I had only been out of the bathtub about 10 minutes when this picture was made. After that birthday party, this dress was never the same. I never saw that little purse again.I first became aware of the Awfuls on the occasion of Jamey Awful’s fifth birthday. I was probably about four and totally ignorant of what birthday parties entailed. I only knew that Mother ruined a perfectly good day by calling me away from my sand pile to take a bath in the middle of the day, an unheard of event. I was disturbed especially since she insisted on washing the sand out of my hair. I’d just spent a good portion of the morning pouring sand on the top of my head, enjoying its powdery coolness showering down on my shoulders and the back of my sundress and saw no reason for her outraged reaction. “I told you not to get dirty. We have to go somewhere today.”
As far as I was concerned, sand was clean. Mud was dirty. Axle grease was dirty. Chicken poop on my shoe was dirty. Sand was white and dusted right off. It was not dirty. At any rate, Mother filled the tub with water and sprinkled in a bit of Tide Washing Powder and plunged me in. That was what passed for bubble bath at our house. I would have been content to spend the afternoon there, but she washed my hair and hurried me out, ruining another good time. Then she brushed my stick straight hair and stuffed me in a fluffy petticoat, a white fluffy dress with red and blue polka-dots, white socks, and sandals. Worse yet, I had to submit to a photo session. Mother was a novice with a camera making me pose forever, staring into the sun. She’d gone to a great deal of fuss making matching dresses for me and Phyllis for Easter and was extremely proud of the effect. Too bad the confection was wasted on me. When she’d said Easter outfit, I’d envisioned a cowboy getup.
Then she walked us over to the Awful’s house. I doubt Mother knew Mrs. Awful, since we’d never been to her house for coffee, even though they only lived a couple of houses over. I guess the poor woman was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find enough kids for a party, since I was a year younger and Phyllis was a couple of years older and neither had ever laid eyes on Jamey.
Mrs. Awful met us at the back gate. There were a dozen or so kids running round in the yard, so once Mother made Mrs. Awful’s acquaintance, she headed home, promising to be back for us in a couple of hours. Mrs. Awful ushered us in the back gate and the fun began. I was in Heaven!