'Tis rainy here in the center of Ohio.
A friend of mine recently lamented her Jr. High aged daughter's lack of enthusiasm over the prospect of donning rain gear. The child is not a fan of slickers. Doesn't much care for the old mackintosh. No rain coat for that girl, no way, no how.
As responsible adults, of course, we see the folly in her line of reasoning. But a Jr. High girl isn't quite ready for that lesson. Appearances are everything and there is nothing cool about the way one appears when one is actually dressed for the weather. Somewhere along the line, we learn that it is also not cool to ruin your hairdo, sit around for hours in wet clothes, chafe..... but for my friend's daughter, that lesson is not yet relevant. She's not biologically ready to hear it.
My immediate response to my friend was to ask if she'd tried to make her wear rain boots, too. Except I didn't say rain boots, I said galoshes, which is a much cooler word. Ask anyone. And rain boots are so cute these days, why would anyone - even someone plagued by Jr. High girl sensibilities - refuse to wear them? I'm pretty sure no one calls them galoshes, though. And to be honest - it wasn't the first word that popped into my mind, either. No. The first word to pop into my mind was - rubbers. Because when I was still tender and sweet and not wise to the ways of the wide, wet world, my mother insisted that I wear rubbers - huge red chunky abominations that slipped over my shoes to protect them from the puddles. Sometimes she called them galoshes. But usually she called them rubbers.
No matter what you called them, they were awful.
On rainy days I would try to sneak out of the house under Mom's radar, but in just the second before I would pull the door closed behind me I would inevitably hear, "Tammy! Do you have your rubbers?" There was no use in lying. If I tried to lie, she'd figure it out and I'd run the risk of her delivering them to the school. I could just hear the office secretary's voice over the intercom, "Excuse the interruption. Could you please send Tammy Hunter to the office? Her mother is here with her rubbers."
This was the mindset I had when my slightly older and much cooler cousins went to see Summer of '42 and wanted to tell me about it in that way young girls who have not yet learned the fine art of summarizing like to tell you about movies or books or TV shows or - anything. That is to say, they left nothing out. Every detail was included in their description. I hadn't seen or read it yet at that point, so I wasn't positive, but I was pretty sure they didn't miss a thing.
When they got to the part about Hermie going to the drug store to buy rubbers - and how embarrassed he was - and how he bought other things - a comb and some other sundries to draw attention away from the offending rubbers, well, I laughed more than might have been appropriate for someone of my age and (lack of) experience. I was, of course, imagining how AWFUL it would be to have to actually pick up a pair of rubbers and buy them WITH YOUR OWN MONEY. And why did he need rubbers for his date, anyway? Were they calling for rain? Poor Hermie! The humanity! The concept of prophylactics - of condoms - was FAR in the future. I didn't even know they existed. Didn't know much, beyond vague and exotic whispered half-truths on the playground, about the act that might make them necessary. But I sure knew that buying rubbers would be mortifying!
As a side note, they went on to tell me about the boys in the movie taking a couple girls to the movies. One was trying to touch his date's boob and spent an inordinate amount of time instead massaging her elbow. Again - inappropriate laughter from me. Trying to touch her boob! Why on God's green earth would he want to do something as dumb as that? Boys are so weird!
Every now and then I'll feel the urge to watch that movie again. The title music is just so lovely. Gary Grimes plays Hermie with poignant beauty. And Jerry Houser's character is a tool, but he's such an earnest tool that you can't help but root for him.
Y'know what? You should put on your rubbers and wade through the puddles to rent it at Blockbuster! Or maybe you'd rather minimize the embarrassment and just order it from Netflix.