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Author's Chapter Notes:

I was going to wait until after work to post this update but I figured why not do it this morning - um to review it one more time for typos - hoping it's not littered with them...

Think back to 1991…no cell phones (at least for 13-year-olds), so no snap chat or tik-toks or whatever they're into now. But kids were still kids. 

A thirteen-year-old Pam observed herself as she swirled around in the flouncy pink party dress in front of the mirror. The dress, made of satin and chiffon had a sweetheart neckline that accentuated her new figure and tiers of fabric that billowed when she twirled making a halo around her lean legs. It was certainly her favorite of the three she tried on.


Still, days before she had begged her mother to take her to the store for a new one but her mother said three new dresses were enough.


“But Mom, everyone has seen me in them already.”


“Pam, three new dresses are more than enough for party season. You’ll have to wear one of them again.” 


Pam stormed out of the kitchen, upset but not surprised. She knew it was a long shot her mom would agree to buying another new dress especially when Pam seemed to be developing at a rate that would mean she’d be unable to wear any of the dresses she just bought long after this party season. Pam tried to make the argument that her sister Penny eventually could wear them but her Mom used her very own words against her, that anything purchased before September was so last year and unwearable.



Pam knew her mom was right. It was just that all the girls at these events always seemed to be wearing something brand new and each dress seemed fancier than the next. Pam always felt a little bland next to the girls with expensive, brand name attire, faces of make-up and perfectly coiffed hair. No matter what Pam tried to do to calm her curls, they always seemed to return to their natural state of frizz, a tangled mess of cotton candy like chaos.


At least today, most of the kids at the party would be from another school. Robyn went to Sycamore Middle, Pam to Pinecrest. Pam knew Robyn through volleyball. Since she’d discovered her love for the sport, Pam attended volleyball camp along with Robyn and a handful of other girls she met at the town recreation league. The girls who became good enough advanced to the travel team, Pam and Robyn among them.


The rest of the team was a mix of girls from the three local junior highs, all of whom were on the guest list for the Bat Mitzvah but only a handful of which attended Pam’s school. A few other classmates could be there today, friends from Robyn’s temple and old holdovers from the days of Brownies and Girl Scouts.


But Pam knew the majority of attendees would be from Robyn’s school which meant the girls would be in fancier dresses. Sycamore girls tended to be richer and fancier but at least that meant they wouldn’t know the dress she had on was the same she wore at the last party.


Pam ran her fingers around her curls again, trying to soften the frizz by making a mini curler out of her pointer but it didn’t seem to do much. But other than her hair, she thought she looked pretty good. 


“Pam, hurry down. Isabel’s here.”


Pam grabbed her small clutch purse, which was just big enough to hold a lip gloss, compact mirror, and a teeny tiny sketchbook and pencil that she pretty much took wherever she went. The card was too big to fit in it so she grabbed that too before she hurried down the stairs, swiftly but carefully in her kitten-heeled pumps that she hadn’t quite gotten the hang of walking in yet. As hard as she tried to take easy, fluid strides, her movements were clunky and clumsy and not at all graceful and certainly less so as she rushed down a flight of stairs. It was good, she thought, she’d be taking them off soon, as soon as the dancing part of the party began—when the DJ came around with the basket of socks, supplied to avoid twisted ankles and sore feet as most 13-year-old girls were unaccustomed to walking, much less dancing in heels.


Helene was waiting at the bottom of the staircase, camera in hand, ready to snap a photo of Pam and her friend Isabel before they left for the evening party.


“Oh, don’t you girls look nice,” she remarked as she directed them to stand in front of the fireplace and snapped off a few pictures with her new digital camera.


After the photo session she followed the two girls out to the car to say hello to Isabel’s mother who was waiting in her minivan. 


“Have fun girls”, she waved to them as they climbed back into the second row. Turning her attention back to Isabel’s mother she confirmed what time she was expected to pick them up from the catering hall and waved goodbye again to her daughter and her friend.


When just the two of them, Pam and Isabel responded to the probing questions Mrs. Poreba asked but after picking up two more of their teammates, Isabel’s mom gave up on trying to engage in conversation and put on the radio for the additional 20-minute drive to the party, but kept an ear on the chatter from the girls in the rows behind her.


The main topics were who would get chosen first in the Snowball dance and which of the four of them might meet a new boyfriend today. A few months back, at Mark Klein’s Bar Mitzvah, Marcy wound up talking to a guy from Mark’s hockey team and they’d dated for two months. That is until Marcy found out from Jill, another volleyball teammate who went to school with him, that he had another girlfriend at his own school. When Marcy found out she promptly dumped him. Which meant Marcy was on the prowl to meet someone new tonight, and chances are she would.


