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Married . WithOUT Children

Heidi Rice

From the tone of Marianne’s voice, I could tell she was very upset as we spoke during one of our daily morning phone conversations.

“I can’t believe it,” she moaned. “I just absolutely can’t believe it.”

I was at a complete loss for what to say to make it better or to change anything.

“Can you believe I just dropped my baby off for her first day at high school?” she continued mournfully. “How did she get to be in HIGH SCHOOL?”

“She ate her spinach?” I offered, unable to come up with anything else. “She did her homework and passed the first eight grades?”

I thought about her daughter and remembered when she was just a toddler. And now she was a beautiful young woman – a teenager – and she was growing up fast.

“Wow. . That means pretty soon she’ll be going to Homecoming and then proms and then graduation. .” I mused out loud. “Hey, what are you going to do when she moves out and gets her own apartment?”

“Would you STOP IT?” Marianne interrupted. “What are you trying to do? Make me CRY?”

“No, you did that last week when you had to shell out all that cash for back-to-school clothes and supplies,” I pointed out.

I had been floored when Marianne had described this year’s back-to-school fashions for girls – hip-hugging, bell-bottom jeans, gauze shirts, lace-up tops and platform shoes.

“HIP-HUGGERS? BELL-BOTTOMS and PLATFORMS?” I challenged. “Are you sure? That’s what WE wore in high school!”

“I know,” Marianne agreed. “If I’d just saved all my clothes from the ’70s, I wouldn’t have had to spend a dime!”

Next thing you know, they’ll be listening to disco music. .

“And the boys are wearing Vans and Chuck Taylor tennis shoes,” Marianne informed me.

I haven’t seen a pair of Vans since Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) wore them in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Then again, husband-head has never given up his beloved “Chucks” and was thrilled when I told him later what Marianne had said.

“Really?” he said with a big grin. “I’m back in FASHION? Cool!”

He then recounted a story about the time he gave his girlfriend a pair of red Chuck Taylor’s for Valentine’s Day.

Needless to say, they broke up.

But not only are school clothes more expensive these days, school supplies can pinch a parent’s pocketbook as well. Pencils and paper have now given way to high-tech computers and printers.

“Don’t you, like, just want to STRANGLE that guy in the Dell computer advertisements?” I asked Marianne. “What is he, anyway? A Spicoli knockoff?”

“Yup, and if he says `dude’ one more time and does that weird thing with his hands, I’m going to throw up,” Marianne said truthfully.

Nevertheless, the high school years are a formative time in a young person’s life that will be remembered and cherished forever. Personally, all I remember is the wallpaper print on the principal’s office wall. .

And neither will I forget our class trip to Hawaii when the senior class president – who had a straight-A grade point average and was valedictorian of our class – had a fling with Don Ho. .

“Wow. . What if your daughter acts anything like US when we were in high school?” I asked Marianne.

“Shut up,” Marianne said firmly. “That’s not going to happen. She’s a good girl and gets good grades. I just hope she doesn’t make friends with anyone like YOU. .”

Hip-huggers, bell-bottoms, platform shoes and Clearasil .

Where did the time go?

“Pretty soon she’ll be getting her driver’s license and having boyfriends, you know,” I told Marianne. “You can’t stop it. .”

The line went dead, and I’m sure it must have been a problem with the phone company. .

New Castle resident Heidi Rice’s column appears every Friday in the Post Independent. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice. com.


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