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Waiting For Her Prince To Come
Dolores yearned for romance and those profane trysts in the night that she had read about in romance novels when she was younger. She wanted passionate kisses that would make her wiggle with wanting, and the taste of a tongue on her own. She dreamed of such moments throughout her early teens and waited impatiently, as she grew old enough with a body that matched her longing. She was sheltered by her parents, which made her unhappy. Although she loved them and knew that they loved her, she wished to be on less of a leash, and desired to be liberated. She felt jinxed by her name because the Via Dolorosa is a street within the old city of Jerusalem, believed to be the path that Jesus walked on the way to his Crucifixion. She wished her name were Esperanza, 'hope', as she would not feel cursed. However, Dolores she was, and sorrow was with her.
Because her parents owned a grocery store, they had to work long hours all week. When she was ten years or so, they left her in charge of taking care of her little sister, Elaine. The child died from pneumonia, and Dolores thought that her parents blamed her. In her mind, she believed that they held her responsible. Once, her father said, "God took the wrong child," and Dolores thought he meant that God should have taken her instead of Elaine. It never occurred to Dolores that he might have meant that God took the wrong child in the world, not the wrong child in their household. She carried this guilt as if Jesus carried the Cross-down the Via Dolorosa. Her guilt, combined with her desire for romance, consumed her adolescent years. Although Dolores was a skinny girl, she developed into a very shapely '36-24-36' woman! Her hair was curly auburn, and she had beautiful legs; yet, her greatest gift was her flawless complexion. She never had pimples or spots. Her closest friends, Toni and Norma, loved her, so they were not jealous of her beauty even though Dolores got most of the attention when they went out flirting. The three of them usually wore tight pull-on sweaters in the cold days or winter or light blouses in the summer, when they walked the boardwalk at Atlantic City.
By the time she was sixteen, World War II had begun. She was working full time in her parents' store, and yet she found time to flirt with soldiers and sailors on the boardwalk of Atlantic City with Toni and Norma, at least once every few months. Their first trip to Atlantic City was more than memorable ... Dolores was always slower than her friends were, and in trying to hurry she forgot to lock her suitcase. As a result, it broke open and all her clothing, including her panties fell on the floor of the bus station. Several passing sailors were eager to help repack her valise, picking up her delicate undies one by one. Although it embarrassed her, she also felt a little thrill that men were touching her lingerie.
On their first evening at the hotel, the gals wanted to celebrate their independence. None of them had never smoked a cigarette before, but they lounged on the bed, feeling glamorous, and puffed away. Of course, they all got physically ill. Delores and Toni took turns vomiting in the toilet, while Norma used the sink. The rest of the week went better, as many sailors bought them dinner and walked the boards with them. The ocean breezes were mixed with the smells of hot dogs and the aroma of perfume. It was a time of war, but their little vacation was medicine for their sickly souls. They were all 'good girls,' though, so 'going all the way' was not an option. They engaged in "heavy necking" and "petting." This allowed them to have erotic contact with the men, letting them feel their breasts, but always stopping before it was too late. Dolores squirmed with desire and her toes would curl up in the excitement. As they exchanged stories about their dates, she knew that her friends did the same; however, they, too, would all still be virgins on their wedding night.
The men always took their addresses to write to them while they were off fighting the war. Dolores sent one of her boyfriends a birthday present, but fell into hysterics when it was returned due to the young man's death. War was a horrible step in the life of Dolores, as she knew death from her sister's passing, and now she knew death due to bullets, bombs, and other atrocities. Yet, she continued dreaming of a rapturous love affair, and a white-gown wedding in her future. Along the way, she met a handsome man, Julian, and got engaged to him. He was from Alabama where his family had developed a good reputation and acquired a little wealth. Julian loved her, and he even sent her beautiful silk material for her to have a tailor sew a wedding gown for their wedding. He wrote to her, called her, and loved everything about Dolores. She also loved him, or at least she thought so. Her mother nagged her about Julian. Since she lost one child, she did not want her to move to Alabama. "There are snakes there that will crawl into your bed with you at night" was her constant mantra. After enduring her mother's warmings, she began to change her mind.
