Yesterday a dear friend from high school told me he always liked my smile. I do like to smile. For some reason that simple statement reminded me of something I did long ago when I was still a little girl, trying hard to be grown-up. I wrote a letter to Ann Landers, the advice columnist. Yes, I was so sure I was in the right and Mom was wrong, I wrote a letter to get documentation from a respected outside source.
Dear Ann Landers,” I wrote using my stationery with the violets on the upper left corner. “My Mom forbids me to go steady. I’m not going steady, I just want to date the same boy. I’ve liked him since 8th grade, and only this year have I been allowed to date. I don’t have his ring or anything and we don’t say we’re going steady. He’s just the only boy I’m interested in. I know he’s The One. That’s not enough for Mom. Now she insists that I go on three dates with other boys between each date with The One. I think this is unfair. I am only allowed to go out on a date once a week, which is stricter than any other parents. Mom’s new rule means I will be able to date The One only once a month. How should I handle this situation. Sincerely, Love Thwarted.”
That last word before my signature, ‘situation’, proved I was grown for sure, and ‘Love Thwarted,’ well, that was better than any signature I ever saw in Ann Landers’s newspaper column.
I waited and waited, watching the mailbox every day. Running down our long gravel drive, the only driveway with stupid black walnuts in the ruts, to assure no one else saw my letter first. I never got any privacy. I planned to read Ann Landers’s reply out-loud. Preferably at the supper table.
At last my response came in the Self-addressed Stamped Envelope I provided. That’s how I recognized it. I opened the letter in the kitchen, ready to proclaim the respected and sage advice of Ann Landers to that ever kitchen-occupying mother of mine. My plans changed on the spot. I couldn’t possibly wait all the way to suppertime. I would show Mom the error of her ways right now. She didn’t have a clue about how the real world worked. I was about to one-up her, big time. Continue reading