once upon a time


When I was little, I loved to play “pretend”.  Fairy tales have always enraptured me.  At night when I was supposed to be asleep, I would stand on my bed with the sleeves of my bathrobe tied around my waist to make a long, flowing gown.  I was always the princess in my pretend stories.

For many years, I was the princess in real life, too.  Although my parents divorced in 1970, a time when no one divorced, they remained friendly and I was impacted very little by the change.  We had little money, but we always had food and a nice home.  I never really knew how poor we were until many years later when I remembered my mom cashing her paycheck and putting the money into envelopes, one for food, one for the babysitter, one for rent, etc.  The food money often ended up in the babysitter or rent envelope, but I never went to bed hungry.  To this day frozen macaroni and cheese or a pot pie is a special treat for me.

I remember one year my mom & dad together took me to buy a new winter coat.  Mom picked out a practical fiber filled coat with a hood, not stylish, but very serviceable.  But I spotted The Most Beautiful Coat Ever.  It was red crushed velvet with white fur trim around the hood, the wrists and the bottom.  It was double breasted and had black frogs with gold buttons marching down the front.  It was amazing.  My heart ached for it, but it wasn’t practical.  I needed something for the playground, not something for a princess.

To this day, I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but somehow my dad convinced my mom that I should have that amazing coat.  My grandma gave me a little white rabbit fur muff to go with it and Nanny contributed a hat of white fake fur with pom poms on the ends of the strings that tied it under my chin.  I looked and felt like a little princess in that coat.  I was perhaps 7 or 8 when I got that, and I believe I had it until I was at least 13, though I had long outgrown it.

I don’t have many memories of getting something I really, really wanted when I was little, so this is one I treasure.   As far as I know there are no pictures of me in that lovely coat.  I wish there were.  I bet I looked really happy in them.