One day, while she was taking the trash out back from her parent's store, she saw a man whom she thought she recognized. He was also taking out the trash from the A & P store where he worked as a clerk. "Rocco!" she blurted out.
Although the young man was not whom she thought he was, he played along with her. "It's nice to see you again," he answered. They chatted for a few minutes when he asked her out on a date. Still assuming that he was Rocco, a sailor she had met a year ago, she said yes. It was not until they were at a restaurant that he confessed his playing along with her. "My name is Ludovico, not Rocco. I hope you're not angry at my little charade."
Giggling she answered, "I don't mind your teasing me, I'm just not sure if I can handle your name." He looked a little offended. She continued, "May I call you Snubby instead?"
"Because you have that little snub nose!"
"I don't mind, but can I change your name, too? I'd like to call you, Dolly Belle since you're so beautiful."
They both laughed and both agreed to accept their nicknames. Ludovico told her to order anything on the menu, but he lied and said that he had already eaten at home. He did not want her know that he was poor and could not afford to buy two meals. Because he was hungry, when the food came, he picked a little off her plate.
"I thought you ate already."
"I did," he said. He knew that Dolores' family had money and his family was poor. Her parents owned a successful grocery store, and they owned their two-family home, which provided rental income. Her mother had good taste in draperies, China, and she possessed a flair for decorating. This would be a severe contrast to her new boyfriend's tenement apartment that had only one bedroom and the toilet was down the hall and shared by another family. Snubby told her that his bedroom was a closet with a small single bed stuffed into a corner. They had two very different backgrounds. Yet, he hoped she would like him enough to accept another date. After dinner, he drove her home in his little beat up car. Before dropping her off, he pulled the car near the curb. He reached over to kiss her, but she pulled away.
"Hold on there," she said while he looked embarrassed. She loosened her clothing. "Let me get comfortable first." His eyes widened with joy. He kissed her with tenderness but passion. He was careful to glide his hands around her body without being rough. She definitely enjoyed his maneuvers and her toes curled up as they "smooched" her favorite word and favorite thing to do. She considered smooching her hobby.
When Dolores got home that night, her mother was waiting up for her. "What is this new boyfriend like? Does he have a good background?"
She replied, "I don't know, Momma, I only know that he works in the A & P." She was being evasive, as she knew that her mother would disapprove of his being poor. "He brought me to Mario's Restaurant and I ordered steak." She did not bother to tell her mother that he only ordered a meal for her and not for himself. Yes, there was a severe contrast in their lifestyles. Yet, Delores was already falling in love with him, so she would have to avoid any confrontations with her parents until they were serious about their relationship.
After a month of their dating, Snubby proposed. She had not even written to Julian to break off their engagement when she accepted and took the small diamond engagement ring from her Snubby. She decided to write a short letter to clear her conscience. "Dear Julian: I want you to know that I'll always love you, but I can't wait for your return. I am breaking off our engagement. I wish you well in life. Always, Dolores."
Within a few weeks, Julian responded by calling her. She did not have anything to say except, "I'm sorry, but I fell in love with someone else. I am really sorry." He wept while she spoke, and he pleaded for her to reconsider. Oddly, even though she broke off their engagement, she kept the silk material that he sent her, and she kept his photos for the rest of her life, looking at his handsome face from time to time.
Snubby continued to take Dolores out to nice restaurants, ordering her anything on the menu that she desired, picking a few things off her plate for himself. After their meal, he would park somewhere quiet and they smooched and petted for hours. He often sang a Sinatra song, "How I Love the Kisses of Dolores" and she swooned at his romancing her. After six months of loving each other, it was time to set a date for their wedding, pick out a wedding band, and bridesmaids and ushers. Dolores's wedding gown was satin with a fitted bodice. She selected pink gowns for her wedding party. Up until the week before their wedding, Delores still had not seen Snubby's parent's apartment. The only time that she met them was when Snubby arranged a meeting at her parent's home. That little gathering was far from perfect, as his parents were dressed rather shabbily in comparison to hers. Dolores assumed that their families would not be harmonious together, but love is the driving force in life – human life, animal life, and Christian life – so she ignored the possibilities of friction and headed straight for the altar with her Snubby, her boyfriend, her lover.CHAPTER 2
The Passion, The Passion?
