“Get up, you’re going to be late for church, and that just simply will not be tolerated.”
The shrill voice was an unwelcome alarm. Linda tried pulling the covers over her head to shut out the noise, but her mother only yanked them back.
“I’m not putting up with this nonsense,” her mother barked. “You’re fourteen years old and she be getting yourself up and getting ready without the assistance of your mother.” The woman sighed. “C’mon, Jules, we’re going to visit your grandmother after church and if we’re not both spit-polished and perfect I’ll never hear the end of it.”
Julie lobbed her feet over the side of the bed and sat up, rubbing her eyes. “I don’t understand, Mom, why is Grandma so fussy about everything?”
“She was just raised in a very different time,” Mom said and she rummaged through her daughter’s closet hoping to find something remotely appropriate for the day. “She has a very specific idea of how women should behave, especially young ones like you. What happened to that pink dress we bought last month?”
“Wendy’s borrowing it,” Julie said. “It fits her better anyway. Can’t I just wear something casual, like, a pair of nice jeans?”
Her mother sighed. “Do you even have a pair of nice jeans? Why do you keep giving all your clothes away? I can’t afford to feed and clothe all your friends. And no, you absolutely cannot wear jeans to see your Grandmother. She’d die and I just don’t have time for a funeral right now.”
“Casey has a really cool grandma. Rides a scooter and everything. Even has her own Facebook profile. Why couldn’t I get a cool grandma like that?” Julie griped as she dodged the clothes her mother was throwing at her.
“Don’t you think I asked similar questions the entire time I was growing up?” Her mother asked. “She wouldn’t even let me leave for school without my dress gloves! I know you think I’m old, but dear, dress gloves were out of style long before I was even born!”
Julie sighed. “We’re not going to have to wear gloves, are we? I don’t have any that fit.”
Her mother picked up a brush and started trying to make some sense of her daughter’s hair. “No, we’re forgoing the gloves this trip, but you will have to wear hose, and that cross pendant I gave you for your birthday.”
“Hose? Really, Mom? It’s like a gazillion degrees out today! My whole body will suffocate! It’s not healthy! Besides, shouldn’t I be spending the day with Dad?” Julie pleaded desperately as her mother tore at her hair.
“Your father is delighted that we’re leaving him alone to watch the World Cup on television and drink beer in peace and quiet. He says that’s the best Father’s Day gift we could give him.” She finished brushing her daughter’s hair and then looked at her. “You know, you look so much like your grandmother. You really are quite beautiful.”
Julie sighed. “Mom, I’m not beautiful. My feet are too big, my hands are huge, and my nose is big enough for a flock of pigeons to roost. And I still don’t have boobs.”
“You are perfect in every way,” her mother said. “You’re still growing. Don’t worry, you’ll get boobs soon enough.” She paused, then added, “but please don’t talk like that in front of your grandmother. She’ll …”
“I know, I know,” Julie interrupted. “She’ll have a heart attack and die and we just don’t have time for a funeral right now.” She squeezed her feet into the heels her mother had set out for her, then put on the necklace. “Okay, I’m ready. Let’s go see Miss Primly Proper.”
Her mother handed her a purse. “Why don’t you put your iPod and some other things in here. I can’t promise how enlightening church will be.”
Julie laughed. “I bet I can guess what Grandma’s first words will be when she sees us.”
Mom smiled. “And that would be … ?”
Julie sat up, her back stiff as a board, mimicking her Grandmother’s stern look. “Young lady, where are your gloves? You’re hands are naked! Totally inappropriate!”
MODEL: [Joy Hamlin]