GRABBING THE RING!
ANNE'S AWESOME AUTUMN
My first encounter began on
a warm fall afternoon in October, 1956, a day I always will remember.
I was in 8th grade and in every class, I was surrounded by girls in bouffant dresses and petticoats. Some girls claimed they wore as many as six petticoats! But they never showed them to boys! Girls were so lucky.
On that October day I stepped off the school bus and crunched through the autumn leaves up to our big house. I loved the sound because it was like starchy petticoats.
All day I had dreamt of my
weekly ballroom dancing class. Girls sat across from us boys so we got a great
view of their legs surrounded in stiff lace. It was like they were in crinoline
nests. Whenever we took a break, the girls ran to the bathroom to count and
compare petticoats. I stood so I could watch when the door opened. I got
glimpses of the girls lifting their skirts. They counted just the edges,
thumbing through the layers.
I wanted to feel what they
were feeling. Maybe today would be “the day”.
I knew no one would be home. Dad was at work. Mom was at Bridge Club and would not return for three hours. I had my house key. I had my plan. I opened the front door and quickly relocked it. Trembling, I entered what even then I did not realize would become a new life.
For over a year I had urged Mom to buy a crinoline. She really needed a petticoat like all her bridge friends wore to wear under her new Christmas dress. We had plenty of money. She could afford one or two petticoats. Her new Christmas dress was a bouffant, princess-style design by Ann Fogarty. Red. Expensive. Spectacular. But mom said “no” to buying a petticoat. And I did not know why.
Together mom and I would
watch the Lawrence Welk show every Saturday night. I pointed out that ladies
like Alice Lon wore “straight slips” beneath their petticoats, but did not know
Mom responded, “You sure pay a lot of attention to petticoats” don’t you?"
I blushed and said, “Yes”. I knew then she knew about my obsession.
Then came that evening in
September 1956. My parents had picked me up after a marching band rehearsal.
They had been shopping. Beside me in the back seat I saw a flowery shopping bag
poufed out by what just had to be a petticoat! As I reached over to open the
bag, my dad shouted, “Ddon’t touch that”. So dad knew about my obsession too!
My mother grabbed the bag and a flash of scalloped lace and net confirmed my
guess. But once home, that bag disappeared into her closet.
It’s a long time from October to Christmas. Mom would not wear it until then. I could not even see it. I began to plan how to wear her petticoat even before she did. Of course it had to be a day she was not at home.
After locking the front door behind me I called, “Anyone home?”, just to be safe. Silence. So I knew I had maybe a few hours to have my first chance to wear a real petticoat! I hung up my coat, put away books and flute and took off my clothes. I did not have any girl’s panties and was afraid to try on Mom’s. Then I ran into my parents’ bedroom, sliding open Mom’s closet. Her new petticoat swayed directly in front of me. It was bigger and stiffer than I thought it would be. I carefully unclipped it from its clothes hanger. It swayed stiffly in my trembling hands, prettier and more feminine than I imagined it would be… a lacy, scalloped top layer over a stiff net layer with a lace flounce and another layer edged in satin ribbon. Pinned to the first layer was a satin ribbon and bow with a rose.
I picked it up and it brushed against my legs. I pulled the tricot yoke up to just above my waist so it would not show under my skirt. The net layers tickled!
I was dizzy. My nose started
to run. That always happened when I got excited. Other things too. I looked
in Mom’s big mirror and saw me standing in a bouffant petticoat belled out
around my waist. The look and feeling were delicious. Time to try the dress!
Mom’s new Christmas dress
was fully unzipped on the hanger. It easily slipped over my head, but I was too
tight in back. I could never zip it up, but I easily got my arms into the
quarter sleeves. I figured the dress would look okay. Its waist fell below my
real waist so the skirt looked even fuller. This poufy dress would be loved by
any girl in dance class or my school.
In our living room I whirled and whirled, skirt spinning around me in a circle along with three layers of petticoat! The breeze and a net waterfall brushed my legs. I had not expected that! So this is what they felt! I was “turned on” in a new way.
Carefully scooping the skirt and petticoat beneath me, I sat down in the big chair by the fireplace. The crinoline must be showing a lot I thought, but I couldn’t really see it. I felt warm beneath the skirt. As I sat there I understood why some girls said their crinolines were uncomfortable, chafing their legs and even cutting nylons. To me it felt wonderful. But I now understood why those dancers on Lawrence Welk would wear straight slips under their petticoats.
“This is how girls must feel all the time,” I said aloud, dancing around the living room. But it was time to put everything back. There would be other times.
hung the dress facing just the way I found it. I clipped the petticoat to its
crystal plastic clothes pins and closed mom’s closet. She would be home soon.
That awesome autumn day began of a new life for me happier than I had ever had and one I did not know then that I would still enjoy today.
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