Impressing With Boots & Southern Comfort

Ph.D Party and Southern Comfort

When my first husband, David was earning his Ph. D, he frequently asked me to type his handwritten papers for him. Due to the fact that I was not a good typist, I did not enjoy this task. After a particularly long afternoon of typing, I informed David that I had started replacing his words with things like, “as I said earlier, or “so forth and so on,” or simply “etc.” He almost believed me. At least, I had his undivided attention for a moment or two.

Each year, one of the U.T. professors in the doctoral program invited all of the students and their spouses to a Christmas party. At that time, I was teaching pre-school multi handicapped children. Joy was in kindergarten. My vocabulary had diminished to three-word sentences made up of one-syllable words.

Feeling terribly inhibited by all the Ph. D students and professors, I worked hard at curling my long, straight hair and applying extra makeup. The dress I wore was hemmed a little above my knees and I proudly wore white go-go boots. I was cute. No question about it. What I lacked in Ph. D mental ability, I made up for with cute. So I thought.

As David and I started walking toward the house, David saw a fellow student and his wife. “Hello Hi and Linda, I’d like for you to meet my wife, Barbara.” As David turned to gesture toward me, he realized that I had fallen into a hole. “Barbara, are you ok?” “Hell no, I’m not ok,” I replied. We took stock of my bloodied knees and ripped hose and decided no one would notice.

Once inside, I discovered a new drink called Southern Comfort. This drink was correctly named and gave me great comfort. Suddenly, David appeared at my side whispering, “You are talking too much and too loudly.” Gone were all of my intimidations. Wasn’t everyone riveted by my great ideas for dissertation topics? Shortly after that, we left.

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