THE BEAUTY QUEEN: Let No Deed Go Unpublished--is the story of my extremely-complicated life. My Mother abused me from birth and never stopped. Her obsessive-hate for me was ongoing and I never doubted her anger toward me--- knew no-limits. The following excerpt is from my book:
I got up early the next morning, 5:00 am, to take a final run. My Mother had warned me to be out of her house by 8am and I intended to be Far Away---before her deadline. I knew the shotgun she'd pointed at me last night--when she issued her threat-- was loaded. I also knew My Mother was capable of pulling the trigger. My Mother's HATE for me, her only daughter, had no limits.
With no money and no place to go, running was my only refuge from the stress of uncertainty. My mind kept jumping from one scenario to another while my feet, trained to run, moved me forward.
I was running past a church with a large cross in front when suddenly, out of the early morning shadows, stepped a black woman--- waving both arms in the air. Looking at me, she hollered, “Hey, white lady, I need you to stop and help me with this money.” I was both stunned and frightened by the woman’s unexpected appearance but--I stopped. Holding a handful of dollar bills in one hand, the woman used the other hand to point out more dollar bills lying in a sunburst design at the foot of the church’s tall metal cross. Before I could say a word, the serious-looking woman thrust dollar bills in my hand then turned to pick up more money.
For the first time I spoke out, asking the woman why she was standing barefoot on this particular morning, in front of this particular Cross. Not once did she smile or engage in conversation. She merely answered, “I live five blocks away and a few minutes ago, God woke me from a heavy sleep and told me to get out of bed and go to this Cross.” She said God’s request sounded urgent so she grabbed her house dress and ran out the door. There wasn't enough time to search for her shoes.
Trying to piece the mystery together, I kept asking for details. Without emotion, the woman continued to repeat exactly what she said God had told her: “You will find money at the foot of the Cross and you are to share it with a white woman running toward you.”
A few minutes later, the black woman flagged me down.
I didn’t know if I was experiencing a mirage or a miracle. The stranger began walking away and I reached out to touch her, to thank her for being God’s messenger. She backed off and, without a word, disappeared in the shadows.
I turned and began to jog away slowly, away from the Church and it's Cross, away from what, undoubtedly, was a miracle. I stopped under the street light to count the dollar bills I'd stuffed in my shirt. All totaled, I had one hundred dolllars. One hundred dollars I didn't have when I began my run a few minutes earlier and now--enough money to buy a tank of gas so my car could get me far away from Pine Bluff; enough money to provide a couple of days of food for my two cats and me and hopefully-- enough money for shelter for tonight.
Now, deep in my Heart--I knew God was watching over us. Knowing God was with me, I wouldn't worry about tomorrow.
Ann and I met in Junior High School. She was pretty, had a nice figure, and wore expensive cashmere sweaters, jackets with fur trim, and nice jewelry. We hadn’t met in grade school because she lived in our town’s most affluent neighborhood. She attended the nearby grade school where almost-all the students were popular, rich, and considered most-likely-to-succeed.
I don’t know about high schools today but, back then, students formed somewhat of a “caste system” in Junior and Senior High. Students gathered together in groups and would always “hang out” with their specific group. Every morning before school started and at lunch time, groups gathered at various areas on school property to talk, flirt, and gossip. It was a hurtful time for those who didn’t belong to any group.
Naturally, Ann belonged to the number-one group--the one with the most-important, most-popular, and largest number of snobs. And, looking back, most weren’t able to maintain their important/popular status—once they'd left school and started college.
Surprisingly, Ann and I attended the same women’s college in St. Charles, Missouri. And, even more surprising--for our freshman year--we ended up as roommates. But, that’s where all the surprises, end. She spent every weekend off campus with her boyfriend, the one whose father worked for the railroad, like my father. But, rather than take a chance on some poor boy marrying his daughter, Ann’s father paid for her boyfriend to attend an expensive college, drive a fancy car, and live off-campus in a nice apartment. After all, Ann’s family had a reputation to maintain. They weren’t going to jeopardize their “standing” in the Pine Bluff community by letting their daughter marry a nobody with no-future-- or, heaven-forbid-- marry a nobody who worked for the railroad!
I well-remember the day I walked in my room and found Ann sitting at my desk, reading my personal letters. Rather than being humiliated, acting ashamed, or trying to apologize, Ann began laughing. She couldn’t believe I was corresponding with some lowly private in the Army-- some poor guy from a hick town named Sherrill, who didn’t even know how to spell! I can still hear her words as she held up the picture of my friend in his military uniform. “My God Sally, you graduated prettiest in our class--- and you can’t do any better than this skinny, uneducated loser?!?!?”
Those were the days when manners defined us. Regardless of being rich or poor, everyone was expected to use their manners--not sometimes but-- always. From birth, I’d been taught to respect people, their privacy, and their property. My grandmother, the church’s long-time Sunday school teacher, repeated her most valuable lesson year after year: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” and, I never forgot.
I grabbed my friend’s photo, picked up the many opened letters scattered on my desk, and left the room. We didn't speak of the incident ever-again but, I never trusted Ann from that day--forward. I hid my personal items and correspondence in an available locker in the music department. I remained cordial, polite, and managed to finish my freshman year at college without controversy but, a part of my innocence left me that year. After sharing a room with Ann for nine months, she wasn’t as pretty as when I’d first met her.
That summer, Ann and her longtime boyfriend, Harry, got married. Of course, she asked me to sing at the wedding and--ever the pleaser-- I accepted. I was standing at the back of the church after the ceremony-- ready to leave-- when Ann stopped hugging family and friends long-enough to hand me a clumsily-wrapped package. After saying a brief “thanks for the songs”--she hurried back to her close-knit group.
