I am referring to Diana Ross of The Supremes, not the late Princess Diana. These days people comment on how “skinny” I am. Whether it’s a compliment or not is up to interpretation but, if it is, I have to give Ms Ross some of the credit – or blame – depending on how you look at it; and also to the 60s British supermodel Twiggy, although I don’t think there was such a thing back as a supermodel back in 1966 which is when this journey began. I know there is much concern these days about the detrimental effect ultra-thin models have on young girls’ body images and self-esteem. I don’t know if that was true in my case, nor if at age 18, I could be considered a young girl.
I had gone through the typical weight gain that is widely attributed to freshman year dorm living. I’m not sure what the catch term is – Freshman 15? I also am not sure that I gained 15 pounds, but what got me started, I guess, was my mother’s comment when I arrived home for the summer. “You’ve put on some weight,”coming from someone who always told me I looked fine just the way I was, definitely got my attention. So did the episode in the Alexander’s dressing room a few days later. I don’t remember what the garment was, but it was a size 13, my usual size at the time, and it was too tight.
I watched my weight all summer, but really got into it when I went back to school, a place I really did not want to be. The college was Ladycliff, a small Catholic women’s school that is no more, but when it was, was located on the banks of the Hudson in a small town named Highland Falls. By day two of Freshman year I’d realized that it was not my cup of tea, as did many of the young women who became my friends. Some of them were able to persuade their parents to let them transfer at the end of Freshman year. Others like me, weren’t as lucky. The former waved goodby and went to school with a more 60s vibe the rest of us bonded and forged deep friendships commiserating. But eventually we accepted our lot and concentrated on fun, and oh yes, our education.
Meanwhile I know, you’re wondering what does this have to do with Diana Ross?
Technically, I don’t know if I became anorexic, it was more a cycle of bingeing and starving, so I guess it was a bulimia anorexia hybrid, although I never forced my self to throw up. Since then, I’ve read that eating disorders stem from a feeling of having no control over one’s life. And that’s how I felt back at Ladycliff for sophomore year.
I’d always loved the Supremes, and they were at the peak of their popularity, and since it was also the time of Ed Sullivan Show and weekly shows like Hullabaloo that showcased all the popular groups of the times, I had many chances to admire how thin Ms Ross was with the result that she became my poster girl for thin.
Speaking of poster girls, it was about this time, Twiggy hit the big time, appearing on the covers of Seventeen and Bazaar……..
………..and it all came together………
There’s no one here to make me eat. Ha ha.
It is my belief that as in the case of alcoholics, food disorders are never cured, but merely overcome, and then only by a hair. What happened in my case was I transferred my dependency to exercise. I started running in 1978 and when I moved to California ran in 10K races for years. I still run occasionally, but attend the gym religiously. Knowing I’m a gym rat, my niece gives me workout clothes each Christmas and truth be told she has better taste in that department than me. The pants she gave me this year were especially nice and I love that they have a long comfortable waistband so I don’t have to worry about plumber’s crack.gy
But what really caught my eye was this size comparison chart on the inside of the waist band.
Small here in the USA is LARGE in Japan? Oh my goodness, is Diana a large? How about Twiggy? Like I said – I’m recovering.
The Mustang turned 50 last week. Tributes have filled the news, recounting how it changed the driving scene for the young men of the era along with fellow muscle cars, Camaro, and Charger . This called for a listen here, you don’t know what you’re talking about from me because I was there, and I’m here to tell while that may have been true for the Camaro and Charger, when it came to the Mustang, the Mustang was a girl’s car. At least it was in my neck of the woods and I have the tales to prove it.
The Infamous Egg Caper
I had two friends at college who had Mustangs, Bobbi C and Barb P. Ironic isn’t it that their names sound like Bob?
Bobbi had inherited her ’64 gray blue Mustang from her older sister.
Barb’s ’67 navy blue ‘Stang had been bought new, but from a sad source of income – the money she’d inherited from her parents. She’d been orphaned in her early teens.
