As a little girl I loved the rush of a party – the lead up to a festive day with girly dresses and balloons and loot bags and cake and gifts all packaged up with lovely bows and pretty paper. Sometimes it was so pretty that I hated to tear it off, but I still did, of course.
The fun of a party didn’t dwindle as I got a bit older. In fact, as a young girl I loved to host parties and my parents, especially my father, loved to get right in there and make them the best parties on the block.
I remember a Halloween party when I was about 14. My father somehow acquired a big metal basin and we all took turns bobbing for apples. It was so much fun to get wet when you stuck your head in that tub of water and then to have mom waiting with a fresh towel to dry your head was heavenly. Everybody had a great time. I can remember a few Halloween costumes that mom helped me put together. I think on this occasion I wore one of her bright printed skirts and a peasant blouse, lots of beaded necklaces and bangles and a scarf tied on my head to make me a gypsy-lady. It was glamourous and funny all at once.
When I had my first boyfriend in Grade 12, I decided that I wanted to have a Christmas party. My parents were cool with that as usual and so I set out to invite a group of my friends. I attended a Catholic all-girl school from Grade 9 until 11, before switching to the local public high school for Grade 12 and 13, so my selection for the Christmas party was rather an odd bunch of kids from my different classes who didn’t really know each other well. I had friends who were geeks, friends who were artsy and friends who were popular and sporty. I even had friends who spent a good deal of time in the smoking area at the back of the school (even though I myself was not a smoker). My boyfriend and his best friend (who happened to be my best friend’s boyfriend – are you still with me?)both came from neighbouring high schools and of course they were invited too.
What I remember of this particular party was that everybody had a really good time– the music was fun – a mix of new wave and progressive rock, and the snack food was good – chips and onion dip made from sour cream and onion soup mix, cheesies and pop from the Pop Shoppe, a fun store where every variety of soda pop imaginable was available and came in small, stubby bottles.
The other interesting thing I recall is that 3 couples emerged from that eclectic group. The mix of types ended up like being an episode of The Dating Game and a few people went home very happy having made a love connection with somebody new. My boyfriend gave me a sweet, heart necklace with rhinestones and I had a very good Christmas that year.
Since that party went so well, when I entered my first year of university, I decided to throw another party for the new friends I met. My boyfriend from the Christmas party was old news and I was free and single. I was into dancing at the Blind Duck Pub on campus and the latest album was Human League’s, Dare. It was around St. Patrick’s Day so I planned a party for that occasion. I remember still, exactly what I wore: moss-green woollen shorts, a green long sleeved, scoop-neck top with gold-glitter stripes and mustard-coloured wool tights. I know! Did I think I was a leprechaun, or what? Actually, I looked pretty trendy and my short, light-brown hair was a bit spiky, my ear-rings were dangly and my shoes were pointy (again – could be taken for one of the wee folk, I know).
I’m sure we played a lot of different music, but the anthem for the night was definitely “Don’t You Want Me?” off the Human League album. The front of our basement was the social area – with the reupholstered couches and ancient coffee table set. There was a lime-sherbet punch on the bar and we had meatballs and rice pilaf on Chinet plates because this was adult party-time now. Even so, there were still the obligatory chips and dip and dishes of cheese-sticks and pretzels too.
The back of the basement had been decked out with Christmas lights and our old wooden toy box that my dad had made was the music centre with the Dual turntable and speakers. We just took turns playing deejay. This is why, instead of changing the record, we ended up listening to the entire Human League album and then flipping it over again. No one seemed to mind – everybody took a turn on the cold, cement dance floor. I think the only alcohol was in the punch, but everyone enjoyed that and we all had a lot of fun.
When I turned 21, my parents decided to throw a surprise party for me. This can’t have been easy, since my friends came from all different backgrounds, just like in high school. They enlisted the help of my newest friend, Debbie, and pulled together a group of very interesting university buddies. I don’t remember that much about the circumstances – how they got me there, who brought me, who was there. It’s 27 years ago and only one thing stands out in my mind about that party. It eclipsed everything else.
Click for source (my campus library at Erindale College, Mississauga)
I had a (shall we say)male acquaintance in my circle of English-Literature student friends. We were not what I would call close. We went for coffee in a group with other people, we studied in the library with other people, we hung out – occasionally and chatted on the way to class – or in class, but we were NOT romantically involved. We were friends.
At my 21st surprise birthday party, I sat in a chair in the family room downstairs in front of all my (sadly, now-forgotten) friends and opened up each one of their presents. I imagine they gave me the usual thing you give your school-pal – a book, an album of music, maybe a fun tee-shirt or hat, a gift certificate; you know the sort of stuff.
Okay, so I reached for this flat, square, wrapped box. My “friend” was sitting alongside me literally on the edge of his seat, anxiously anticipating as first, I read his card (which as I recall was innocuous enough) and then tore off the lovely paper and opened the box. I thought it was chocolates. Yum!
Fortunately, some people were chattering and not paying attention, because what I was about to discover was not what I would ever have expected. Certainly, it was nothing I would want to pass around.
I opened the box to find some pastel-coloured tissue paper. I slid my hand under the paper and felt something soft to the touch. Slowly, I peeled back a floral seal and opened the two folds of paper to reveal a pair of lavender silk panties! Oh my Gawd! Like a shot I rammed the lid back on the box and held my arms down on top of it. No one seemed any the wiser until, the gift-giver said loudly, “What’s in the box, Kathleen?” I looked daggers at him, but to no avail. Now people were curious and I had no choice but to reveal the contents of the box to the assembled attendees.
I opened the box and lifted out the lingerie. They WERE lovely. As someone whose idea of luxury in the underwear department means black rather than white cotton, or even better—eco-friendly bamboo, I have to admit they were gorgeous!
My best friend, Debbie gasped. A few jaws dropped. I laughed it off and made some wisecrack about how he must have had me confused with somebody else. I quickly used my best diversionary tactic: Who wants some chocolate cake?
Click for source
Thank heavens it worked. There was a mad rush up the stairs and I shoved the box with the intimate item under the upholstered chair.
Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t give the gift back. To this day, they are still the nicest panties I’ve ever owned.
So, if I didn’t say so at the time, thanks, Buddy!