by Sara Etgen-Baker
In 1968, go-go boots, mini-skirts, and the mod Twiggy look were in style. Like most teenage girls of that time, I wanted to be fashionable, but I knew Mother would never agree to my wearing flashy go-go boots or bearing my knees in some mini-skirt. My best option was convincing her to allow me to wear makeup and have the much sought after “Twiggy Eyes.”
I begged and pleaded with my mother to allow me to wear makeup, but she firmly believed that no 16-year-old girl should wear makeup. Her response always was, “No, ma’am! Only ‘ladies of the night’ wear makeup.” My solution: Not eat lunch at school and save my lunch money until I had enough money to purchase makeup at the corner drugstore.
And so I did. Every day for a month, I stashed my lunch money inside a secret compartment inside my purse. For 30 days, I suffered from hunger pains in the afternoon and even lost weight with Mother never questioning either my hunger or my sudden weight loss. No matter. I was willing to suffer to have my own makeup. Finally, I’d saved enough money, and one day stopped at the corner drugstore on the way home from school and purchased the makeup, hiding it in the deep crevices of my purse.
When I arrived at school each morning, I went in the restroom and put on my makeup achieving the Twiggy Eyes I yearned for. Before going home each afternoon, I went into the school restroom and with a swipe or two of makeup remover, my Twiggy Eyes vanished, and Mother was none the wiser.
My plan worked beautifully until the day I fell in gym class and broke my ankle. Mother was called to pick me up from school. When she arrived she found me lying on a stretcher on the gym floor with my left ankle twisted to one side, broken in several places. She looked at my ankle and then turned sharply, staring at my face. “What’s that on your face?” she questioned with irritation and disappointment in her voice, and I knew I’d betrayed her trust.
We drove in silence to the doctor’s office where he set my broken ankle in a plaster cast. Once at home, I was told to hand over my makeup, and I watched teary-eyed as she tossed it in the trash.
“Never try such stunt like that with me ever again. You hear me?”
I never again tried such a mistrustful stunt with my mother. Just for the record, Mother grounded me for three months.
A teacher’s unexpected whisper, “You’ve got writing talent,” ignited Sara’s writing desire. Sara ignored that whisper and pursued a different career but eventually, she re-discovered her inner writer and began writing.
Her manuscripts have been published in anthologies and magazines including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts, Times They Were A Changing, and Wisdom Has a Voice.