« Christmas in the Past | Main | Billy and Peaches - A Love Story »

Thursday, 31 December 2009

Hanes Black Magic

By Claire Jean

The closer it came to celebrate New Year’s Eve 1965, the more excited I became since it was a first for me to be with my soon-to-be husband on this festive occasion. Keeping in line with how I was feeling, I decided to go all out and treat myself by splurging on a terrific dress and accessories.

I purchased a fine cherry-colored sleeveless dress. The front hem of the dress was a trace shorter than the back hem which consisted of a rounded three-layered pattern. It was probably a perfect size eight but, I, nonetheless, took it to a seamstress to further its exactness.

I don’t remember my shoes but I am certain they were whatever the style of the time was and more. Also a push-up bra, false eyelashes and added hairpiece for an already thick head of hair were included.

Last, but not least, my final and most prized purchase was made - the highlight of my appearance that evening. In one of the higher-ended stores in Trenton, New Jersey, I explained my mission to the woman behind the hosiery counter (in the day when salespeople knew their stuff).

We agreed on the Hanes Black Magic Sheer Extravaganza black stockings featuring a striking black suede appliqué on the outer legs reaching from top to bottom; size 9 ½M; cost $7.50. My package was complete.

I spent the night before the big event at my fiancé’s aunt’s second and third floor apartment in West Orange, New Jersey. His family occupied the first floor. I was given the third floor that consisted of two bedrooms and one bath giving me ample space and privacy to put myself together.

The false eyelashes were always the most problematic. Getting them on correctly without the white glue seeping out and boldly declaring their falseness, in case there was any doubt, was an accomplishment worthy of note.

As I descended the stairs that evening to the first floor apartment eager to present myself to my future husband and his family, nothing could have prepared me for what came next. Perhaps in my obvious naiveté, rather than receiving admiration for my labor of love or perhaps self, I felt as though invisible rocks were being hurled at me before I even had a chance to step off the last step.

My future mother-in-law’s loud gasp and remark that followed caused my head to swirl. She indicated something to the effect that I reminded her of a common street walker. I don’t remember her exact words or that of anyone else that night.

As time passed and it became clear that I indeed was not a street walker, my mother-in-law and I got along very well and nothing was ever mentioned regarding that night.

The shiny white box featuring a large gold H on the top containing the pair of Hanes Black Magic stockings remains securely tucked away in my bedroom dresser drawer. They will turn forty-five years old New Year’s Eve 2010. I’m glad I kept them all these years. They remind me of a different self - no better; no worse, only different.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Hi Claire Jean,

What a great story. I loved it;especially the part about your Mother in Law and her remarks.

I'm sure that after she got to know you she felt terrible about what she had said.

How kind you were to never mention it again over the years. I know she appreciated that and YOU.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Wow! I was envisioning you in all of your carefully planned glamour...I didn't see it coming - the MIL remarks that is. Great story...

Hi Nancy,

Yes, knowing my mother-in-law, I'm pretty confident she regretted what she said...

Your comments are always appreciated friend.

I'm wishing you a wonderful 2010!

Hello Linda,

I guess you can say we were both shocked each in our own way.

Have a great year ahead!

Alas, Poor hopeful youth dreaming our Cinderella dreams while cruel reality awaited our next step.
But it was fun to imagine. We purchased the glamor and wore the cape of fairy tales, clicked our heels and headed out.
I didn't keep the the stockings [which were blue] or the box.

The comments to this entry are closed.