By: S. Sadie Burbank


Spring, 1957:

The "Welcome! 1957 Senior Breakfast, Arcadia High School" banner was draped above the double doors leading into the cafeteria.

Small signs on the tables indicated the specific groups that would be seated there. "Science Club, Spanish Club, Music Department", etc.

Tradition dictated that junior year students would serve the breakfast; a gesture meant to honor the seniors. As the tables filled, people chatted excitedly about their plans for the upcoming prom, graduation and summer.

Two young men took their seats at a table with a sign reading, "Pep Squad".

"Hey Bill, d'ya see that girl over there, the one who is waiting on our table?"

"Yeah, Charlie, what about her?"

"Can you see her name tag, Bill? I've got to find out her name."

"Jesus, Charlie, why?"

"Because, Bill that's the girl I'm going to marry."

"What? Oh c'mon, Charlie, she's fat and ugly and she wears glasses !"

"I'm telling you, Bill, she's the one! Furthermore, I predict you'll be the best man at our wedding."

"Oh sure Charlie, sure I will."

June 1, 1959,

The living room of a private residence in Arcadia, CA:

"Sweetheart, you are the one who will have to spend the rest of your life with this man, not me and not your mother. If you don't think this is the right thing to do, then stop it now."

"Oh, Daddy, I'm so confused. I don't know what to do. The wedding is in two weeks. Everybody's already sent their gifts. Everything's all planned. Mom will have a heart attack if I back out now. And you are going to perform the ceremony. Oh, Daddy."

"None of that matters, Honey. Your mother will not have a heart attack, at least not one that she won't survive. The gifts can be returned. The cake hasn't been baked yet. The church isn't charging us anything for the ceremony and reception as a professional courtesy to me."

"Charlie will be making the flower arrangements and bouquets so he can just not buy the flowers in the first place. And as for me performing the ceremony, I can do that whenever you decide the time and the man are right."

"There isn't anything else to consider except do you love him?" Do you love him enough to keep your vows to him? Do you love him enough to wake up to his face, and only his, for the rest of your life?"

June 2, 1959,

The kitchen of a private residence in Arcadia, CA:

"I don't understand you, Samantha. I really don't."

I knew Mom was very upset because she called me Samantha. She preferred calling me by my middle name, Sadie, (after my maternal grandmother with whom she was very close). As a kid I hadn't understood that Mom considered it a form of endearment.

I was close to my grandmother as well given that she took care of me when I was little and my parents both worked but I didn't want to be called by her name in front of my friends. Sadie just sounded so old fashioned to me. I had begged Mother to call me Samantha at least in front of my friends.

Of course I got my way and it wasn't long before everybody was calling me Sam. Everybody except my mother when she was mad at me. And if she was furious she would call me Samantha Sadie. As though using the two names together somehow reinforced her authority.

Moms' anger grew as she spoke, "Samantha Sadie! You bring this boy into our lives for us to learn to love and once have, you tell us that you have decided that you are going to take him away from us?"

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About the Author

S. Sadie Burbank enjoys what are often referred to as her Golden Years. She's written a prize-winning published essay, scores of songs (music and lyrics), some short stories and a personal account of her time in Liberia in 1971 called, �Red Hills, Green Vines and Dried Monkey Meat for Dinner.
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