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We are thrilled to announce Piney Point High School's 10-year reunion on June 7, 2003, at 7:30 PM in Piney Point High's newly renovated gymnasium. Attire: Sunday best RSVP: Laura Moss 601-555-1515 PS: There will be a preparty at Shenanigan's in Hattiesburg starting at about 5:00 PM.
Wow. Ten years. As I read my high school reunion invitation a second time, I can't help smiling. Although I own one of the most successful businesses in my hometown of Piney Point, Mississippi, I've lost track of most of the people I graduated with.
Knowing the people I went to high school with, this is going to be one crazy event—that is, if everyone attends. I'm not surprised Laura added a preparty to the invitation. Her husband has never attended any social event before prepartying his face off—even in high school. Pete Moss graduated with the distinct honor of high school lush, and as far as I know, he continues to hold that honor, which is ironic since I don't remember ever seeing Laura touching a drop of anything stronger than her mama's two-day-old sweet tea.
I pin the invitation to the bulletin board beside the fridge. And for extra measure, I jot the date on my calendar. In pencil, just in case ... well, in case something comes up.
As I kick off my killer high-heels, I wonder if Maurice will be there. I sigh as I remember the guy who, in my mind, almost became my boyfriend. I used to stand in front of my bedroom mirror, practicing "looks." I think back and realize things weren't as they seemed, but I still wonder if he'll see me differently now that I've made something of myself. Not that I'm trying to impress anyone.
And I sure haven't impressed my parents. Quite the opposite. Still, I've taken a small-town beauty shop and turned it into a fabulous business—one of the most successful in Piney Point. And I'm not ready to stop there. I already have three shops—the original, which used to be called Dolly's Cut 'n Curl, one in Hattiesburg that formerly held the title Goldy's Locks, and the salon where my current office is located in Jackson. In honor of the first, they are all called Prissy's Cut 'n Curl, although I'm seriously considering changing the name to something a little trendier since I'm planning to expand. I mean, really, can you imagine anyone in New York City telling her friends she gets her hair done at the Cut 'n Curl? Besides, I hate being called Prissy.
I'll never forget Mother's reaction when she found out I'd dropped out of my first semester of college and enrolled at the Pretty and Proud School of Cosmetology. You'd have thought I announced I wanted to pledge Phi Mu or something. No offense to anyone in Phi Mu. It's just that Mother was a Chi Omega, and that makes me a legacy, which carries even more clout than being Miss Piney Point, something I never was. Mother would have had a fit if I'd even suggested entering a beauty contest. So when I met some of the Chi Omegas at Ole Miss, I was surprised by how many of them were beauty queens—something Mother never mentioned. Makes me wonder what happened to her between her Chi O heydays and now.
My parents are academics and proud of it. Mother is a professor of English, and Dad is head of the history department at the Piney Point Community College, but you'd think they had tenure at an Ivy League school the way they carry on.
I missed lunch today and my stomach's grumbling. But when the noise turns to hissing, I relent and pull a Lean Cuisine from the freezer. I know how to cook, but it seems pointless to do that for one. I also know that one Lean Cuisine isn't enough, so while it heats in the microwave, I grab a bag of salad and dump the contents into a bowl. Then I chop a tomato, grab a few olives, and pour a tablespoon of ranch dressing on top. I step back and study the salad before I squirt another tablespoon or two. The salad's full of fiber and the Lean Cuisine is low-fat, so I figure that balances out the extra calories.
Just as I'm about to sit down and enjoy dinner, the phone rings. It has to be Mother, I think. She's the only one who ever calls my house phone. I hesitate, but my daughterly duties overcome me. What if she needs something? I'd never be able to live with the guilt if I didn't answer an important call from the woman who gave birth to me after twenty hours of labor—or so she tells folks when they ask why I'm an only child.
"Did you get your invitation yet?" she asks without letting me finish my hello. "Are you planning on going?"
Leave it to Mother to know about the reunion before me. "Yes ... well, probably."
"There's really no point, Priscilla. After all, it's all about showing off all your accomplishments, and it's not like you've made all that much of your life."
I bite my tongue, as I always have. I want to let Mother know how I really feel, but talking back has never gotten me anywhere with her, so I somehow manage to keep my yap shut. She takes that as encouragement to keep going.
"That silly-frilly little job of yours will get old one of these days, and then what will you do?"
"Mother, you know it's more than a job to me."
She laughs. "All you do is decorate the outside of women—"
"Some of our clients are men," I remind her.
"Okay, so you work on the outer appearance of women ... and men. How does that really make any difference in the world? You could have been so much more than that, Priscilla. Your father and I—"
"My business makes a huge difference in a lot of people's lives. Our clients feel better about themselves, and I keep a couple dozen people employed so they can feed their families."
"Well, there is that." Mother pauses as she reloads. "At any rate, why would you even want to go?"
