Better Living Through Plastics

My mother is a woman of accomplishment. This is no idle boast: She once shook President Carter's hand, right there under the White House roof. And in the early 1950s, she received amorous attention from the King of Western Swing himself, Bob Wills, as he stood on the stage of Oklahoma City's Trianon Ballroom. Oh sure, it could have been John Kennedy's paw she clasped or Hank Williams who flirted with her; I'll admit those encounters would have made for cooler tales to tell. Still in all, I beam with pride whenever I speak of my mom.

And nothing tickles me more than the fact that she, on a warm summer's evening in the early 1960's, hosted a Tupperware party. No single moment in time could more succintly sum up my childhood than the evening Mom sent my Dad, my pajama-clad siblings and I in tow, off to the drive-in whilst she pitched pie holders and lunchmeat containers to women named Madge and Barb.

I love to imagine the scene. While Dad sat through Captain Sinbad and, no doubt, made countless runs to the concession stand for us kids, Mom greeted, one by one, a string of bouffant-haired, capri-pants-wearing June Cleavers and Laura Petries as they arrived at our home, giddy with anticipation at the chance to see the latest in plastic kitchenware.

I read recently that even today, a Tupperware party begins somewhere in the world every three seconds. I get a kick out of imagining housewives in Poland or South Korea or Mozambique thrilling to the sound of that air-light seal for the very first time. In those places, these are Tupperware's glory days, a time of promise, a time of hope, of dreams. But have you, or anyone you know, ever been invited to a Tupperware party? I didn't think so. Neither have I.

Here in America, Tupperware's promise of a better tomorrow seems to have faded. We are w illing now, it seems, to settle for simple utilitarianism where we once dreamed of magic. Oh, sure. Tupperware is still around. For all I know, the company Earl Tupper founded back in 1945 may sell more lettuce crispers and cake-savers today than ever before but the thrill, as the man said, is gone.

Still, I'm pleased to be able to recall those halcyon days of hairspray and Maybelline. of popcorn and a coke during a double-feature at the Skyvue Drive-in and of young housewives in sundresses listening, rapt, as Mom showed them the way to happiness through fresher, crisper fruits and vegetables.

Since I think of my readers as my friends, It certainly seems appropriate to use this space to share with you some exciting news. After a brief correspondence, I flew to the Pacific Northwest last month to meet, face-to-face for the first time, the woman I'll soon be marrying. After a handful of letters and two phone calls, I felt as if I'd known her all my life and when our eyes met at Gate 1-B at the Portland International Airport, we both knew instantly we'd found what we'd been looking for all our lives. By the end of that glorious weekend, Tonya Harding had agreed to be my bride! I am the happiest fella on God's green earth.

In lieu of gifts, we're urging well-wishers to send donations to her defense fund. The sooner we can get her lawyer bills straightened out, the sooner we can become Mr. and Mrs. Brett Leveridge (she's old-fashioned that way, she wants to share my name!). I'm sure the entire BRETTnews family wishes us nothing but the best. I've told her so much about you guys and she's anxious to meet as many of you as possible. In the meantime, think good thoughts for us and keep your fingers crossed during her probation!

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