I saw Hazel the other day! She looked great!
In order to see why this is an amazing event, I need to tell you that Hazel was one of those people who moved confidently through the halls of High School. She had beautiful honey-blonde colored hair that was always in place. It poofed up nice and high and had the mandatory flip at the end. I don’t know this but I’m thinking that she must have used a can of hairspray every day. That hair could withstand a force four hurricane. She was petite with a great smile and always dressed appropriately.
Hazel was the kind of girl who could climb the ropes in gym class, play a rousing game of dodgeball, shower and come out of the dreaded morning gym class smelling like a summer breeze – and her hair never moved! She was in every organization at school and was an officer in most of them. She was a mover and shaker before we had movers and shakers. She had a date to every dance and danced every dance. The worst part of this is that she was really nice! She was the person I would have loved to really dislike but she was just so nice!
My problem was that she was the kind of daughter that my mother would have loved to have had. My mom’s dad was a dentist and her mom was the manager of his support group. Mom told of how every week she and her brother would be polished up and trotted out to the local upscale restaurant. Mom’s comment on these expeditions was that she hated the head-sized bow that Nana always made her wear. Nana’s campaign strategy to promote Grandpa’s dental practice involved Mom and her brother becoming involved in every activity available at their school.
Mom was in a special girl’s choir that performed at the civic clubs. She was nominated for horse queen and was photographed for a book about Kansas. It’s not that Mom enjoyed the notoriety – it’s that she didn’t have any choice about it! Nana knew just the buttons to push to get Mom to march to her tune.
As most mothers do, when I came along, the first born, Mom expected her family to be kind of like the family who raised her. Unfortunately, I had quite a bit of my dad in me. You remember him – the “Don’t Fence Me In” guy! Mom would always encourage me to become more involved in school activities but I always seemed to have my nose in a book. One year our local grocery store sold children’s encyclopedias – one a month. I’m not sure but I don’t thing that very many of us actually read those from cover to cover. They were fascinating! You see what a quandary Mom was in!
A campaign was started to try to get me into the program. Mom started when I was in Jr. High (Middle School for you youngsters!). Every once in a while would come this quiet voice: “Doesn’t Hazel look nice! She’s so involved in everything! Her family must be so proud of her!” My response would be, “Yea but I don’t think she’s read this great article on the Gauls of ancient France!” What does a parent do with a response like that?
All through High School came the refrain, “You know, you could become a part of the school like Hazel has. You’re just as smart and you have just as much hair – if you’d only use a little more hair spray!!” That argument was kind of interesting because a study had been done that said the hair spray would kill off all the girls. Right in the middle of suggesting that my hair would be more attractive if I used more hair spray, I sprang that study on Mom. “Mom! Hair spray is causing cancer in girls. They are dying off because they’re all using hair spray!” Mom started her rebuttal, “Do you want to be the only girl left on the planet?” At that point, we both laughed and decided that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Mom’s final attempt to bring me in line came when I was in High School. “You know,” she said, “when I was in High School, we had to belong to every organization or there wouldn’t be any organizations! We were a small school so everyone had to participate!” My response was, “My school isn’t that little! There are a lot of other students who can keep these organizations going!”
I know that Mom enjoyed my company and we had a lot of really great times together but I will tell you that I never quite trusted Hazel Fitzcup. It didn’t help when, years later, I was trying to get pregnant. Mom wrote me a letter saying that she had seen Hazel at one of the local basketball games. Hazel had looked really good sitting with her three kids. Mom said that she could tell that Hazel really l0ved her children.
So, when I said that I saw Hazel the other day, you can see why I almost turned in the other direction and ran away. I’m glad I didn’t. We started talking about what we were doing and our families. I asked about her kids and she got the sweetest, most tender look on her face when she told me where they were and what they were doing. Hazel still enjoys her kids! I was in a different place, however. I really liked gabbing with Hazel. I’d like to tell her that I’m really sorry I didn’t like her for so long but that’s not something you can discuss in the produce section of the local grocery store!
*This isn’t Hazel’s real name. I changed it because I wasn’t proud of not liking someone just because my mom liked her. Employers should take note: Don’t tell your current employees how they should be like a new hire!!