More dating in the 80s

I arrived at the Hartford bus station and took a taxi to the apartment.  I had one suitcase and a small carry-on bag, the nice driver carried the bag to the door, and I only paid the fare to my discredit.  I didn’t know you should tip. It was kind of fun living in the house.  We each had a bedroom and kitchen privileges.  The family usually prepared a meal and ate together.

I got to meet my father as he was living in Connecticut with his wife.  He seemed quite happy to see me and helped me get a keypunch operator job at Hartford Fire Insurance Company.  It was thrilling at first working in a great big city in a big company.  The computers situated on the other side of the file cabinets needed the cards that us “girls” created by punching holes in them depending on the use.  My great big pay was $1.58 an hour, unlike the two or three times the pay of the “Men” who were privileged to work on the other side. No girls were ever hired for that job.

It was fun in the beginning anyway.  I met Pat at work, and we decided to become roomies.  Our apartment was a 2 bedroom, one bath with a kitchen and living room on each end.  It was referred to as a “Railroad apartment,” but we didn’t care; it was all ours, and we split the $125.00 a month rent. I discovered that our ideas for cleaning were quite different.  On Saturday, when it was my cleaning day, I washed floors, cleaned the bathroom, and washed my clothes by hand in the large sink.  I hung them on the clothesline on the porch next to the kitchen.  We survived because we rarely ate out and took lunches to work; we had plenty of dates that bought dinner.  I did have to train Pat to get up in the morning!  She frequently slept late and just had to have her makeup perfect!  I left her “getting ready” and caught the bus, leaving her to pay the full taxi fare. 

We became friends more than roomies when Pat had a Pionital Cyst on the end of her spine.  I dressed that for weeks until it healed.  And as soon as that ordeal was over, I came down with an awful earache.  We didn’t yet have insurance coverage, so I went to the ER (in those days, you would be treated even if you were broke.  I was about 20 cents short of broke. 

I had to wait until they could fit me in for surgery by an Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor. The hospital sent me home with a prescription for enough Morphine to take down a Rhino.  When they finally okay’d me for surgery, I was skin and bones because all I remember was sleeping and taking pills. The good thing is I had the best ENT in Hartford, Conn., to do the surgery. He even forgave the co-pay from my Ins. It is a good thing I do not have an addictive personality because I would have been hooked. It was my first job, and I went under not knowing if my Insurance would cover the cost.  When I woke up, I swear I was looking up a long black tunnel, and at the other end was Pat shouting, “You are covered!” Great, I would not owe thousands of dollars. 

I finally came home with nearly half of my head shaved, but Pat did some magic with scissors, and I looked reasonably human. The Doctor did a great job! Now I had no more pain, and I could hear my watch tick.

The city girls didn’t like us “Maniacs” and did everything they could to make us miserable.  It didn’t work!  We come from strong stock.  They called us “Hicks from the sticks,” and we just laughed at them. We worked up a routine that killed them!  We played the hick thing up well in a kind of skit.  We exclaimed how wonderful it was to have that great appliance in the bathroom to wash our hair.  You lathered it up real good and then put your head down in the bowl and just push down the handle, and voila, you get more clean water. When they gagged and tried to explain it in words of one syllable that it was a toilet and not meant to be used for hair washing.  We said we knew that, but it could do our hair real good too! I think everyone knew we were putting them on, but they weren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer.

This is what a hick from the sticks looks like. Those are empty milk cans. Mom and Dad are priming the pump.

I never looked my age, and I found it strange that when a few girls were over for drinks, they sent me down to the liquor store under our apartment to buy beer.  They rehearsed me how to act and what to say.  I went into the store and stumbled over my words until the guy said, “You girls want some beer, right?” I mumbled “Yes” and handed him all our money.  He gave me back some of it and handed me a box of beer.  I turned and ran for my life.  My friends were as surprised as I was that we had a beer. That was when I learned what the meaning of “Paying Homage to the porcelain God” meant.  Unfortunately, I prayed more times than I cared to remember during that time. 