Marcy never seemed to have any trouble meeting guys. Her wavy blonde hair always looked perfect, her big blue eyes pierced under the longest lashes but most of all with her bubbly, and unrestrained personality she had no problem approaching anyone. As much as Pam liked her, she was actually sweet and genuine, Pam always felt hidden in her shadows at social events. 


The girls arrived at the party about 15 minutes into the cocktail hour entering through an archway of pink and silver balloons. On the other side they were greeted by the hostess who ushered them to the kid’s area, a cordoned off section of the room with its own non-alcoholic mini-bar and buffet of pigs in blankets and slider hamburgers.


Most of the guys were gathered around the Pop-a-Shot basketball and the air-hockey game. Some of the girls were lined up to write a message on the Lucite board that featured a mirrored volleyball and Robyn’s name while the rest were gathered in groups on the other side of the room sipping sodas and chatting airily. Isabel, Pam and Abigail found some of their other teammates and joined in the high-spirited conversation, but Marcy went straight to the pop-a-shot. She sidled right up to the boy shooting, grabbed a ball and started tossing up balls alongside him. He stopped for a second, taken by surprise at Marcy’s brazenness, but then after taking a look at her, smiled and went on to continue taking his shots, hitting almost every one and making some very animated faces at her as his shots landed and hers missed. 


Pam looked over at Marcy with a small pang of envy. It wasn’t so much that she thought the guy was anything special. He was cute in a dorky kind of way, with an unkempt thatch of hair, very much in need of a trim, a wrinkled dress shirt that seemed a little big on him and a dimpled smile that screamed troublemaker. What she envied was Marcy’s ability to saunter right up to him and make him take notice of her. Pam could never have the guts to walk right into a room, grab a ball and start interacting with a boy she’d never met before.


Marcy stayed by the Pop-a-Shot even after the next boy came over to take his turn at the game, engaged in conversation with her game partner, when Pam noticed Adam Baum making his way over to them.


“Oh no, Adam Baum is here,” Pam grumbled to the group of girls she was talking to.


Isabel and Abigail groaned.


“Who’s Adam Baum?” Jill inquired.


Isabel answered, “Uck, he’s this guy from our school that we can’t stand. He’s a know-it-all and yet he’s pretty clueless. He thinks he’s funny but he’s mostly just annoying and he is especially rude to Pam.”


“Yeah, we’ve known him since grade school. When I first was in class with him, I think it was 2nd or 3rd grade, he called me Pamela on the playground at recess. When I told him I went by Pam, he got all defensive and said he would only call me what the teacher calls me. That if my parents gave me a perfectly good name why shouldn’t I go by it.”


Isabel interrupted, “But she got him good. She said, well I’m sure your parents gave you a perfectly good name, but everyone calls you stupid.”


“Which one is he?” Jill asked.


“There,” Pam pointed to where he stood talking to Marcy and her new friend. He’s the one holding the coke. Slowly, the crowd around Marcy was growing and now a few new guys had joined them. Marcy waved over her friends to join her. Pam was hesitant to do so, not wanting to interact with Adam, but had no choice but to follow her friends as they made their way over to where Marcy held court with a half dozen guys. Luckily, before she got there Adam’s turn at the Pop-a-Shot came up. He set his drink down on the table next to the game and picked up a ball to shoot.


Marcy had moved on from her original conquest and was now chatting with a new guy. Jill who knew the rest of the group from school started to make introductions. Pam stood just on the periphery of the circle, too shy to put herself directly in the mix of the new friends.  From her vantage point she spied Marcy’s shooting partner slip off into the main section of the room, where the tables were set for the adults to sit while they enjoyed the more sophisticated crudité and antipastos from the buffet spread and the hors d'oeuvres being passed by white-gloved waiters.


He returned moments later holding a salt shaker, which after taking a quick look back to where Adam was taking his shots, he proceeded to shake into Adam’s unattended coke.  Pam noticing him started to giggle quite noisily, which grabbed his attention.  Moving his finger to cross his lips, he flashed a playful look her way, his eyes pleading with her to keep his secret. Pam in return, twisted her fingers and tossed away an imaginary key indicating his secret was safe with her.


Adam, after completing his game and pounding his chest to boast on his high score returned to the waiting soda he’d left at the nearby table and took a sip. Choking it up in disgust, he sputtered.


"All right, who did this? Not funny.”


Both Pam and the perpetrator both burst into hysterical fits of laughter, each having to turn and walk away in opposite directions to avoid detection.




Chapter End Notes:

So now that we’re here in 1991 I hope you are enjoying. I do have to give credit to my son for the salt in the coke prank. I do hope he never was the one to do this – or have it done to him for that matter.

I'd love to hear what you are thinking about this little fic. It made me so happy to write and to know it's fun to read would be like getting a new party dress or the high score in Pop-a-Shot

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