The Door

by Paulette Weaver Purgason

Music. It seemed to be everywhere. Certainly in her head, in her heart and in the car, coming out of speakers at the Colonial Grocery Store near Montlieu Avenue in High Point, where she prayed that she would be hired soon. How she wanted to buy those Italian styled tassel loafers -- you know the ones with the leather soles, and the shaped heel. The school informal dress code focused on the Bass Weejuns, but she had to take it up a notch. Money was always tight for her limited resources.

She and Jolene (Campbell) met Suzanne (Modlin) for rehearsal earlier in the week. They were rehearsing to perform for a local civic group and had a spot on the local radio station made possible by her father's wife. The lyrics, "Michael Row The Boat Ashore, Alleluia" were still rolling through her head. She must collect the rest of her babysitting money so that she could take the Cedrow Avenue/Montlieu Avenue bus in to town. She had a white pleated shark skin skirt and a Madras burgundy and pink plaid shirt on lay-away at the JC Penny store where Claudia's mother, Mrs. Hamlin worked.

Paulette was saving her money so that she could get a second pair of square toed leather slippers with the pearl button on the strap, seen in the window at Gilbert's Shoe Store. She wondered if rehearsal would be finished in time for her to catch the last afternoon bus. "Hmmm," she thought. I'd better not push the time. Her father was a stickler for her being at home when he arrived home from a day or night at the plant. He would want his supper and she had to get supper ready in time. Nope, she would just have to wait another day to get to the Penny customer service window and hand over her twisted dollars that had been clutched so tightly in her fingers for protection. She had to put up with a lot from those Weaver kids (no relation.) They were nice enough, it was just that they all had bed times close together and she had to see that they got their baths, brushed their teeth, and she had to straighten the house (they were side door neighbors).

Her father's house was on Gordon Street and the other Weavers' house faced Montlieu. Where she lived was on the corner of Montlieu and that was also the High Point city limit and after going through the intersection Montlieu was no longer Montlieu but became Cedrow Avenue as it wound its way into what would become Scientific Street. When her family lived there it was just Glover Road, a dirt road that went past the Glover farm. What was good about Glover Road was that it was just a long walk to High Point Municipal Lake and the swimming pool AND, AND, the jukeboxes! How lucky was she that she lived near two jukeboxes, one on the High Point side of the pool curved out and that was the High Point College kids' hangout and dance "hall." The one on the Jamestown side of the pool pavilion was the high schoolers' domain.

But first, she had to come to grips with her bedroom door. The door, you see, was her first real dance partner. She'd race to the pool pavilion and watch the McKelvey boys toe tapping maneuvers and watch them spin on air as they glided into the beautiful shag pattern dance. She was in awe watching Beverly "Moose" Herndon dance. As soon as she could return to the privacy of her bedroom, she held out her hand to "The Door." This night, she called her door by the name of Van. She had a crush on one of her classmates -- he would never know. She would make sure of that (though it did slip out at one of the earlier class reunions and she nearly died of embarrassment when she told him she had had a crush on him years ago. He was another one of the nice guys who she knew to be super smart and she admired his brain trust! Anyway, Van, The Door, came easily to her and she knew she, too, glided in her black and white saddle oxford's that she had slicked up the soles so they would slide more easily on the linoleum floor. " I Get Around" wasn't her choice to dance the shag to, but it was blaring out of her pink radio. She dreamily, moved Van, The Door and turned in its midst and rocked her ankles to the song and thought "...maybe Rock will ask me to dance instead of Teeny (Spoon.")

A dream. Rock McKelvey never did ask her to dance. Years later, Van asked her to dance. No, that's not right. She asked Van for a dance! Wow, she would never have done that as a high schooler. She was grown up.

The lyrics still moved her spirit. The music was still part of her life, a major part. She really appreciates the fact that her father was such an incredible musician. While he played many instruments, her only instrument was her voice.

She reached for The Door. Now, it was no longer Van, The Door, but just a door. She turned out the light. Her radio,she turned to WOWO in Fort Wayne. The High Point Panthers were playing championship level basketball, and she began thinking of Doug Smith in his purple and white knee high socks and his short white basketball shorts with the purple stripe. Wonder if he danced well?

The door closed.

From a collection of stories
"Who Brought the Bannana Pudding?"
By Paulette Weaver Purgason, '62
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