"Because I want to?" I can't help the fact that I'm starting to sound like an adolescent.
"That's a shock. Your father and I were wondering why you haven't shown your face in town in the past year. Then it dawned on me that you didn't want folks to see you wearing braces. I'm surprised you even have a salon left. You know what the mice do when the cat's away."
"I hire people I can trust," I tell her through gritted teeth.
"So are you going to the reunion or not?"
"Like I said, I'm not sure."
"Do you want your old classmates to see you in braces? After all, since you're so into appearances, I would think—"
"I'm getting them off soon, so that's not an issue." I suspect she's annoyed that I got braces for cosmetic reasons. I begged Mother to let me have braces when I was a kid, but after the dentist assured her it wasn't necessary for good dental care, she told me I was just being shallow. Throughout high school, I smiled with my mouth closed so people wouldn't notice my overlapping front teeth.
Mother lets out one of her long-suffering sighs. "Okay, well, if you do decide to go, give us plenty of notice so we can clear our schedule for your visit. Your father and I have social obligations, since he's the head of his department."
"Yes, I know." Ever since Dad's promotion, Mother likes to remind me of his position. And it's been at least three years. "Whatever I decide, there's no need to clear your schedule."
"You know you're always welcome to stay here at the house," she adds.
I wish I really did feel welcome. "Thank you, Mother." But I've learned to live with the tension.
"And don't forget to bring your church clothes. We're not like your church in the city. We still show our respect by dressing nicely."
"Yes, I know."
I hear Dad calling out to her, so I'm relieved when she tells me she needs to run. After I hang up, I lean against the wall and slide to the floor. Talking to my mother is exhausting.
* * *
On my way to the office the next morning, Mother's voice rings through my head. "Someday you'll thank me for this," she'd said when she dropped me off on the steps of my dorm at Ole Miss, her alma mater. She reminded me it's always good to start out away from home to get a taste of being on my own but with a safety net—as if I was arguing about where I was going to college. The real argument happened when I dropped out.
See, ever since I entered my teenage years, I dreamed of doing something with clothes and hair and eventually turn it into my own business. I never minded studying in high school if it meant making my parents happy, but college wasn't the path that would lead me to where I wanted the rest of my life to go. Just do it, right? Some of the most successful young entrepreneurs either skipped or dropped out of college. Look at Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
I pull into the parking lot of my Jackson shop and open the car door. And pause. I sit there and stare at the two-story, redbrick building with an upscale salon on the ground level and my office upstairs. This is the first salon I built from the ground up, and I'm mighty proud of its success in the two short years since I've been there. The Jackson newspaper did a story on me once and claimed I'm lucky in business. I might not have finished my first semester of college, but I'm a logical thinker and planner. I did a year-long study and determined this location had the most potential for growth. The old mansions in the neighborhood are being bought for a song, divided up and renovated into apartments, and sold for a fortune. Then there's all the twenty-something, fresh-out-of-college hipsters moving into those apartments. My success isn't luck—it's knowing what I want and being willing to work hard for it.
Finally, I get out of the car, grab my briefcase, and head up the side staircase to my office. Before I open the door, I know Tim is here by the fresh scent of Abercrombie and Fitch's latest cologne for men.
"Looky what the cat drug in."
"What are you doing here so early?" I toss my briefcase into the tiny office behind my assistant, Mandy, who is too busy opening mail and acting like she's minding her own business for me to think she's not getting a kick out of my annoyance. "Any messages?"
"Just got here, Prissy. You got a ton of mail from yesterday."
"I need to talk to the mailman. It's just not right for all our mail to get here after we leave."
"I know, right?" Mandy cuts a glance over at Tim then rolls her eyes toward me.
"So are you here for my order?" I ask Tim. He's still in one of the three chairs across from Mandy's desk.
Tim is a sales rep for his uncle's beauty supply company, and he covers most of the center of the state. If he gave all his customers the attention he gives me, he'd never have time to sleep. Even Mandy has noticed.
"I thought I'd take you to breakfast."
I fold my arms and arch an eyebrow as I study him. "What's the occasion?"
He shrugs. "I dunno. I thought maybe we could talk about your reunion."
"Are you kidding me?" I shriek. "You know about the reunion?"
"Um ..." He glances over at Mandy who shrugs and busies herself with some paperwork that's been sitting on her desk for a week. Finally, he turns to me and meets my gaze with challenge. "Yeah. I talked to Sheila last week when I stopped by your salon in Piney Point."
Sheila's the hairdresser I put in charge of the Piney Point salon when I left to open the Jackson office. "Why did you stop by there? I do all my ordering here."
If Tim doesn't stop shrugging so much, his shoulders will get stuck. "Old time's sake, and all that." He stands. "So if you don't have a date, I'm available."
