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Friday, October 10, 2014


An upcoming dance was going to be held at the junior high school I attended—St. Albans Junior High and I was so excited. First dance ever. I had envisioned all kinds of things going on and happening there but most of all, there would be boys there. Just thinking about it set my heart afire. BOYS. I was eleven years old, in the seventh grade and tall.
And no, I had no dress that would be right for that dance. Remember well going up to Charleston with my mom; we met my grandmother and went shopping. Dress after dress didn’t work or didn’t appeal to me until I spied one out of the corner of my eye that was hanging on a rack. It was sleeveless with black velvet on the top and the bottom was a black material with orange and yellow flowers.
Tried it on and not only did it fit but I loved it. And I got it!
Lusted after that dress for over a week and when the time came for the dance that fall, I put on that dress and to my dismay my mom said I had to wear white socks with my black shoes. Hated white socks and think that every girl my age did. It was still daylight when my dad drove me over to Karen Covert’s house. Her mom was going to take us to the dance and stay there.
My heart was beating so fast when I knocked on Karen’s door for just the thought of that dance was all I could think about. Her mom answered the door and told me how pretty my dress was; I lied and said my grandmother had made it. Don’t ask me why I said that and still don’t to this day. Karen’s brother Buddy was half-hiding behind a chair smirking at us. I looked at him and he looked at me. Within minutes, the three of us were off in the car headed down Kanawha Terrace to the junior high dance.
We entered a side door and lo and behold there were boys and girls dancing and it was almost dark in there except for some sparse lights. My eyes flitted around the room and I could see bunches of girls standing by the wall and bunches of boys standing on the other side. And every girl I saw did not have on socks. None.
I remember telling Karen’s mom that I had to go to the bathroom which was a lie because I wanted to take off those blasted white socks. And I did. Can still see the look on her face when I came towards her and Karen: It was like a huge gasp. Karen wouldn’t have dared to take off her socks because her mom was right there.
But worse was the fact that some girl was standing right there beside Karen and her mom with the very same dress that I had on. And I had lied saying my grandmother made it. My face turned as red as a beet. I looked at Karen’s mom and she looked at me but said nothing. Ah, I was saved. Relief washed over me like a huge white sheet. But did her mom notice that I didn’t have on my socks? If she did, she didn’t say.
I did have a blast at that dance and remember dancing with boys. Karen did too for she also danced with boys. When it came time to leave, I had to excuse myself and again say I had to go to the bathroom: Real reason? I had to get my socks and put them back on before going home. Thank heavens they were still there is all I can say.
Karen’s mom drove me to my house and when I got out and thanked her, my body felt like it had wings. It had been one incredible evening even if some girl had on the very same fateful dress. And even though I had lied about the dress, it was never mentioned again. For that, I would always be grateful to Karen’s mom for it was our secret and would be so for a long long time. And as for the taking off of the socks? Never discussed and boy was I grateful for that as well.
I went to bed with such ease that night for I had gotten out of a lie which I should never had said in the first place. That dress? I would never wear it again: Yes, I had my own reason and now you know it as well.
Sherry Hill
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Sherry Hill
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