I have a dropout story for you on this glorious Sunday morning.
It started in my youth: there's an organization that's (mostly) all over called The Links. Oh, The Links. The ladies always intimidated me a bit: successful, strong willed and not afraid to tell it like it is. I was in awe and unusually shy around them. Every few years I'd attend a debutant ball in downtown Minneapolis with my family. I would anxiously watch the girls and imagine my ball someday. I couldn't wait for my day to don a big, white dress and curtsy in front of hundreds of people so my dress resembled a giant pouf around me, my escort's gloved hand reaching out to steady me.
Flash forward to high school: now living in Portland where The Links weren't around, dad searched high and low for a debutant program for me to join. He wasn't about to let our southern roots wither. I had waited all my childhood for this and didn't care if debutantes wasn't run by The Links I would still do it.
Except, the organization that ran it wasn't very-Link like. I don't remember too much except that we were expected to wear black skirts and white shirts to the weekly meeting and there was on occasion a bit of silliness going on. Like the time another girl and I had to leave the room so the entire class could vote on who would become secretary. They couldn't decide and the leaders didn't make them do a tiebreaker so we got to be co-secretaries, who wants to be co-secretary? Not me. I knew by my junior year that this was a little nutty. Oh, and one time a black power speaker came and talked about how the Holocaust death toll was exaggerated. I was really disgusted by that one and I think the leaders had no idea he was crazy when they booked him.
I wish I could recall more of what we did to prepare. We attended the yearly balls, of course. Oh and we did service projects. I think it was a little sorority prep in some ways. They had a huge list of rules you had to follow, one of which required everyone to sign an agreement saying they wouldn't have sex. If a girl got pregnant she wouldn't be allowed to have her coming out.
By the time I was a senior life had gotten pretty busy. I was checking out a new church, preparing for college and my grandpa was pretty ill. Our family spent a large amount of time travelling to Florida and Georgia to spend time with him before he passed away. While in Georgia I ended up buying my gown, a on-sale wedding dress. I would have to have it altered, bare shoulders where also a no-no.
By the time spring rolled around all of this was in full swing. I was having a very challenging time making meetings because life was just busy. One day I came in late to meeting, but this time we were practicing our choreography for the big day. The instructor was so mad at me for being late she demanded that I do 50 curtsies. My friend Charlotte starting doing them with me in solidarity. "Oh no, Charlotte, you stop" my instructor started, "what you're doing is nice, but Katherine has to do these on her own because she was late."
Of course this infuriated dad. It just wasn't very "Link" like and this hadn't ever been enforced before. Besides, I had been late for a legitimate reason. Anyway, I thought to myself, "this is stupid." So I left and decided not to go forward with it. I remember our instructor calling me and asking me to finish with my class, but I felt done.
Looking back? So stupid. I should of just kept it up because how neat to be able to show photos and share memories of that day. Either way, I learned my lessons early: don't be late and don't quit. Here's to hoping I have a daughter someday.