Tim has a crush on me. We dated for a while, but after he started getting serious, I resisted all his advances. I have a business to run, and I don't have time for romantic distractions. Besides, the chemistry isn't there for me. "It's almost two months away. I have no idea what I'm doing that night."
He follows me into my office. "At least think about it. We've been friends for a long time, and you can totally be yourself with me." He holds both hands out to his sides and makes one of his goofy faces. "My mama taught me good manners, so I won't embarrass you. I know which fork to use for the salad, and I even have my own tux."
I can't help laughing. "You're kidding, right?"
"Yeah, you start with the outside silverware and work your way toward the plate."
"No, Tim," I say slowly. "I'm talking about the tux. You seriously own one?"
"But why?" I leave out the part about how he has always fancied himself a redneck, and even if he hadn't come out and said that, I would've known the instant he told me he owns every single book Lewis Grizzard and Jeff Foxworthy ever wrote.
All satisfied and full of himself, he replies, "It's from my stand-up comic days, back before I came to work for Uncle Hugh."
That explains a lot. "That might be rather ostentatious."
Oops. "Showy." He looks so eager to please, I can't tell him no right now. "I'll have to let you know, but first, tell me why my last hair color order is taking so long."
"I take it you don't want to go to breakfast?"
Excerpted from Pretty Is as Pretty Does by Debby Mayne. Copyright © 2013 Debby Mayne. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted September 29, 2013
"We are thrilled to announce
Piney Point High School's
on June 7, 2003, at 7:30 PM
in Piney Point High's
newly renovated gymnasium.
Attire: Sunday best
RSVP: Laura Moss 601-555-1515
PS: There will be a preparty
at Shenanigan's in Hattiesburg
starting at about 5:00 PM
WOW. Ten years. As I read my high school reunion invitation a second time. I can't help smiling. Although I own one of the most successful businesses in my hometown of Piney Point, Mississippi, I've lost track of most of the people I graduated with.
Knowing the people I went to high school with, this is going to be one crazy event - that is, if everyone attends. I'm not surprised Laura added a preparty to the invitation. Her husband has never attended any social event before prepartying his face off - even in high school. Pete Moss graduated with the dishonor of high school lush, and as far as I know, he continues to hold that honor, which is ironic since I don't remember seeing Laura touching a drop of anything stronger than her mama's two-day-old sweet tea." (pg 11).
As Priscilla Slater anticipates her upcoming high school reunion, she also hopes that she will run into an old high school crush as well, Marcus whom she hopes might just cause a spark to ignite between them. As owner of three beauty salons in the area, Priscilla sees herself as a success while her overbearing mother still believes she has sold herself short of what she could have become. Now armed with hope that she can hold her head high, she takes up invitation of her local beauty supply sales, Tim Puckett, to serve as her "date" for the event. Only Tim has hopes that he might just convince Priscilla that they would make a great couple together and he vows to do whatever it takes to make her see him as more than just a convenient date.
I received Pretty is as Pretty Does by author Debby Mayne compliments of Abingdon Press and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review. This is the first novel in the Class Reunion Series and anyone who has ever attended their high school reunion can probably relate to at least one of the characters in this book. The book is based around Priscilla Slater who can never be good enough in her mother's eyes no matter what she does, and the chapters alternate with each of the main players attending the class reunion.
Laura Moss who is the reunion chairperson who chases away all the other classmates who have volunteered to help her in the past due to her ability to expect things to be perfect. She is overworked and deals with the drinking of her high school sweetheart, Pete and their four children. There is also Trudy Baynard, the former Miss Piney Point who believes she still needs to uphold her good looks despite the fact that ten years have passed. She has recently divorced her high school sweetheart and husband, Michael who is living another life with his latest girlfriend who is much too young for him. What transpires over the book is sheer genius and I was captivated til the very end. I am also fortunate to have the additional sequels which I will be reviewing shortly, Bless Her Heart and Tickled Pink each showcasing a 15 and 20 year reunion respectively. I rate this one easily a 4.5 out of 5 stars and look forward to adding Debby Mayne to my author watch list.
Posted July 31, 2013
This is the first of Debby Mayne's books I have read, and the first in her newest series, Class Reunion.
Ah, class reunions. What a wonderful time to reminisce with old friends and to see how everyone has turned out, for better or worse.
The main character is Priscilla Slater, sometimes known as Prissy depending on who's talking. Priscilla has come a long way since high school. She's a very successful businesswoman, although she still lacks confidence.
Laura Moss plays a big part in the story as well. She was the vice president of the senior class and is the head of the committee organizing the reunion. Or maybe I should say she IS the committee since she's practically ran everyone off with her overbearing and bossy ways.
Trudy Baynard is one half of the beautiful couple. Unfortunately, the other half hasn't lasted. Michael decided to trade her in for a newer model and has her on an emotional rollercoaster that's barreling downhill fast.
