Our date for Valentine’s Day was moved to the Saturday night preceeding since the real day fell on a Monday. Love can’t always be celebrated on a Monday. I had lined up a sitter; that was always the hardest part. Trudy had been our most dependable sitter for the last two years, but she had recently “blossomed” and now was dating more than any celebrity starlet. But she did agree to stay with Stevie and Daisy while we went out to dinner. She had also raised her rates this year. I didn’t even know a babysitter could do that. Was there some kind of sitter union that I didn’t know about?
Anyway, I needed to run out to the store to pick up snacks for Trudy and the kids. Unfortunately, I had also just washed and set my hair. I hated leaving the house in curlers. My mother would just cry if she knew I ever behaved so shamelessly. I rummaged through my drawer for a kerchief or scarf to cover my head. Nothing looked quite right. Why couldn’t kerchiefs look fashionable? I knew they were meant to hide hair but I never could find a glamourous looking one. I suppose if we had a convertible and I regularly tied down my hair, I would put more effort into it. Most scarves were used for a futile attempt to disguise curlers.
The real problem was that as soon as you left the house with curlers on, you were obligated to bump into someone you knew. And not at your best. It never failed. I left the children home with Steve to make good time. I managed to slip into Martel’s Grocery to get the snacks without bumping into anyone I knew. Maybe this was my lucky day. I was preoccupied with trying to fix one of the metal wheels on my cart that refused to roll straight and turned a corner too quickly while trying to force it into alignment. That’s when I banged into a another cart. When I looked up to apologize, I saw Judy Anne, already well into her best Southern apology. When she realized it was me, we both pointed our fingers at each other and laughed nervously with relief. Judy Anne was wearing a kerchief over curlers too. We pulled to the side to talk but could find only a little room at the end of the row to park. Within one minute, another cart raced around the corner and hit Judy Anne’s cart while trying to get around us. We both laughed when we recognized Gail. She parked her cart with ours as we all laughed at each other. After a few minutes of quick shopping, we all approached the cashier about the same time. I counted four other women with scarves on their heads. It was the look of the day.
I realized that we all looked okay. In fact, we actually were putting in a little extra effort to look our best on our dates. We were good wives.
We waved goodbye and all headed out to the parking lot. Gail and Judy Anne pulled out first and as I searched my handbag for a cigarette, I heard a crunch of strange metal nearby. When I turned around to see what happened, I saw Jane Van Wyck from the club as she jumped excitedly out of her car. Jane was wearing curlers and her kerchief had fallen down the back of her head. Jane didn’t seem too happy to see that another shopper had dented her fancy ride while she was parking. I pulled the sides of my scarf close to my eyes and moved the top down over my forehead a little and slipped out of the parking lot unnoticed. Disguises are good sometimes. And now I had a great story to share at next week’s card party!