Then, in the summer of 1994, after fifteen years of “belonging,” we moved away.
Moving out of state really devastated me. In the past, when I heard women say things like that, I thought they were wimps. (Open wide, eat, and swallow hard.) It’s not that I couldn’t function—on the contrary, I threw myself into things full force. I was looking to belong—but there were no takers. I had always proudly proclaimed, “God is all I need.” When I left everything and everyone that was familiar, I felt the Lord responding “Really? Let’s see.” I later realized the lesson was not to torture me but to test me. The refiner’s fire can be very painful but it produces purity, strength and high value.
Enter “The Blonde Women.” I would like to go on record to clarify that my blonde women are not the blonde women from blonde women jokes. My blonde women are smart, sophisticated, articulate, talented, athletic, accessorized and very thin. Those are just some of the reasons I didn’t like them. Of course they didn’t know that. I always made sure I sent mounds of sloppy agape in their direction. I had never encountered the blonde women until we moved to Virginia. The thing that really bugged me the most about the blonde women was that they just smile and nod and smile and nod. I could never tell what they were thinking. Also, the blonde women never showed any real interest in my children. (Or in me for that matter.) They never hugged or kissed them. Amy Ciofrone used to suck my children’s faces and Celeste Avolese would pinch their cheeks (all four.) I miss that. Once in a while, a blonde woman will offer a pat on the head and comment on their dark “I-tally-ann” skin.
I shared some of my blonde women issues a couple of years ago during a ladies luncheon at a wealthy mainline church nearby. The very blonde audience laughed heartily as I shared my frustrations and they seemed to empathize with my difficulty adjusting. When my message ended and dessert was served (all on fine china) an elegant fiftysomething blonde woman made a beeline in my direction. I prepared for the worst. She came uncharacteristically close (for a blonde woman) and declared, “Darling, being blonde is simply a matter of time and money.” She winked, grinned knowingly, and walked away.
That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t drawn to the blonde women because they were different than I was. They looked, acted, spoke, smelled and walked differently than I did. And their names– even their names are blond! Linda White, Susan Jones, Lisa Smith, Pam Thompson, Catherine Wilson, Kim Short. (Straight off the roster of the D.A.R. –No relation whatsoever to Fellini.) I had spent almost four decades in settings where there was little or no diversity.