By Bonnie McMillen
Girdles, think heavy duty Spanx with a metal clip you hook your nylons to. Think panty hose without the panty. I know—awful, and this was for all girls and women, whether skinny or fat, you had to wear the girdle because you must not jiggle or have a panty line. Only sluts had asses that jiggled. Your period was celebrated for five minutes then hated, reviled, hidden, surrounded with shame. Called the curse, Aunt Flo, your visitor, etc., etc., etc., etc. If you snubbed a boy he’d call out, “She’s on the rag.” No pregnancy tests, you waited and waited, made an appointment with an old white man OB-GYN, then were told it was too soon to tell. Thirty was old, forty was ancient, fifty was NOT mentioned. Sex was dirty. If talked about it was misinformation in whispers. The only way to enjoy sex, we thought, was to get married and fast. It was a race and no one wanted left behind. If we didn’t marry young all the good guys would be taken. This might help explain how your mother or grandmother ended up with that old grouch.
Bonnie McMillen is a native of Bradford and spent her younger years playing around the Harry Emery airport on Dorothy Lane. While working as Director of Student Health at Pitt-Bradford, she became interested in writing poetry and short stories. This interest has continued into a busy retirement. Abecedarian, Dear Harry Emery Airport, McKean County 1955, Tales from the Female Crypt