So I'm Not Lady Chatterley, So Better I Should Know It Now A Story
THAT WAS THE summer her mother kept badgering, “Be a little modern. Smoke a little.” Which really meant, in her mother’s back-hand fashion, it was high time she got married and got out of there. Or, more precisely, that it was high time she got out, moved around the corner into, maybe, one of the flats over the butcher shop, and started producing… babies. They should have a little pleasure in their old age.
It was also the summer the family took a flat on the Avenue and her room, even four flights up, joggled with the streetcars and flashed with sharp pin-points of light, was an agony of sound and movement, and it was no use pretending like Virginia Woolf. It was the summer of her last year in college, the summer when, all men gone-or at least those without ulcers and families-she’d been awarded the “lobster trick” at the United Press and was, finally, from midnight to eight, anyhow, a newspaperwoman. It was the summer when she’d first discovered that, in Boston, there were plenty of mothers who violently forbade smoking and the daughters did whether or no, that her Irish friend from Salem (lace curtain) had been happily knocked up by a V-12 student from Harvard, happily because he was rich, too, and they would get married, leave Boston forever. That her tight-bound New England friend, frail and fragile, stood pining for her professor-at a decent puritan distance-whilst swooning through D. H. Lawrence, and insisting that she swoon, too. That the only fellows available for dating, in any regular fashion, were guys on the order of Leslie and Maynard who liked their own company better. It was the summer when she’d changed her name again from Dobkie to Dora to Dolly, and still felt there was something not quite right about the “Dolly,” she wasn’t the type. When she’d finished her first weeping opus titled “Mid Alien Corn” which was somehow related to herself and the Biblical story of Ruth in an obscure, symbolic, and highly rhetorical way. When, among newspaper people, she was gently learning to swear again, having- if not fully forgiven, perhaps reasonably forgotten-the days when the boys under the street lamp called her “queen of the shithouse.” It was, in short, a summer of war, and of girls approaching womanhood in a time without men and a place fast loosening an outworn restraint.
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