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Dear Diary

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July 20, 1925
Dear diary,

Today I was out at the jazz club. There I grooved and danced the night away. I was having a swell time. Almost all the flappers in town were there. The ladies giggled and danced as perfume and perspiration filled the air. The jazzy music boomed in our ears as we swayed with the beat.
At first it was just us Shebas enjoying ourselves when suddenly a horde of sheiks entered the club, their dogs tapping in time with the beat. They swooped in noiselessly picking their way through dancing women until they found the one they were keen on. I watched as the men twirled the dumb doras then scram, the dumb doras tripping over their own feet as they left. I laughed inwardly as I watched them. Too much giggle water, I thought.
I knew exactly where they were headed. The place where most shebas ended their night of fun—the struggle buggy. I knew I’d hear all about it from the Gossip Queens in town tomorrow, all about who had done what and with whom.
A teacher could get into serious trouble for this kind of behavior, especially those who loved whoopees. All the teachers who refused to live life like this were such flat tires. I can’t stand them. As I glanced around the room I recognized a few teachers. But, my lips are sealed. Reporting them would be like betraying the womanhood.
I danced up to the bar counter, my dress swiveling as I did. This joint was the best blind pig. The bartender, an old wrinkly man, grinned at me over the rim of his cheaters as he handed me some giggle water. I had drunk several glasses already and couldn’t get enough. I licked my lips as I finished the glass. I was about to ask for some more when I noticed that his smile, which hadn’t faltered, suddenly fell. I could see he wasn’t looking at me but instead, at something or someone behind me. I spun around on the stool I was sitting on, coming face to face with a man’s chest. I glanced at him up and down. He was spiffily dressed, his messy black hair spilling all over his face.
I stared back at him, right into his heartbreaking baby blue lamps. His eyes didn’t once leave my face as he reached out his hand. It remained suspended in the air silently asking me to dance, and I accepted. As I placed my hand in his, I could hear the bartender complaining under his breath about young men stealing all the pretty women.
As he pulled me onto the dance floor, my heart sped up in time with the music. I was so consumed with his cool moves; I barely noticed that all the other dancers had made way for us on the dance floor. They clapped as if to cheer us on.

As the last beat of the song rang around the room the man pulled me close to him, his lips brushing against my ear as he asked, “Want to get out of here?” His voice was low and smooth; his warm breath tickling my check. Barley able to speak, I nodded. He clasped my hand in his and led me outside. I noticed some of the other women watching me; concern radiating from some and jealousy from others.
The air outside was cool and the moon was high. It almost seemed to shimmer that night.
I cleared my throat, “Want to go for some ice cream?” I asked nervously. But he didn’t respond. I watched as the wind played with his hair. I was very keen on this man.
I felt dizzy. I had drunk way too much. My stomach agreed with me as it did flips bating the nausea I fought to hold back.
We made our way across the parking lot. I could see the man’s black car in the distance, patiently waiting for us. I grew nervous. The car seemed to sense this and almost appeared to laugh at me. I hadn’t planned on a whoopee. The man continued walking to his car, one goal and only one goal seemingly in his mind.
We climbed inside, and he kissed me nearly immediately his hand caressing my back. I knew this idea was baloney but didn’t have the strength to push him off. So I kissed him back. Suddenly, a strange feeling overcame me. I opened my eyes and beheld the worst sight: Papa was standing right outside the car glaring at us both.
Before I could protest, Papa pulled open the car door and pulled the man to the ground. He fell with a groan. Papa and the man wrestled for a while, Papa holding the upper hand. Finally the strength of Papa’s punches began to wane from exhaustion. When the man saw his chance to escape, he scrammed, leaving his car, Papa and myself far behind. He escaped before Papa had a chance to bump him off.
Papa, who was bent over trying to catch his breath, suddenly stood to his full height. He glared at me. Barely bothering to conceal his obvious disappoint in me. I knew the punishment would be severe and I knew that I deserved it. But, that night was the greatest night that I, a 14 year old, could ever have had!



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