They are childless and enjoy a very nice adult life.  Mags and Harold throw great New Year’s Eve parties and Mags is my closest friend.  She loves kids but doesn’t seem to miss not having any of her own.

Calista Court has a diverse group of families – young and old.  The milkman, Mr. Purcell, visits early each day leaving his products in a galvanized container so we can start our days with fresh cream.  Our mail is delivered to our door and the Sassy Sisters sell make-up right in our own living rooms. The Livingstons probably have the biggest family, but there are also older couples, like the Morgans.  Next door to us is Mrs. Kravitz; she lives alone now after losing her husband soon after they moved in.  She keeps a good eye on my kids and reports any errant activity.  We keep our eyes on her and help her with the harder chores around her house.  Mrs. Kravitz recently has started showing Daisy how to dust her vast collection of books on witchcraft.  It’s a good thing that Daisy can’t really read yet.

My girlfriends and their husbands are scattered up and down the block – Sarah and Roger, Judy Anne and Stubs, and Gail and Gil.  They all have children and when we get together, it’s noisy fun. We even have a neighborhood ex-spy and she’s a woman.  There is so much to tell you about.  I hope you enjoy my stories and share them with your friends.  We are lucky to be living in the most advanced nation at a time of many changes.  This new world is exciting and we have advantages that those who lived before us could never have dreamed of!

Let Me Introduce Myself

Hi!  I’m Maude.  Maude Jones.  I know, I know, it’s ironic with that last name that my story involves my trying to keep up with everybody else in my neighborhood.  Let me explain.  I have a lovely family that includes my handsome hubby, Steve, my son, Stevie Junior, and our baby girl, Daisy.  We live in Monterey Park and it’s the center of my world.  My neighbors see all, and truth be told, I don’t miss much that happens here either.  Our new suburban homes were built with large picture windows to enable us to keep track of life outside.  I have great girlfriends in my neighborhood and we get together as often as possible to share a game of cards, girl talk and help each other share solutions to the modern challenges of life.

Life is very good in Monterey Park.  We all worked hard during the war years and peace is a welcome change.  It seems like the earlier years of our lives, which included rationing and the loss of family and friends, have been replaced with a time of abundance.  We have modern homes, conveniences and food.  The newly built schools teach our children subjects that will help them transition into a future that includes college and good jobs.  It’s nice to see our menfolk enjoy outdoor sports like golf and lawn mowing.  Our labor-saving appliances make chores easier and TV is bringing new entertainment into our lives.

I probably sound a little like a show-off and don’t want you to be too jealous of me, but keeping up with the Jones’ is fun.  Come along with me as I tell you more about Modern Maude.