From 'Brides Wearing White' #3 Annie moves to town
Kathleene Runnels is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
“That Carol should mind her own business,” Annie thought. “She’s bound to be trouble. And I’m not really happy with Leroy. What was he doing here in the middle of the day anyway? And who would loan him his bike?”
Leroy had begun attending the same church as Annie, so when she saw him the following Sunday, she was determined to get some answers. But he smugly changed the subject by presenting her with his I-D bracelet, of course engraved with his name, and asked her to ‘be his girl’. On the one hand, Annie was thrilled, but she kept this uneasy feeling that something about Leroy wasn’t quite right. They talked about funny things that happened at school that day and other silly things, so she soon forgot that she was annoyed.
Again she was taken in by his easy charm, his mischievous smile, his twinkling blue eyes. So she agreed to wear his bracelet, but she did say she couldn’t ‘Go Steady’. Her dad had told her not to agree to go out with just one boy, especially one she hadn’t known very long, and surely not to get serious at such a young age.
The fall semester was drawing to a close. Annie had enjoyed her classes and most teachers, doing well in English, history, home-economics and typing, and doing better in algebra and science than she had expected. She had thoroughly enjoyed attending all the football games, and now basketball season had started. Performing at the football games and now basketball games was great fun, and she had become close friends with Lynda, Camilla and Margie. She was even able to deal with Carol, always relentless in her hatefulness, but Annie had learned to avoid her.
One of Annie’s favorite things to do was go to the local drug store and order banana splits. It was about three blocks from her house. Sometimes Lynda or Margie or Camilla or all of them would join her. The soda fountain had promotions where they put sticker prices on bananas and let the customers choose which banana they wanted. When the clerk pulled the banana and read the sticker, the amount on it was the cost of the banana split. Sometimes it was 75 cents, which was the going price for banana splits, but lots of times it cost much less. Once Annie got hers for just nine cents! The girls giggled and laughed. They told stories and talked about boys and had great fun.
Annie often went to that same drug store to buy film and flash bulbs for her Brownie camera. She just loved taking pictures, especially when her friends least expected it. She became a terror with her camera. It took quite a chunk out of her allowance to keep up that habit. And many times when she left her film to be developed or went back to pick up her pictures, she would stop at Donny’s Bakery for some fresh cookies. She just couldn’t pass by that sweet-smelling bakery without stopping in! Annie’s picture of life in the city, depicted so vividly in Archie and Katy Keene comic books, had come true for her. She was loving it.
But innocent and wholesome times are often tainted with dark moments. One day a rumor reached her ears about Leroy. It seems that Carol had found out from a friend who went to the same school as Leroy that he had been suspended from school for truancy! Of course, Carol delighted in spreading this tale, knowing it would mortify Annie. When she heard this news, Annie felt sick to her stomach. At home that evening, she told her mother, who immediately called Leroy’s mother. It would not have been proper for Annie to have made that call, since girls just didn’t call boys in those days of the ‘50s.
So, it was Mrs. Vane who found out that Leroy had indeed been suspended, but he would be allowed back in school in three days. He and his mother played it down as though it wasn’t such a big deal. To Annie it was a big deal because she was someone who played by the rules. Playing hooky and being untruthful was not what nice people did. But every time Annie considered breaking up with Leroy, he charmed his way back into her good graces.
It was soon Christmas, and Leroy gave Annie a beautiful drawing he had done of her, one he had been working on without her knowing it. She was so impressed at his talent. “Leroy,” she asked, “why don’t you do more of this? You’re so good!”
“Oh, I just draw for special people. And you’re about the most special person I know,” he said. Annie was pleased with the gift, but secretly she couldn’t let go of those nagging doubts about him.
Annie continued to see Leroy into the new year; but remembering her dad’s wishes that she not tie herself down to one boy, she kept her options open.