MEN MY MOTHER DATEDThis month's would-be suitor was not a man and Mom never really dated her. Still, the story will be told...

With a few weeks remaining in her junior year of college, Mom decided to enroll in summer school, giving her reason to remain in Stillwater through June, July and August. The true reason for this decision, however, was that her new beau, Frank, was attending summer school, too, and she could spend those warm summer evenings in his company.

Frank pulled a fast one, however, throwing her over the night before summer classes were to begin for a bleached blonde psych major. Mom was devastated, so much so, in fact, that she swore off men for the duration of the summer, vowing not to go out on a date, no matter whom might call.

And she stuck to her word too. The phone rang often and Mom spoke with her suitors just long enough so as not to seem uncivil but the answer was always the same: "I'm sorry, I'm concentrating on my studies this summer and am not interested in going out."

Mom's roommate that summer was an older woman of 25 named Kathy Simpkins. Kathy had just begun her studies as a physical education major that spring, after serving a stint in the Air Force. Mom had responded to an ad Kathy placed in the student paper, seeking someone to share, for the summer, her garage apartment just off campus. Mom and Kathy got along fine, they often cooked dinner together on those summer evenings, but they were not particularly close and Mom had not chosen to share the details of her romantic misfortune with Kathy.

In fact, Kathy knew nothing of Mom's romantic/sexual proclivities. All she knew was that every man who called for Mom was firmly, if politely, rebuffed.

So, it's not so hard to understand how Kathy might have reached some misbegotten conclusions regarding Mom's orientation.

It all came to a head after one of those home-cooked meals. Mom and Kathy had gone shopping together that afternoon and splurged on a leg of lamb and a bottle of Beaujoulais. Once the food was finished and the plates placed in the kitchen sink, Kathy, emboldened by her third glass of wine, sat right beside Mom on what was rather a large and roomy davenport and, much to Mom's surprise, transformed into an octipus di amore.

Mom, caught more than a little off-guard, extracted herself from Kathy's clutches, excused herself and hurriedly sped off to her bedroom, quickly locking the door behind her.

Interactions between Mom and Kathy were, quite naturally, a little awkward for a day or two afterwards. Only a few words were exchanged between the two but eventually they sat down and talked things over. Mom explained that her moratorium on men was a temporary one and Kathy apologized for her aggressive behavior. The rest of the summer went by without incident.

Today, Kathy resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she enjoyed a long career as a Physical Education instructor. She retired only last year. She and Mom still exchange Christmas cards.

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