Redhead with a View

Can you believe it?  Hitler didn’t get everybody in Romania.  He left us a couple of cousins in Pittsburgh.  Uncle Aron found them – real live cousins in Pittsburgh.  “Fageh” (Faye) is coming for a visit in July by plane.  Oh the excitement, the joy, the baking, the trip to Sky Harbor Airport at two in the afternoon with six people in a green and white Lincoln Continental with leather seats.  It’s about 122 degrees out on the tarmac in Phoenix summer of 1960.   Sky Harbor was a very small airport with one terminal, no freeway entrances, and a couple of signs. 

We are all waiting with faces peering through the chain-link fence, waiting for Faye Zaslover (our only real live relative in America) to come down the stairs of the little plane that just landed on the scorching tarmac.  The door opens, the stairs come down and people begin deplaning.  Mom yells “Fageh” and starts jumping up and down and waving.  There she is!    

There’s Marilyn Monroe descending the stairs with Irish red hair and a strapless white dress with flowers in wooden 5” stilettos with red toenails.  I can’t breathe, I can’t speak, I’m envisioning DNA molecules, (like those Norbert Konzal my Biology teacher showed us at Central High), twirling faster and faster in my brain.  Oh my God, we’re related.  I’m almost fifteen now, but wait till I’m eighteen; I’m definitely going to be a knockout.  I just need a few props. MMonroe

And Faye has props.  She is gorgeous.  She is a cougar for sure!  They didn’t have cougars or babes back then though as Simon Cowell so frequently says, “I don’t know what it is but I know it when I see it.” 

You don’t need many props when you are wearing a red and pink flowered strapless dress with full skirt and ruching in back.  And I can tell she really likes me.  I am totally enamored and in desperate need of an older female ally.  Nun Nusha (my Mother) thinks I am still six years old and wants to keep me a baby forever.  She won’t even let me wear a dress to synagogue unless I wear a girdle and hose.  And flat shoes, I have to wear flat shoes.  A curse if you’re only 5’ tall.  I desperately need 5” black patent leather stilettos.  I could never go to college without them.   Enter Faye aka Marilyn, savior, and my new BFF.

We get in our green and white Lincoln with white leather seats, burn our respective tushes and drive home.  You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced getting into a car with leather seats that has been sitting out in the sun in a Phoenix parking lot during the summer months.  Might be why they wore girdles and hose. 

Faye is staying in my room since I’m the only one with the extra bed and a girl (besides did I mention she’s my BFF).  We put her suitcase on the extra bed and I sit on the other twin not just observing this gorgeous creature (obviously soon to be discovered talent by a Hollywood mogul and stolen from me for sure).  I’m inhaling the view as most 14-year-old high school girls would  that are being raised by a Jewish Nun – my mother Bubbie Nusha (aka the other Faye).

It’s hotter than hell even with the swamp cooler at full blast.  Faye opens her suitcase for a change of clothes.  She pulls out a pair of white shorts and a pink halter-top that ties around the neck and in back and lays them on the bed.  In one motion she grabs the ruching on both sides of the floral dress and yanks down. 

My forty something second cousin (the same age as my Mother the Nun) is naked.  No bra, no panties, no slip, nothing.  Full frontal nothing on under that dress.  The only thing she is wearing are the stilletos and a pair of huge hoop earrings.  My brain instantly becomes red Jell-O.  The same color as my face.  All I can think of is that she came across the United States in a plane with nothing-on underneath in 5” wooden stilettos with hot red painted toes.  “DNA doesn’t lie,” says Mr. Konzal.  I’m going to be stunning, I’m going to go naked under my clothes, I’m going to stop traffic, and then fly across the country in a plane with nothing on underneath.  And I’m going to be a redhead. 

Just as soon as I get out of college, get a job, get a car, get an apartment, and very far away from my Mother the Nun.

All rights reserved.  ©2009 by Sara Fryd

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4 thoughts on “Redhead with a View

  1. Oh Sara, I can SO empathise with the “my Mother the Nun” reference…and wanting to get far away ! I love the way you wove the imagery through this piece so tightly. I could just feel the sense of awe ! So did you end up making the “red-headed risque voyage” in honour of your cousin ???

  2. Isn’t it amazing when we stumble upon others that bump us onto our path. Helping us to realize we don’t belong in someone else’s script? Redheads rock!

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