Wednesday, March 06, 2013

That Suit

It's funny what offbeat memories pop up to surprise you years and years after you last gave them a thought. Looking for a particular old photo this morning, I came across this one from the summer of 1960:

Me 'n' somebody.

That's a 17-year-old me, lifting my head to scowl at whoever had the audacity to take a picture of us sunbathing. I couldn't tell you if that's one of my sisters or my friend Jude beside me on the blanket, but I can tell you about my bathing suit.

I'd graduated high school that May and started working three days later as a secretary at a law firm. For the first time in my life I had more than babysitting money in my purse. I earned $50 a week ($47 after taxes), gave Mother $10 of it for room and board, and had the rest to spend on clothes and a few 45-rpm records. This bathing suit was the first one I'd ever picked out and paid for by myself. It was a light olive-green with an intricate beige and white pattern on it. I loved the way it fit. (Yes, I can see that the bosom was puckered, but I was lying on my back, people. Give me a break!)

At some point that summer, definitely after I'd bought the swimsuit, I went to see Where the Boys Are, a movie about college boys and girls having a wild time in Florida on spring break. Those kids were having so much fun. If I'd gone to college, I thought, I could be one of those girls meeting all those boys.

Then Dolores Hart stepped out on the beach in a bathing suit. My bathing suit. I couldn't have been prouder. What an affirmation of my newly developing, "big salary"-funded, sense of style.

Dolores Hart

In the movie (no doubt thanks to the bathing suit), Dolores Hart's character became involved with a handsome rich guy, played by George Hamilton:

Dolores Hart and George Hamilton

I had no one that summer. Not even an ugly poor boy. That would change by the end of the year, and by the end of the following summer I'd be married and living 200 miles away from my parents.

I went on to have two kids in quick succession, beautiful daughters I wouldn't trade for the world. Dolores Hart went on to become a nun. The courses of our lives diverged drastically, but for that one summer, we both did our best to rock that swimsuit.


  1. Great memories! I wondered if you'd get to the nun part. How your lives contrasted. No wonder you recall the details of that suit. I have certain articles of clothes I've never forgotten. Usually I am reminded because of a photo but there is one dress and a pair of shoes I don't have in a photograph yet I remember as if it were yesterday. It was 1971 so it definitely was not yesterday. That dress would be in style today but then, it was super adorable.

  2. I love that suit...Funny the things we remember...So glad you are taking a writing class...we will expect even more interesting stories...LOL

  3. Oh my gosh, what a wonderful story!

  4. I like your dog pictures.

    I have lost 2 dogs to cancer in the last month.


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