I quickly shuffled through my memories, panicked and slightly embarrassed by my lapse in recollection.  But, the longer I thought about it, the more certain I was that she had to be mistaken.  Aside from old, black and white photos, not a single Hamlin face made its way in to any of my memories.

She continued as we moved to the display of shoes.   “We were very young,” Evie declared.

I wanted to remind her that she was only a year older than me but didn’t want to be rude, so I simply replied a confused, “huh.”  And then decided that I would ask my dad about it sometime.

Occasionally, I would find an exceptionally nice dress and hold it up to myself, critiquing the reflection in the mirror.  Evie encouraged me to try a couple of them on but I chickened out, claiming not to be the dress up type.  Usually I’m not, and in this instance, I felt too plain for such a dress.  Besides, I had nowhere to wear it; no school dances and no friend’s parties to attend.

My dad thought that there were too many negative influences and distractions in public school, so I study at home.  I didn’t argue with him because quite frankly, I’m not exactly a social butterfly.  I’ve never really found my niche among my peers.  I always felt out of step, like I had been erroneously born on the wrong marker in life’s time line.

Mr. Brighton, my in home tutor, comes to the house three times a week to help me with the work I don’t understand-primarily anything involving math.  My studies, running and cello practice kept me busy enough, so there was little time for me to socialize in any case.  I had a few acquaintances, mostly my dad’s coworker’s kids, but no one I spent time with on a regular basis.

Sandwiched between two tacky chiffon dresses at the end of a rack was an amazing floor length gown.  The dusty, pale blue and gold lace gave it an antique look.  Spaghetti straps draped over the shoulders and just under the arms to reveal a bare back.  I didn’t normally care much for the frilly but, the dress grabbed me.

“Those colors would be perfect on you,” Evie sang from behind me .

She took the dress and held it up to me, closely inspecting it from different angles.

“You must try it on.  I have to see you in it to decide if it is a good cut for your figure.”

“I’ll pass, thanks.”  I tried in all instances to spare myself from the horrors of dressing room lighting.  “When am I ever going to wear something like this?”  I asked, hoping to talk her out of it.  Evie thought for a second while I placed the gown back on the rack.

“The Marine Corps Ball.”  She smiled as if calling check mate.  She removed the dress from the rack again and handed it to me insistently.

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