I've pondered whether to write this blog as it's invasive into my cousin's life who recently passed away. She was my cousin Linda. I have this photo of her as a youngster saved to my i-phone as my screen saver. It makes me feel better somehow.
She was a decade or so older than me so I didn't much pay attention to her as a young child except she passed down her comic books to my brother and me which was a pretty big deal out on the farm passing those long, hot summers.
I remember my father telling me a story about how she'd been invited to prom and her mother had taken her to get a nice dress, and then her father waited up with her, waiting, waiting, for the young man who never showed up to take her. Hearing the story devastated me, so I can only imagine what Linda went through to live it down.
It shaded her life I have found out. When I got with my other cousins after Linda's death one of them had been visiting her regularly in the hospital as she was being treated for inoperable cancer. She told me Linda had mentioned to her about the young man who'd asked her to prom and then never showed up. She'd said her life had never been really happy. I wonder where he is? Long dead? Did he ever have a pang of guilt about that trick he pulled? Was it a bet? Or did he just get cold feet? It was a small school so they had to see each other after that.
Linda's upbringing was very similar to mine I assume with the exception she got the comic books brand new. We were sheltered and kept close to our farm homes. She was shy and while being very well read and eventually class valedictorian she didn't go onto college but a business school. Her chances of meeting a different young man in school were nixed by her going to an all girl business college and then taking a secretarial job at a high school.
As I think back I think I was reacting to her prom story when I got a head's up a classmate I had a crush on was going to ask me to the Homecoming Dance. It was my senior year, and he was a junior and on the football team. We had home room at the same time or something like that. I guess he'd told a classmate who tipped me off that he was going to ask me so as I walked toward government class that day and saw him waiting outside the door I freaked out. I went up the down stair case and snuck down the up staircase to avoid him completely. I guess he got the hint.
Why did I clutch? Maybe it was I knew my Dad maybe wouldn't go for the idea of me going out with him? He drove a van! God only knows, but I hated myself for doing it but was incredibly relieved. It truly must have been a reaction to my cousin's being jilted on prom night.
Ultimately, I didn't go out on a date until my senior year in college. It is what it is. I supposed if I hadn't seen a counselor I'd have ended up like my cousin. But I forged a wonderful relationship with her after moving to Austin, and we would get together and go on outings together. We went to the 70th Anniversary of D-Day celebration at the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene, Kansas.
I suppose the upside for being jilted was that she was never sexually harassed either. She never put herself in a position to find out what it would have been like to be felt up, verbally sexually accosted, those sorts of things. Or if it ever did happen to her she kept it to herself. She was private that way.