Both Barb and Bobbi were recruited for our spur-of-the-moment egg caper.
We pause for a bit of history here. I went to a small Catholic women’s college next to West Point. It was believed that a good portion of Ladycliff’s students went there in hopes of marrying a cadet. This may have been true in earlier years, and there may have been true for a small portion of my class , but as far as my friends and I were concerned, all I can say is Ha!
It was 1968, and we were the first wave of baby boomers and we served as the advance guard for the full-blown protester/feminist/what-have-you that was soon to descend on the world. If you were fortunate to have come of age in the ’60s you’ll understand it when I say the ’60s didn’t really get underway until the ’70s. As for the crew and I, we regretted the day we’d enrolled at Ladycliff, but were imprisoned there by parents who knew there really wasn’t much trouble we could get into there. Speaking of trouble – back to the egg caper.
I can’t remember whose idea it was, but since I remember Ginger L being involved, I’d say she was probably the creator. Ginger was famous for her sayings which would send us into hysterics as we sat around smoking cigarettes in the student lounge that was creatively known as “The Smoker. Some of the bon mots I remember are
- “No matter where you go……..there you are.”
- “Always remember, a penny earned is …….still a penny.”
- “Beauty is only skin deep but…ugly is to the bone.”
Oh, well. They were funny at the time, and if you’re thinking it wasn’t tobacco we were smoking you’d be wrong. Remember the 60s weren’t really the 60s. Speaking of that kind of stuff, if someone happened to put a quarter in the jukebox and chose Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 as one of their three songs, we’ d form a long conga type line and march all around the lounge behind Ginger, singing the chorus. Everybody must get stoned.
Oh yes, the egg run. It was Halloween of our senior year and we were bored so we decided to go throw eggs at (who else but?) cadets. We rounded up Bobbi and Barb and their Mustangs as well as Margie H and her soon-to-be vintage ’59 Porsche 356A Speedster, inherited, like Bobbi from her older sister,
and Terry B and her ’67 red Pontiac Lemans. Terri’s dad had promised her a red convertible if she went to college and graduated. Wisely he waited until senior year to buy it for her.
I can’t recall which car I rode in but we formed a motorcade as we headed into bustling (not!) downtown Highland Falls, and after a pit stop at the IGA, where we bought out their supply of eggs, headed up to the West Point Gate.
Now remember this was way, way, way before 9-11-2001, so the guard didn’t even make us stop. He just waved us through. Perhaps he was used to seeing Ladycliff girls coming to “The Point”. Little did he know!
We had timed it so we’d get there shortly after the cadets were getting out of the mess hall. We didn’t even bother to spread out, just rode through, tossing eggs and cackling louder than hens, a la The Wicked Witch of the West. Hey, we were the Wicked Witches of West Point, ha ha ha ha ha. I swear that just popped into my head. Sorry, sometimes I just knock myself out, but back to the caper.
We rode past all the academic halls, the library, theater, on out to Trophy Point and circled back up past Michie Stadium where the football games were held, the athletic fields, even the Commandant’s House. If there was a cadet out we got him, or, in more cases than not, we missed him.
Finally we headed back out the way we came. And guess what in t hose pre-, pre-, pre-, pre-cellphone days, the guard just gave a wave and a nod as we headed out.
Dare I say had we pulled the prank today, those Mustang license plates would be on some kind of subversive , to-be-watched list. But by the time any cadets or MPs managed to get to a phone to call to order him to “stop those crazy girls, ” those crazy girls had disposed of the empty egg cartons and were back in the smoker.
If I tell you that the egg caper was one of my most vivid memories of Ladycliff, does it give you an idea of how exciting our four years were? Well life got much more exciting and I met more Mustang owners along the way. They were all female. That’s because the guys I met were all driving Camaros, Firebirds, Plymouth Road Runners, Chargers and Challengers.
As for me, I couldn’t afford $2,350 for a Mustang so I ended up buying a Volkswagen Beetle.
Next post – Episode 2 . Two VW’ers take a Mustang to Boston