...My best luck came as a teenager. I met Ginny, the sophisticated widow across the street. Her apartment had moody lighting and was decorated totally in purple, her favorite color. She curled up on an undulating black fur lounge chair to read Cosmopolitan, and I hung around her place after school, while my dad was at work, and struck the same poses. Lots of times I'd stay for supper: broiled chicken breasts and corn in butter sauce boiled in a bag. These dinners seemed as slim and sleek as Ginny herself, a heady menu for a girl more accustomed to Dinty Moore and powdered milk.
From Ginny I inherited not my nose, my temper, or my curly hair, but a no-fail parallel parking technique and an abiding enthusiasm for miniature golf, bold jewelry, betting at the track, and the occasional Scotch and water. At Halloween it's Ginny's custom to send five dollars to each of her grandchildren, and my Jennie is always on her list...
Family Circle May 2001
Reprinted in Chicken Soup for the Mother and Daughter Soul, 2002