Their wedding day was glorious! Her two best friends, Toni and Norma, were in her wedding party. Snubby had his close friends from the poor side of town as his ushers. The colors of the bridesmaids' dresses were accented with flowers, and they all had flowers in their hair in keeping with the theme of a love garden. Dolores' gown was also accented with flowers. Everything was perfect — almost. The exception was that both her mother and his mother wore black dresses, which was considered bad luck to wear at a wedding. It was morbid, to say the least, and this upset Dolores. Yet, she was all aglow while stating her vows, and she looked angelic. She could not take her glance away from her new husband. He was truly handsome, as handsome as she was beautiful. She felt thrilled when the priest pronounced them man and wife. "Man and wife," they would be throughout her life.
After a brief reception at the banquet hall, the newlyweds, along with Toni and her new husband, went to Atlantic City. Dolores wore a pale cream suit, and the four of them had drinks before the newlywed love birds said goodnight and went up to the bridal suite. Dolores took her time in the bathroom, making sure that her negligee was perfect before stepping out and into Snubby's arms. He seemed a little nervous, but after they had some long kisses, he relaxed. Whether it was her experiences reading romance novels in her youth, or maybe it was her fear of the initial breaking of her virgin shield, but she did not find the joy that she had anticipated. Oh, she loved her new husband with her whole heart, and she enjoyed the kissing, the stroking, and all the stimulation that he gave her, but she did not feel that ultimate floating sensation that she had dreamed of. Of course, she did not let on that she was disappointed, and she showered Snubby with love and hugs. Yet, her heart was breaking. It was like opening a long anticipated present with lots of paper, bows, and sparkly stuff only to find nothing at the bottom of the box.
She kept a smile on her face throughout their honeymoon even though she was feeling unhappy. As much as she loved her husband, she wondered if she would ever have the rapture that she dreamed of. She blamed herself, of course, for not being able to reach ecstasy. Certainly, Snubby had premarital sex, as most men did, so it could not have been his fault; yet, she was raised in the strict Roman Catholic tradition that mandated virginity on her wedding night. So many times when she was flirting and smooching with the sailors on the Boardwalk of Atlantic City, she almost climaxed when her date would rub her body here and there...she dreamed of going further, but she always stopped before they got too far. This was the way that it was, and she accepted it. Yet, in her dreams she was having frantic sex with some young sailor or other, it did not matter whom. When she was engaged to Julian, she swooned so much as he felt her body, all over, and she experienced an intense vibration right in the core of her being. She would always wonder if Julian could have brought her to the peak of floating, far off the surface of the planet!
After their honeymoon, they got back into their working routines. Dolores continued helping her parents at their grocery store, but only part time, and Snubby remained a clerk at the A&P. Because he wanted to buy a home of their own rather than renting, he also stocked shelves in various stores for the Gerber Baby Food Company on his days off. Furthermore, he helped his Uncle Nunzio sell shoes and jewelry that 'fell off the truck' even though it was illegal. He wanted his in-laws to see that he was a good provider and not just a man from the poorer side of town. He had "A" grades in High School, but he needed to work rather than pursue college. He wanted to put his footprint in this world by being a good husband, one whom worked as many hours that he could
Despite his working overtime, they had wonderful weekends. Saturday nights, they would go out with Toni and her husband, and Norma and her fiancée. They often went into the City, to the Copacabana, or to some of the local dances in their small town. Their love flourished, but they ignored responsibility regarding using protection when making love. Within a year, Dolores was pregnant. Although she was excited to become a mother, she was apprehensive, too. Would Snubby's income support them? She guessed that most of the household income would be his doing because she would have to be a homemaker, tending the baby, cleaning their home, and cooking their meals ... This was the way it was in the years approaching the 50's. Men worked, and women raised babies. She also worried that their lives would become so occupied with baby chores that their social life would end ... No more dancing, shows, or event cocktails with their friends. She was greatly relieved when Toni announced her pregnancy. At least she would have someone close to her to share baby stories, and someone else to dream of better times ahead.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "After the Lilies Have Wept, and the Ashes are Swept by the Wind"
Copyright © 2018 Professor Sherri Pavone Vanhouten.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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