Friday, March 13, 2009

My Mom Has A Reputation In The Cast Room

For some reason, my Mom liked to marry US Marines. My Father (biological), her first husband, was an USMC helicopter pilot. There was never a woman who was less appropriate for the role as an USMC Officer's Wife. My mom was constantly getting my Father in trouble when they were married. She didn't like to follow the rules and he paid the price. If you met my father, you would wonder how the two of them ever thought it was a good idea to get married.

My Dad (Step-father), her second husband, guessed it, an USMC helicopter pilot! Luckily, when they married, he went from active duty to the USMC reserves. There was no more living on base, no more day to day duties of the Marine Corps wife, all my mom had to do was behave herself once a year at the Marine Corps ball. Every year, around the "Birthday" of the USMC (November 10th), US Marines around the world hold a formal "Birthday Ball". If you have never heard of the Marine Corps Ball, think of it as the Senior Prom for Marines, except you have to behave like an adult. The behaving part was never my mother's strong suit.

When I was a kid, every year the Jaycee's in town would have a big fundraiser. One year, they chose to hold their event in October and have an Oktoberfest theme. My mom, being the good German girl that she was, looked forward to going. She got her two German immigrant friends, Ingrid and Trixie, to buy tickets as well. The night of the party came and I remember my mom getting ready. She was very excited, especially since she just got new shoes and planned to wear them that evening. It was the 70's, so of course the shoes were platforms. I remember waving good-bye as my mom and dad, along with their friends, drove off that night. The next morning, I went into my mom's bedroom to see how the night went. She didn't look good. Her eyes were bloodshot, her skin had a greenish pallor and she had a bunch of scratches on her arms. I asked her what happened.

My mom and her German friends got really drunk. They had a great time. The whole place was decorated like a German beer garden during the fall. The centerpieces for the tables were pumpkins and other gourds. My mom and her friends decided to take the pumpkins home with them when they left. As they were walking down the hill to their car, someone dropped a pumpkin. My mom saw the pumpkin roll by and yelled; "It's the Great Pumpkin, we have to save the Great Pumpkin!' She then started to run down the hill after said pumpkin. On her way, one of her platform shoes landed in a pothole, she fell off her shoes and BROKE BOTH HER FEET. She had a plaster cast up to the knee on one leg and a removable brace on the other foot. This would suck under any circumstances, but it was especially bad because the Marine Corps Ball was in 3 weeks.

My mom had a long steel blue dress especially made for the ball. It had shiny gold buttons on the bodice. To match the buttons, she bought a gold purse and gold sandals. There was no way she was going to be able to wear the sandals. So what did my mom do? She spray-painted the "shoe" that went over the plaster cast and the brace that went on the other foot, Gold. If her feet poked out from under the dress, she would still match.

The night of ball came and off they went; my dad in his dress blues and my mom, in her steel blue gown, gold purse and gold "shoes". Once again, my mom imbibed a little too much. My dad found her; drunk, with a bunch of wives in the corner of the ballroom, dress up around her waist showing off her gold "shoes". The Colonel's wife, who was from Alabama, was hollering; " Does anybody here have a writin' stick?" Another drunken southern belle hollered back; " I don't have a writin' stick, but I gots me a lipstick!" The Colonel's wife decided that was good enough and the whole group proceeded to sign my mom's plaster cast with hot pink lipstick. After they were done signing her cast, my dad poured my mom into the car and took her home. Despite being drunk off her ass, my mom was cognizant enough to know that lipstick smears. So, she wrapped her cast in saran wrap before she went to bed.

The next morning, my mom's cast was a hot pink soggy mess. After a Bloody Mary and a few aspirin, off we went to Kaiser to get my mom a new cast. Since my mom was really good at drinking, but not so well at walking, this was not our first trip to the cast room. The cast tech, named Thermador, was very familiar with my mom. The look on his face when he saw my mom's soggy lipstick covered cast and her gold spray-painted shoes, was priceless. Thermador still works at Kaiser. Every time he sees my mom in the halls, his eyes light up, a big smile stretches across his face, he winks at her and says; "Now you be careful, Miz Joanie", I hear him chuckle as he walks away.


  1. Joanie is something.

    I don't think I've ever seen or known my mom to be drunk.

  2. From grades 5 through 12, I have very few memories of my mom sober.