by Aunt Clara –
Aunt Clara wanted to go to the prom with Bobby Truant. Yes Aunt Clara was once a young girl with wants and dreams just like any other young girl. Well it should be Aunt Clarified that I was never as silly as the other frivolous girls were and certainly had a much higher I.Q. than any one of them, but that goes without saying.
Anyway, Esther Thomas, the daughter of a local physician and number one cheerleader also had her eye on Bobby (the dreamboat) Truant. Esther had an uninteresting face made to look good by using cream rouge followed by powder, giving the face a “glowing” appearance. In reality she had a pasty white pallor, too large a nose and lips that only a mother would ever want to kiss. I knew this because we had pajama parties and I saw what her future husband had to look forward to. Her hair was flat and depressing and even running a brush through it 100 times a night could not make it shine.
On my first sleepover at her house I watched her mother create what I thought was a cream sauce for tomorrow’s supper. It had eggs, mayonnaise, vinegar, and almond oil. Imagine my surprise when I watched Esther take a big spatula and scoop that goop right onto her head. Note to anyone trying this at home; it did not work.
Aunt Clara knew of course that she could beat Esther in the looks department, but the concern was that Bobby would be blinded by the make-up, the big fancy house and her wardrobe. She had those animal pattern sweaters that were all the rage, she wore dresses sent from Greece and India that had tons of beautiful floral patterns and ankle boots with embroidered velvet. Esther was the first girl in Grafton to wear her hair in a pageboy style and tied back with a Washington bow and the first to wear a tiny sailor hat loaded down with feathers. Aunt Clara admits to being more than a little jealous of that hat! The latest styles worn by Katherine Hepburn, Maureen O’Sullivan, and Marlene Dietrich would find their way onto Esther’s gangly frame.
How could Aunt Clara compete with that? With her superior mind and ability to overcome all obstacles of course. Aunt Clara befriended the vacuous and giddy Esther during that long hot Grafton summer. Listening to Esther giggle and gaggle over Clark Cable, Yul Brennar, and Cary Grant was almost unbearable, but Aunt Clara smiled and pretended to be interested and should have been given an academy award for how well she acted.
In those days there was only one way to settle any argument between teenagers and that was the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Now in the hands of most teenagers this was a game of chance, with random outcomes and an even playing field. But Aunt Clara’s superior mind was able to turn this game from a game of chance to a game of certainty. By playing a few games a week for small stakes Aunt Clara learned Esther’s unconscious patterns and predilections. Aunt Clara had learned long ago that most girls will start with scissors and most boys will begin with Rock. Esther was no exception. Aunt Clara let Esther win many of those games over the summer and quietly set her trap, so when it came time for the prom she was more than ready. Since Aunt Clara and Esther were both such good friends and they both liked Bobby Truant, it was decided that it was only fair that one of them should step aside and let the other one have him. It was the only right thing to do.
Of course the only game that could ever be fair in deciding Bobby’s fate was Rock, Paper, Scissors; a true game of chance. As Aunt Clara predicted Esther started with scissors and Aunt Clara threw down rock. Most naïve players will repeat their last choice thinking that their opponent would never expect that. Aunt Clara was ready and again rock beat scissors. Aunt Clara was a student of pattern recognition and had been studying Esther all summer. Esther also had tells, whenever she was going to choose rock she made her fist really tight as if holding a rock. It was like taking candy from a baby and Aunt Clara won the last throw, paper over rock.
All that was left was to choose the dress Aunt Clara would wear. After much thought it was decided that a sleek yet demure mint green Bias cut silk chiffon gown would looked lovely. Her date was dashing and they were the talk of the town for weeks after. For her part Esther always believed that there was some sort of shenanigans that caused her to lose out on having Bobby for a prom date but could never prove it.
40 years later Aunt Clara attended her high school reunion and both Esther and Bobby were there. Poor Bobby hadn’t aged well, the years had truly been unkind. Alcohol and McDonalds had taken their toll. Aunt Clara realized Esther had truly forgiven her about the prom when it was decided they would go for two out of three of Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who ‘didn’t’ have to take Bobby home with them!