Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kitchen stories: a word from Marci

Taking a little break here. This is from a letter from my Aunt Marci, my mom's youngest sister. She sent this letter after my mom passed away and I'm glad she shared this with me.

This is not a story about Lorna, but, as you will see, there wouldn't have been a story without her.

When she was eighteen Lorna worked at the General Electric. As do all eighteen-year-olds, she spent all of her money on clothes. One payday she came home with a pair of I. Miller shoes. Now I'm not talking just any shoes … I am talking a pair of navy platform sandals. At that time, I. Miller was the Mount Everest of Shoedom. And, the most expensive shoes that Wolf and Dessauer sold. (Wolf and Dessauer was the place to go for swanky clothes in Ft Wayne.)

The next payday she added a silky two-piece navy and white print dress and a navy straw fisherman's cloche. Now if you've not heard of that hat, it's nothing more than a version of a real deep sea fisherman's hat. The difference is Gene Tierney wore one in some movie and instantly every adult female in America was sporting one.

Now comes the good part. I had this adventurist spirited friend, Clare. Together we cooked p this plan to borrow our big sister's clothes and go do something … adventurist!

Lorna actually let me borrow the whole rig. I don't know how I talked her into it, probably agreed to wash her underwear for a year. Trust me, your mother was no push-over.

Comes the night. I don't remember what Clare wore, but picture this--a fifteen-year-old that looked thirteen, with a twelve-year-old body. I am arrayed in a dress that probably wasn't much more than a size too big, a hat half as big as I am, and those magnificent platform shoes.

No one was home when I left or I probably wouldn't have gotten out of the house (what do I mean probably). We meet at the street car line and downtown we go.

We go into the Berghoff Garden Grill, slither into a booth and order a "Tom Collins." To her everlasting credit, the waitress does not laugh.

A few minutes later, we have our two glasses in front of us, and we are prepared to be initiated into adulthood (six years earlier than the law allows).

I take a taste, Clare takes a taste.

"What does this taste like Clare?"


"Lemonade with Gin?"

"I don't know what Gin tastes like."

"I don't either, but I think we'd know if there was something besides lemonade."


"What should we do?"

"Drink it, pay the bill, and go home."

That's exactly what we did. We never told anyone, even till now, what we did. I carefully put Lorna's outfit back in the closet and that was probably the saddest ending to a great adventure.

The waitress at the Bergoff is still in the kitchen, laughing her fool head off.


  1. think about this teeny female in those BIG A** shoes just is so comical.


    wAS the Bergoff Gardens is Fort Wayne, what year was it?

    My husbands grandfather owned that.

    Great story!