This is, happily, the third October of this E-zine, and I just realized that I never told you guys my famous horrible kindergarten Halloween story! I could have sworn that I’ve written this at least once before, but I checked my archives, and even those of my former column for BeverlyHillsPeople.com, and it wasn’t anywhere to be found. So, here it is, and I have a feeling that you’ll all understand me a little better after reading it, at least in my anti-marriage stance. Here goes:
When I was in kindergarten, my mother woke me up one fall day with a cheery, “Today is the Halloween party at school, so put on your costume.” Even though I had been in school for a probable total of six weeks, I thought it was strange that the teachers hadn’t reminded us the day before, and sent home a notice about it. So, I asked my mother, a teacher herself, if she was sure. She answered something to the effect of, “I’m a teacher! Of course I’m sure!”
So, rocking my wedding dress costume, I walked the block to school, hardly noticing that I was the only one dressed-up. All of the kids on my block were older, so they wouldn’t be having anything as fun as a dress-up Halloween party in their grades. I pitied them for that.
But when I arrived in the basement of the building to line-up with my class, I finally did notice that no one else in even the kindergarten area was in costume. Yes, it happened—my mother got the date wrong! By a week! [Note: this is why even now, with my mother’s recent health issues, we can’t tell if her mind is somewhat altered. She’s always marched to her own drummer, more than anyone I’ve ever known.]
Imagine my humiliation. In school with my classmates for not that long in the scheme of life, and I show up in costume! OMG. The horror of it is still fresh, trust me. [Note #2: for those of you who are thinking, “Why didn’t her super-smart older sister stop this debacle by correcting their mom on the date?,” the answer is, I don’t know. I never asked her and I’m sure she wouldn’t remember now. Possibly she delighted in my pain even back then, (we just started getting along now,) or she was so many grades ahead that she didn’t even notice what was happening with me. Or she assumed my mother was correct, as well.]
My eight-grade line monitor wanted to do something to ease my pain, so she declared me a “beautiful bride.” Oysh. Even though I was the third tallest girl, which made my regular spot at the back of the line, she placed me at the head of it and had me chose my “groom” to lead the way up to the classroom with me. [Note #3: even though I always tell this story with mirth, I just got queasy, for real, writing about the groom part. I guess it still literally makes me sick.]
My real boyfriend, Russell Rubin, (whom I actually shared with two of my best friends, but as my January 14 birthday-mate, he and I had a special connection,) was, fortunately for him, absent that day, so I chose my number two dude, Robert Rosenberg. (I guess I had a thing for double Rs.)
Robert was really handsome, especially for a little boy, and gave me my first rabbit’s foot, in blue, which endeared him to me even more, whereas Russell looked just like Charlie Brown and gave me the same cheap ring he gave my other two pals. But Robert was short, and a few months younger than I, so he had to be only my back-up. (And I continued being attracted to only older men until just about a dozen years ago when it hit me: What was I thinking???)
I always still give Robert much credit for actually being happy that I chose him to be my groom that day! I cringe for him every time I think of this story, (which, strangely, is not just on Halloween.)
So, anyhow, we got up to our classroom, and I sat at my table crying. I still remember Rhonda, the second tallest girl in the class, patting my arm and inquiring kindly, “Girly, why are you crying?” Because I’m wearing a friggin’ wedding gown, you moron!!! Isn’t that obvious??? (Kindergarten was the only grade in elementary school where we weren’t seeded by brain power. Which explains why Rhonda and I were in the same class that year. I think that my future “one class”-mates would have been able to figure out the source of my misery with one glance. At least I hope so.)
My mother was off from her Junior High teaching gig that day, so the assistant principal called her at home to bring me real clothing, admonishing, “Mrs. Salkin, I’m surprised at you.” And that should have been the end of it.
But not for someone with my abnormally precise memory. I remember most events in my life with amazing clarity, which is great for the most part, but horrible for the painful events. (But that is a story for another time.)
The upshot is that, several years ago, I finally figured out my aversion to marriage—the thought of donning a wedding gown brought back my five-year-old’s pain! This was actually a fantastic revelation—now I can blame my mother for me wanting to stay single! Of course, I’m madly in love with Mr. X and don’t plan on leaving him ever. And, if he ever tried to get away, there would be hell, and a heck of a lot of money, to pay. So, that’s not the issue. It’s always been about my not believing in marriage. But it’s so wonderful to be able to blame my mother, the one who wants me to get married the most.
So, just like at this time of year, many families bring out their annual ghost stories, I trot this out. And trust me, it’s the scariest one I know.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! WHICH REALLY IS TODAY.