In case you didn’t know what a porcelain god was here is a picture!

Dating was a lot more innocent during that time, or we were a lot more innocent. Remember that I grew up on a farm, and the guys I met were amazed at my lack of knowledge of the perks of city life.  I’ll tell you more about that next time.

Published by Time Traveler of Life

Biography Creating worlds, characters, and wielding power like a madwoman, making my characters happy, sad, angry, and some of them with no redeeming qualities. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I sometimes laugh out loud when I am writing a scene, and I have been known to cry when one of my favorites has to die. I am a left-handed Gemini, what do you expect? Reading bedtime stories to my two children until they fell asleep or until they just told me to go away, was fun. Making up wild stories for my grandchild, and creating Halloween costumes from Cowboys to a Dragon, was another favorite thing to do. I missed that so much when they were grown, that I started writing. My yearly newsletters frequently were drafted third-person by my Love Birds, Miranda our motorhome, and by Sir Fit the White Knight, our faithful Honda. Throughout the years, some of my creative talents centered around writing letters of complaint expressing my displeasure with services or products. One crucial, at least to my Son, was a note to our local school bus driver petitioning her to allow him back on the bus. He was kicked off for making an obscene gesture at his buddy. I reminded her that it was not directed at her, and that “obscenity can be in the eye of the beholder,” kids use that gesture as a greeting. He rode the bus until he graduated. I loved driving my English teacher crazy. Leaving a “continued next week” at the end of my five handwritten pages required each week. He was one of many people that suggested I “do something about my writing.” I graduated from the School of Hard Knocks at the top of my class. After 30 years, in the trenches as a Real Estate Professional, I have found that truth is stranger than fiction. My books are filled with characters I met in that profession. Their names were changed to protect the guilty. Others were from people we met traveling around the country in Miranda, our Motorhome. I am married nearly 60 years to the love of my life, Shirl, and partner-produced two exceptionally talented children, and one grandchild who is our pride and joy.

12 thoughts on “More dating in the 80s

  1. I was always getting sick on drinks back in the day. Now I realize it was because we drank the cheapest thing we could afford. You never said what the surgery was for? Shaving half your head sounds very serious.

  2. Maybe I can top it up a bit. I also came from a small town, naïvely still believed in the good of human kind at my arrival. Well it did not take long before I got primed and realised cities are infested with con artists. My first flat had no hot water, the kitchen sink comprised the bathroom and the toilet was shared by four other tenants down the stairs. In winter the pipes occasionally froze shut. It took four hours to warm up the earthenware oven with those stinking pressed coal blocks. So most of the time I did not bother to heat the place, instead I stayed late at university or sat in coffee shops to study for my exams. In those days no one bothered you to move on as long you bought on cup of coffee or a beer. But those places were dirt cheep, allowing us students to save enough money away from our study allowances to spend two month a year in Greece or Turkey.

  3. I call it the porcelain throne, just about sums up my marriage to a narcissist! I am sorry to hear they gave you Maine-i-acs crap. I would love to visit Maine. I wonder if the CT folks were Masshole transplants? 😀

  4. That skit with the toilet for washing your hair is awesome! That they didn’t even realize you were tweaking their noses🤣🤣🤣🤣🔥

  5. Hi Ariana, It took them a lot longer than the girls listening to the skit to get that we were yanking their chain. It was a blast! I was a bad ass then and I am afraid I still am one. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Those of us from the country were never treated well by the city folks when we went there to high school. We just never fit in with their style of doing anything, but we survived and did well in life.

  7. They thought we were uncivilized and were afraid of us. I had fun living in the city even though we were paid starvation wages and looking across the file cabinets saw the “men” making livable wages, with chances of promotion to even better jobs. I had fun winning the war of the city vs country mouse.

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