From her negative attitude to her unibrow, Celeste Boudreaux is the social outcast. Or at least she was until Priscilla gave her a complete makeover. Now she's turning heads, including Pete's, Laura's husband.
The reunion brings all of these ladies back together. Although none were close, growth and maturity, and a string of humorous predicaments, have caused them to form an unusual bond.
Mayne develops a story full of laughs and a little heartache. She touches your heart with this inspiring tale of friendship, losses and the past you thought you left behind.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of women's contemporary fiction. Although not overly spoken about, there is talk about faith so I would also recommend to those who like Christian fiction.
*I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.*
Posted July 23, 2013
Debby Mayne pens "Pretty is as Pretty Does" in different and entertaining story lines peeking into the different lives and drama of the characters attending their high school reunion. This is the first book I've read by Debby Mayne and fell in love with her writing as it was crisp and fresh. Her characters were realistic and I could see some of my own classmates within them. I honestly can say I look forward to the next book in the series. A must read for all.
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author which was provided for an honest review.
Posted July 14, 2013
Talk of class reunions always brings a vast array of images and thoughts to mind - some good, some not so good. For Priscilla Slater her 10-year high school reunion will be a chance to show her classmates she’s no longer an ugly duckling. She’s traded her discount wardrobe for designer clothes, she has perfectly straight teeth, gone is her mousy brown hair, and she has a successful chain of hair salons. But her parents’ disapproval of her career doesn’t help her self-esteem. Once at the reunion, Priscilla discovers her classmates aren’t as she remembered nor have they changed in the ways she imaged. Receiving attention from the boy of her high school dreams, Priscilla realizes he’s not what she thought after all. The reunion organizer has overdone herself, while her husband does his self in by drinking too much and making a fool of himself. Having starved herself for the event, one woman passes out. The class beauty queen seems unshakable until her ex-husband arrives with his latest fling. Author Debby Mayne has created realistic and likable characters that will remind you of people you know. The characters are well-developed and a good blend of the typical high school class. PRETTY IS AS PRETTY DOES moves at a steady pace and story flows smoothly. The story is told from a number of view points giving more insight into the members of the class. Mayne also includes the viewpoint of Tim, a rep for a beauty supply company, who is enamored with Priscilla and is her date for the reunion. Mayne touches on the various aspects of attending a class reunion and does an excellent job showcasing how expectations drive people. The story is plausible and pulls you in from the first page. There’s a good mix of humor throughout the book that will have you smiling and even laughing out loud at times. Anyone thinking of attending a class reunion should be sure to read PRETTY IS AS PRETTY DOES first. It will make you see things in a whole new light. FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book as part of the author’s virtual book tour and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 8, 2013
Who hasn't had angst over attending their high school class reunion?
In Pretty Is As Pretty Does, author Debby Maynes weaves a realistic tale that follows five high school classmates' angst and anticipation of attending their ten year class reunion. Written in the first person narrative with alternating perspectives, the reader follows Priscilla Slater, Tim Puckett, Laura Moss, Trudy Baynard and Celeste Boudreaux as they prepare to attend their ten year high school reunion in Piney Point, Mississippi.
Priscilla was voted "Most Likely To Succeed" in high school, but she battles self-confidence issues even though she has lived up to the expectation and has succeeded in her life.
Tim has been in love with Priscilla since high school, but she hasn't felt the same way about him.
Laura is the class reunion's organizer, she has always been the one to volunteer and control everything, but one thing she can't control is her marriage to the class drunk.
Trudy was the prom queen and beauty pageant winner "Miss Piney Point", whose life is falling apart after her divorce from her husband Michael.
Celeste was the ugly duckling and wall flower in high school. She has always had disdain for people who fit in and had won awards. But now she gets a chance to fit in and feel like she's part of something when she helps Laura with the reunion committee.
Small town drama and personal issues abound when these classmates get together for their ten year reunion. Every person has their own goal for attending the class reunion: show off their success and appearance; curiosity of how their classmates' lives turned out; and reconnect with their classmates. After all the years have past, the angst builds of what they will discover at the class reunion: old classmates aren't the same as they were in high school.
This entertaining story will take you back to your own angst, expectations and memories of your high school class reunion. As the reader glimpses into each of the characters' lives, you will be able to relate to their struggles, successes, failures, mixed with laughter, tears, romance and heartbreak. Author Debby Mayne hits the nail on the head with her accurate depiction of the dynamics of a high school class reunion. The author easily draws the reader into the characters' lives, the events leading up to the class reunion, and the class reunion itself.
Pretty Is As Pretty Does is the first book in the Class Reunion series. The reader will get a chance to catch up with these classmates in the next two books in the series: Bless Her Heart and Tickled Pink, when they attend their fifteen and twenty year class reunions!
Posted October 18, 2013
No text was provided for this review.