Later, in the car, I un-wrapped Ann’s thank-you gift. That was more than sixty years ago and today, I’m still the owner of the ugliest and heaviest ashtray ever-created by man. And, I've never smoked.
The ashtray is a shapeless piece of heavy, thick glass-- completely void of beauty and----most-likely a wedding gift Ann didn't want--- but--- I keep it as an instant reminder:
“LOOKS are superficial and fade with time. REAL BEAUTY comes from within and---grows more beautiful, each and every day.”
At the beginning of the marriage, I tap-danced, whistled, sang, twirled fire batons, whatever it took to make the marriage work and-- to be the perfect wife. Soon after the honeymoon, Jack announced his schedule: golf on the weekends and work during the week, with a few night-meetings thrown in for good measure.
He failed to tell me he would soon be back-to- romancing his old “Southern Federal Savings and Loan” secretary/girlfriend--- until he replaced her with his new and very personal secretary, freshly-graduated from Camden high school.
Like past girlfriends, Jack’s latest didn’t have secretarial training and came to work dressed like a call-girl---with very short skirts and very tight sweaters. But, the new Queen of typewriters and all-things-long-and-short-hand had other attributes like-- very large boobies. She didn't have class, a nice figure, or a pretty face but, as the majority of males would say, “Who's looking at her face?!?!?!”
Even more intriguing, Our Girl-Friday didn’t shave her legs, underarms, or the curly hairs growing on her large chest. Surprised? Don’t doubt me; I saw every inch of her--up-close and very personal.
In the late sixties and early seventies, I served as Women’s Director for KATV, Channel 7, in Pine Bluff, AR. The television station’s offices were in a large Mall called Jefferson Square. Directly across the hall from the station’s front door was a small business called Pennyrich Bras.
One morning, I received a call from the owner of Pennyrich asking me to come to her store immediately; she said she had something very important to show me. I didn’t know the store owner except to wave at her. We were just two business women, about the same age, who worked in close proximity to each other.
Curious about the mysterious phone call, I walked across the hall to the Bra Store. I was barely inside the door when the owner walked up and, without a word, slipped her arm through mine. Like a guide dog, she led me to the back of the store to the dressing room area. Still silent--- she reached up and pulled back one of the dressing room curtains.
Standing there--- shocked, speechless, and completely naked--- was my husband’s personal secretary. In those few quick seconds I saw everything….including the thick-curly-hairs that completely encircled the tips of her heavy, torpedo-shaped breasts. The three of us stood transfixed for about ten seconds; not one of us moved; no one uttered a word. A few times in my life, I've experienced highly-unusual circumstances which, at the time, seem perfectly natural---like now. After seeing more than enough, I slowly turned and walked back to my office.
Several weeks later, the bra store went out of business and I learned that the owner had moved away from Pine Bluff. Thinking back, I know most people---especially men---would be curious and maybe a bit puzzled about what took place that afternoon.
I simple refer to the incident as a “woman-thing."
After ten years, he sounded happy to hear from me. It didn’t seem awkward or strange when he asked if he could stop-by my place, later. I gave him my address at Andover Square Condominiums, explaining my patio backed up to Reservoir Park. Bill replied: “Leave the gate open and the patio light on. I’ll have my driver drop me off at your back door.”
Closing the patio door behind him and flashing his trademark open-mouth smile, Bill stepped into my living room. He wasted no time pulling me close, laughing in my ear, hugging me affectionately. It had been ten years since the two of us had walked the halls of the Arkansas State Capital together. Since then, we’d both managed to expand our horizons in more than a few directions.
He listened to my pitch for an Arkansas Rail Historic Preservation Society; he looked at the photos about my recent rescue of the 819 Steam Engine; he examined my proposal. Bill promised to help by introducing me to the woman in charge of Arkansas Parks and Tourism. Then, placing my packet back on the table, he suggested we enjoy a little “catch up” time.
All totaled, Bill visited me twelve to fourteen times over a three month period.”
PS. Yes, I made a major mistake in the eighties and today--I’d like nothing better than to erase Bill Clinton from my memories. Unfortunately, each of us is responsible for our personal indiscretions. And, sometimes, our mistakes go public to become a permanent part of history.
Years after the fun, games, and pleasurable moments are gone, the reality of our past simply-won't go away.
A woman who wanted her body to look as youthful and "perky" as possible--- told her plastic surgeon she wanted her vaginal lips reduced in size because--they appeared loose and floppy.
Out of embarrassment-- she insisted the surgery be kept a secret. In response, the surgeon agreed to keep the delicate operation strictly- confidential. The surgery went well and the woman awoke from the anesthesia to find 3 roses carefully-placed beside her, on the pillow.
Outraged, she demanded to speak with her surgeon/ doctor:
"I distinctly-remember asking you-- NOT to tell anyone about my operation!!!!"
The surgeon calmly reassured her he had—indeed-- carried out her wish for complete confidentiality. Patiently, the doctor explained that the first rose was from him: "I felt sad because--- you went through this delicate procedure alone--- all by yourself."
Then, the doctor continued, saying: "The second rose is from my nurse. She assisted me in the surgery and empathized with you since-- she had the same procedure a few years ago---and knew what you were going through."
Then, as the doctor prepared to leave the woman’s hospital room, the woman spoke-up, saying: “And--what about the third rose?”
"Oh—Yes!” That rose is from a very-grateful man upstairs-- in the Burn Unit. He wanted to thank you--so much--- for his new ears."