Before I start this story I would like to say thank you to my best friend Arlene. If you read Best Friends last week you know that I didn’t use Arlene’s name. I didn’t want to embarrass her so I used the name Maggie, noting that it was not her real name. I received a telephone call this week from Arlene. She read the story and told me she loved it. I was also told feel free to use her real name. Although we do not live in the same state any more we remain as close as ever. So I dedicate this one to Arlene.
The stories that I tell in this series span over a period of many years starting in about 1967 to the present.
It was summer time in Mt. Vernon N.Y.. It was hot and Arlene and I were bored to death. We were sitting around and thinking up ways of making money. but this time we wanted to make big money. I don’t remember how we got on the subject but we started talking about drawing and painting pictures. Right then and there I could almost see the big light blub go on over her head.
” Hey, why don’t we go into town and get some jobs painting store windows for Christmas.”
” Uh, what makes you think I can draw, or paint for that matter.” Was my reply.
” I can draw and all you have to do is fill in my outlines with the paint. All the shops and businesses get their window’s painted for the holiday’s. We can make a fortune.”
” I am game, as long as I don’t have to draw anything, my limit is stick people.” We started laughing.
” Don’t worry, I will do all the drawing and all you have to do is help me fill in with the paint.”
Off we went to town. We wanted to get there before any of the other artists secured the jobs. I myself did not anticipate that we would secure anything other than people thinking we were nuts. Arlene however was sure we would get jobs. To my surprise we did get jobs from several shops and even the gas station. We were so excited because we were going to make about $300.00 per shop. I could not believe it, we could not believe it. It was the topic of our conversation for the next few weeks. We had big plans how to spend the money we would make. We also did not tell our husbands about it. They thought we were nuts as it was, if they heard this one they might have put us away for good. It was our secret. Beside the fact that it would mean we could go to Bingo for weeks. We loved going to Bingo, yes we were only in our twenties but we had a thing for Bingo.
The summer dragged on. One morning toward the end of summer Arlene called me on the telephone and told me to come over to her house as soon as possible. When I arrived she announced that she was pregnant. I was so happy for her. Her daughter was beautiful and now another baby was on the way. As the weeks went on Arlene had terrible morning sickness, afternoon sickness and evening sickness. We thought it would pass after a while, but it did not. Thanksgiving was fast approaching, we were suppose to be starting our painting for the Christmas season. Arlene was having a rough time with her pregnancy and advised me she would not be able to do the jobs we had lined up.
” What are you talking about, we have all those people thinking we will be there.”
” I can’t do it Pat, I feel too sick.”
” So what are we suppose to do now?”
” Oh don’t worry about it, they probably forgot about it anyway.”
” We should at least go tell them that you can’t do the job.”
” Okay, I will tell them.” she replied.
I was disappointed, but I understood, and as long as Arlene was going to cancel everything it would be fine.
One day after Thanksgiving I arrived home and my husband told me a man called looking for me.
” Who was it.” I asked.
” It was the guy that owns the Gulf station in town. He said something about you were suppose to paint his window for Christmas. He wants you to call him. What is this all about?”
” Oh nothing. What did you tell him.”
” I laughed and told him he must have the wrong number because my wife can’t draw and she sure does not know how to do paintings. So what is going on. Did you tell him you would paint his window?”
” Well, Arlene and I were going to paint windows to make extra money for the holiday, but now that she is pregnant she is to sick and we won’t be able to do it, but don’t worry I didn’t give him my last name so he really doesn’t know who I am.”
” Pat, you and Arlene are nuts the both of you belong in the nut house. Stop coming up with these idea’s.”
I asked him if he would drive down to the Gulf station and tell the guy we couldn’t do it because Arlene was not well.
” No way.”
” Oh come on, you go there for gas anyway.”
” Not any more I won’t, thanks to you and your girlfriend.”
The owner did call my house a couple of times after that, but I just told him he had the wrong number and hung up.
We didn’t make extra money that year, but Arlene gave birth to another beautiful baby girl.
Next week, Gone With The Wind.