Sixteen was a very interesting age, you could work and actually receive a pay check. A thrilling rite of passage!
It was such a magical number! It seemed as if the adults were actually taking me seriously for the first time.
It was also a time that I became very easily embarrassed.
My grandmother, whom I loved dearly, worked in New Haven at the men’s YMCA where she was in charge of all the maids and (Back then the Y’s were like a hotel with many rooms for travelers) I was hired for my first job at Woolworth’s five and dime store.
My grandmother and I would take the bus together and then we would walk for a bit before I would go to work just around the corner while my grandmother would catch another bus to her location.
This one particular morning as we arrived in the center of the city, gram said to me, “Is my slip showing, it feels like something is sliding?” Well I looked at her dress and I see this white thing starting to skate down her legs. I was so embarrassed, time just stood still as the people walked by smiling.
I said, “Gram, it’s the sheet you tie around you when you make breakfast!” I am sure my tone was shrill and full of horror. She started to laugh but I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole!
As the sheet fell down the rest of her legs, she casually leaned on me to step out of it, as though it were perfectly normal. With so many people passing by on their way to work, my cheeks burned bright red with embarrassment, the heat flooding my face, and I just thought, how can this possibly be happening???
She nonchalantly stuffed the sheet in her large bag, gave me a hug and went on her merry way as though nothing had ever occurred.
I laugh about it now, but trust me, it was probably one of the most embarrassing moments for me as a teenager.