The year was 1967 and it was a time when things were very different then what they are today. A time where people were not wary of every movement they made, and even a time where you did things that you wouldn’t even dare to think about doing today!
I was living in Chelmsford, Ma in October of ‘67. I was just days away from delivering my son. Hubby drove a milk route so he had to travel between Chelmsford and Stoneham for work every day. Though I didn’t appreciate getting up at 5 a.m. in the morning, I had little choice if I wanted the car available … should I need to get to the hospital in a hurry. (Calling an ambulance was for the very sick or the dying … not for labor pains.)
Though just barely into the month of October, I remember it being very cold. The kind of cold that bites at any exposed skin. Nonetheless, those days that I took the car, I never got dressed. However, I went to bed the way I made my journey from home, to Stoneham, and back again. Today was no exception! I was sporting a pink, silky negligee. It was satin with pink chiffon over it and trimmed in black. Just about fourteen days shy of being nine months pregnant, I must have looked like I was attending a “cow’s Cotillion.”(And NO, ladies and gentlemen, I was not sporting any underwear.)
The car had been started several minutes prior, with the heater cranked full blast. My feet would be toasty warm in my pink fuzzy slippers. (You know the kind: big, bulky, plush, fuzzy things that make your feet look twice as big as they really are.) My coat was a fake fur, hooded parka, and its length was just about the same as my negligee (considerably above the knees). Since I would be sitting, I had no cause to be concerned about having to graciously bend over, or even experiencing a draft in “never never land.”
The ride to Stoneham was uneventful. Once I arrived, I was fully wide-eyed and the first signs of dawn breaking was present. As I walked over to get into the driver’s seat of the car, I was assaulted with a gust of biting wind. The wind’s victim was my bare butt! It was my first feeble thought that perhaps I should have pulled on a pajama bottom … Nahhh. Once back in the car, that thought was quickly dismissed. All I could think about was hurriedly getting back home and snuggling under the covers for a couple more hours.
Heater and radio both cranked, I’m traveling north on the interstate at a decent clip. Suddenly the car wasn’t handling right so I reduced the speed greatly. Now limping along at about 35 mph, I had this gut feeling there was a tire going flat. GREAT! Out on the interstate in a pink negligee, fuzzy slippers to match, and bare assed and pregnant! I pulled over to the shoulder, shut the car off, and got out. YEP, a flat tire. No such thing as a cell phone back then so it wasn’t like I could call for help … assuming there was someone to call. There were emergency call boxes that dotted the highway about every five miles but obviously I wasn’t quite “appropriately dressed” for interstate hiking. I leaned up against the car and just took the whole scene in. I was in one helluva pickle and swore if I got out of this mess, unscathed, NEVER would I go anywhere again without wearing underwear.
I went around to the rear of the car and opened the trunk. There sat the spare and the jack … my salvation. I just stretched my arms out less then an inch and felt my butt being assaulted by the biting wind. This is just great. I can’t even lift the tire out of the trunk without “mooning” oncoming cars and probably causing a hundred car pile-up. Now I gotta PEEEEE so bad I can almost taste it. About the only thing that could make matters worse, would be to sneeze! Can’t ya just see the headlines: “Lady bare-assed and pregnant, donning a pink negligee and fuzzy slippers, peed herself and froze to death on I-95.”
I had to get back in the car to warm up, and the sitting position wouldn’t be quite so taxing on a full bladder. As the cars whizzed past, and I impatiently waited for the opportunity to open the car door to get inside and THINK, a state trooper pulls up behind me. Oh, this can’t get any worse … can it? The trooper approached me and reaffirmed I had a flat. ( NO SHIT, Dick Tracy … oh wait …that’s another story!)
Being the 60’s and the world being a much different place( for the most part, a whole lot better), the trooper changed my flat and got me back on the road again that cold, October morning. I guess I don’t have to tell ya that my favorite expression, even today, is “Calm down and keep your panties on!”