Sunday, November 09, 2008

Election Day, Part 3

I needed Faith Hill as my campaign manager. I had no hope without her and Faith Hill was popular.

She also sat next to me in fifth period Language Arts, though it was not her first choice. Faith was different than the other popular girls though. For one, she actually deserved to be popular, because she was sweet, thoughtful and outgoing. She wasn't as catty and spiteful as her friends. Secondly, she was poor, but none of her friends knew it. I knew Faith's secret because my mother (my real mother, not my stepmother Louise) knew Faith's parents, who were divorced. Her mom worked in a flower shop and was married to a mechanic at the time. They lived in a tiny, shed of a house way out on the highway that went to the beach. It was desolate and she didn't have friends over because she didn't want anyone to see that she lived in a two bedroom hole with her sister and her stepsister and her mean stepfather Mike who was an alcoholic. On the weekends Faith and her little sister Jolene went to visit their dad who lived with his mom. On her dad's side, Faith had an rich aunt who had married well and had no kids of her own. That aunt spoiled Faith and Jolene and bought them expensive, trendy Esprit clothes, Docksiders, pin striped Calvin Klein jeans and outfits from The Limited. These clothes, plus Faith's assertiveness and cuteness (she looked like an eleven and a half year old Marilyn Monroe when she was still Norma Jean if you can imagine that) bought her a seat at the popular lunch table.

Now as a digression from the main story, I'd like to add in that Faith Hill played a very large part in who I am now and that Faith's existence ended tragically. She is still alive, though not in exactly the same way, I am told. I know that sounds mysterious, but one day I'd like to give Faith Hill her own post because she was really important in my becoming the person I am today and because her story is so extraordinary on its own. I've lost Faith and I've tried to find her but no one seems to know where she is. The fact that she shares a name with a popular country singer makes Google totally impossible and I had no luck with Facebook either. But I would love to know what became of her.

But back to the story at hand. I needed Faith to be my campaign manager and she was my only hope.

Lately there had been infighting amongst the popular girls. They were always being jealous of someone, ostracizing someone else and being generally mean and abusing their power as popular. Faith had recently come under their scrutiny because she had let a boy go up her shirt at the Middle School dance. Those things were huge and all sorts of drama took place to a soundtrack of "Let's Hear it for the Boy" and "When Doves Cry" followed by "Puttin' on the Ritz." One of the other popular girls liked the boy and had slow danced with him at the dance the month before (they were once a month and I sold candy at them), so there was a major situation going on, not to mention that no one had ever let a boy go up her shirt before.

But Faith did everything first. She was a sexual trendsetter. She had frenched a boy in fifth grade, went on to french several others by sixth grade and then let a boy go up her shirt. The next year she'd go out with an eighth grader and he would go down her pants, causing another major controversy which branded her a slut early. The reputation would stick through high school.

So the other popular girls were bickering with Faith. Dawn Biggs and Faith were rumored to be in a fight and not speaking though they still sat together at lunch. I saw this as my in.

In Language Arts I slipped her a note. I've always found writing easier than actually speaking to people anyway. In the note I asked her if she was mad at Dawn. She circled "yes." I asked if she was voting for her and she shook her head and rolled her eyes when the teacher wasn't looking and then wrote back: "I hate her."

"Will you be my campaign manager?" I wrote. "Circle yes or no."

Faith held the note for the rest of class. She worked on her vocabulary words and did a grammar exercise. I was going crazy to get her answer. I've never been patient anyway, especially not with things as all important as winning this election and without Faith I wasn't even allowed to run.

She left with the note in her purse. That year everyone was carrying these round cloth purses with wooden handles and wearing Members Only jackets. The covers of the purses could be switched out and most were reversible too. They had a row of little buttons under the handle where you buttoned on the new cover and they looked sort of homemade. I can't remember what they were called and it's been driving me crazy. I loved these purses so much and they were so trendy that even I had one, which is a miracle because I never had anything trendy. Mine had a purple corduroy cover. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? But anyway, Faith had one of these coveted purses and my note was folded up in it.

I went on to Science class and at the end of the day when I was going to my locker Faith passed me in the hall and handed the note back to me and walked away.

I took it to my locker and carefully unfolded it. She had practically turned it into a piece of origami.

To be continued (it's my dad's birthday and we're having dinner, sorry)....

***EDIT*** Talula was kind enough to find the answer for me. The things are called Bermuda Bags. I could totally see these things becoming hugely trendy with the ironic, retro hipster crowd. If you'd like to see one, here's a link to one on a blog. I remember these ones with little embroidered crabs and whales were quite popular. I also remember the kelly green, navy blue combo as being big.


Anonymous said...

I remember those purses! The "popular" kids had new covers every day...I think I had 2. And I didn't even get one of those purses until they were almost at the end of their run as a must-have item.

Now, hurry up and finish the tale!

carolyn said...

My mom had that purse, I remember her changing the covers and all of those little buttons... What a trip down memory lane.

Happy Birthday Dad, but sheesh I am anxious for you to finish this story...

Last Minute Lyn said...

That's just mean. Your really gonna make us wait.
Oh Happy Birthday to your Dad

Pam said...

Those purses were originally sold by Pappagallo stores. They sold lots of "preppy" items in kelly green and pink. I still remember my favorite purse cover - navy blue and kelly green, with my monogram on it.

Living in Muddy Waters said...

Are you kidding me? You do a whole paragraph describing a purse and then you leave the answer as a cliffhanger? This is torture.

Anonymous said...

Argh! Cliffhangers!!!

Robin in Ohio said...

Double arrrrgggghhhh! How can you leave us hanging like this?? What did Faith say?

Robin in Ohio
P.S. Happy birthday, Wide Lawns' dad!

Lana Wood said...

Oh yeah, I remember those purses. I cannot remember them being called anything besides purses. EVERYBODY had one. I cannot remember where we all got them. I think somebody's Mom actually had an in somehow and we all got them on the cheap. I think you are younger than me (39)but I wonder if you were also in on the shoelace thing. I went to Catholic grade school, so we had to wear uniforms, but at the time (82'-83') shoelaces with graphics were all the rage and we all had lots of them that we changed out daily in our oxfords and gym sneakers.

I am looking forward to the rest of the election story.

Happy Birthday SNM's Dad!

Talula said...

I googled and found the purses I think your talking about. They call them Bermuda bags, although I'm not sure that's what they would have been called then.

Mattie said...

Always leave 'em wanting more.

That's the game plan, right?

I'm patient. Very patient.

Kore said...

She said "yes", right? If she didn't, there wouldn't be much of a story left to tell.

Anonymous said...

Bright green and blue were very hot colors when we were growing up. Especially if it had a whale print on it. I remember everyone had the whale-print belt to go with the chinos and collared shirt look.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the post on Faith. I had one of those bags..didn't know they were called Bermuda bags. Mine is STILL in the basement. :-)

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