Every town has a Delta Dawn. (You remember. "She's forty-one and he daddy still calls her 'baby'. All the folks around Brownsville say she's crazy." Etc., etc., etc.)
Well. Crazy is a relative term and used often when eccentric would do better. Having never spoken to Delta Dawn, nor being a trained professional in such matters, I can't speak to her case, but I have my opinions. I'm sure that comes as shock to everyone.
It wasn't enough for my town to have a Delta Dawn We had three, though I am pretty sure that by the time I took notice of them, they were a good bit older than forty-one and their daddy was long dead. They didn't look enough alike to be triplets but they were almost certainly stair step sisters.
They were tall and thin, and roamed around on foot wearing mid-calf length shirtwaist dresses and turned down white socks with canvas tennis shoes. (This was before the nineties, when it became the Muffy Matron thing to do to wear white Keds with summer cotton Laura Ashley dresses.) Their hair—mostly gray—curled at the tops of their shoulders and was held back with cloth stretchy headbands, though sometimes they wore French twists. Usually, they carried plastic flowered umbrellas to keep the sun off them. I once saw them carrying stacks of boxed Madame Alexander dolls. What was up with that? I wondered a little, but not much. Not enough to ever even discuss it with anyone I knew. I was busy dating, running the streets with my friends, then dating seriously, planning a wedding, and buying Keds and Laura Ashley dresses. Who had time?
I only remember having one conversation about them with anyone. I was in the checkout line of my little neighborhood grocery store and they were in front of me, each buying a stack of magazines.
After they had gone, I said to the clerk, "Do you know who they are? I've seen them all over town forever."
She said, "No, but they come in every month and buy the new Vogue, Mademoiselle, and Glamour. They all get a copy of each one."
"Why don't they just get one and share?" I asked her. That's a fault of mine. I ask people questions I know good and well they don't know the answers to. I can't help it. I keep thinking I might get lucky. And really, wasn't the bigger question why fashion magazines? I guess it made as much sense as Madame Alexander dolls.
It's been a long time since I've seen these women, a long time since I've thought about them. I'm not sure what made me think about them today. But I sure wish I knew their story. I'm going to ask around. I'll get back to you.
Whose story would you like to know?