When my grandmother first told me the story about how she got her “mink thongs” and then asked if I wanted to see them, I was pretty taken aback as I had considered “thongs” with the modern meaning of underwear and she never would have asked if I wanted to see her underwear. However, I soon learned she’d meant “thongs” as in footwear, though I could hardly call them functional shoes.
This story of how she got the mink thongs is often told after dinners, especially with new guests present.
“When Century City [a mall] was first being built, my friend and I, we were Girl Scout leaders, and we used to go places to see if we can…have trips for…to take the girls. Well, one day we went there just to scout it out, and they were having a contest. It was called…God I think it was called “The Person Most Likely to Succeed dot dot dot.” And…I won it! Because, I have a feeling…it was for this place called Mary Webb Davis she was very well known for models, for modeling and things. And one of the thing, the reasons I think I won is that I kind of, I sort of was heavy and she was going to show me how to…uh…they were going to improve me. Well, it was in 2 parts, because eventually they hoped you’d become one of her models, but I didn’t really want to go by myself. So I decided to share with my friend who was tall and slender and knew how to put on makeup…she was really…well she was put together. Anyway, I asked if she could share the first part with me and that’s what we did. I didn’t go to the second…uh session. So I had…a few…I learned 2 or 3 things. I learned how to get in and out of a car, how to sit, how to hold your hands.
I got several prizes. One of them I never used, is to go someplace to learn to put makeup on, other than the modeling studio. And then I won a machine that was supposed to help me lose weight. But…after I received it, they put out…a…some kind of…a recall that, “Don’t use it,” because the…uh…the electric, whatever made it run…I don’t remember what it had…I didn’t have to plug it in. But it vibrated, and they said it might not be good for you.
Oh yes, and I forgot. My most precious gift was mink thongs. I guess, you’ll show a picture of it because it’s unbelievable. Mink thongs.”
Again my grandmother echoes her often expressed sentiments that she’s not “pretty enough” or “intelligent enough,” something that I believe was ingrained in her when she wasn’t able to go to college for want of money and she ended up being the last of her sisters and friends to get married. She was always on the bigger side but has always been very beautiful and she is constantly told that she looks 20 years younger than she actually is. But I don’t think she’ll ever lose those feelings.