Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do You Want to Know a Secret (part 1 - by Margaret Ullrich)

In exchange for straight hair, I agreed to escort my cousin Nadia to a Beatles’ concert and to marry a Beatle, George Harrison.

If I had been born ten years earlier I would never have had such a problem. But there I was, a fourteen-year-old stuck with naturally curly hair in 1964. Thanks to the Beatles, long, straight hair was in style. My black curls were the envy of all my mother’s friends, but I was a fashion misfit in High School. Once I almost set my head on fire when I tried to iron my hair myself. When I asked my Ma to iron my hair, she shot me The Look and said I was crazy. I had no other choice but to ask my sixteen-year-old cousin, Nadia, to do the deed. She was the only one who would understand.

Nadia had a major problem of her own. She had to marry Paul McCartney, the cute Beatle.

Nadia’s problem started when she had said she wanted to marry a boy with a cute accent. She had accepted her fate: to stay in Corona, get married and have babies. She knew she was expected to follow in her Mom’s Sicilian footsteps. She just wanted to march to a cute accent. When she saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, she said Paul looked as cute as he sounded and she was going to marry him.

But, how would a girl in Queens meet a Beatle? Nadia knew that if her parents had their way, they would have chosen a local Corona boy instead of an English rock star to become their son-in-law. Then Nadia had a dream. She was at a concert, her eyes met Paul’s, she zapped him with a psychic message and he became her love slave. When Nadia heard that the Beatles were going to have a concert in Shea Stadium she said it was a sign from God. So, she decided she had to go to the Shea concert and grab the bull - I mean, the Beatle - by the horns. Not mentioning her dream, Nadia asked her parents for ticket money for the Beatles’ Shea Stadium concert.

Uncle Des and Aunt Betty agreed to give Nadia the money. But there was a small catch. Nadia had to go with a relative. None of the Aunts or Uncles was interested. I was the only cousin Nadia had who was near her age and easy for her to control. Uncle Des also thought I was the perfect relative for his daughter to ask. He knew that his brother Peter, my Pop, would never waste money on a rock concert. So he thought that he didn’t have to worry about Nadia going to any Beatles’ concert. It wasn’t his fault if his brother was cheap.

When I told Nadia I didn’t have any money for a ticket, she made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. If I swore I would get the money and escort her, she would straighten my hair. When I stalled, Nadia threw in an extra incentive. After she and Paul got engaged, she would work her magic on George Harrison so he would propose to me. Since I was stuck at an all-girl high school run by Dominican nuns, boys were a rare commodity. The way we saw it, it was either George or the convent for me.

I had my doubts about Nadia’s psychic powers, but I did need someone to iron my hair. If she could snag me a husband, it was a bonus. I swore I would get the money.

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