This morning at breakfast my mother-in-law said, "I wonder where Paulette is," quite out of nowhere. I braced myself for the advent of invisible friends at the breakfast table, but instead she told me a story.
Paulette was the daughter of my mil's childhood cook, and lived at her house in a back room. She was the same age as my mil, and the two of them played together often. Rather, they played together at the house and in the garden, but they were never allowed to go to the park together.
Halloween came, and mil wanted Paulette to come trick-or-treating with her. "Absolutely not!" said her mother. But her father stepped in and took both girls. They must have been very cute in their matching costumes, both dressed as ghosts, with white sheets down to their toes and nothing but eyeholes cut out.
On the way home, her father ran into a friend and got to chatting. Since it was Virginia, the girls got very hot and the father told them to go ahead and take their costumes off. Imagine the friend's surprise when there appeared one very blond little girl and one very black little girl. It was, after all, Virginia in the 1930s.
Things have changed, right?