On a lovely September day of 1963 at 12 noon, I turn off my IBM Selectric typewriter in the Research and Statistics Department, put away the papers I've typed that morning for the latest questionnaire that will go to the printing department, take my purse out of the lower drawer of my desk and stand up to leave for my lunch hour.
I stop by the ladies room first and tell the other girls that I'm skipping lunch in the cafeteria to shop at Cain-Sloan for stockings as I'm wearing my last pair with no runs. I borrow some Aqua Net and then brush off the shoulders of the black sheath my mother made for me out of polished black cotton.
It is warm enough outside for a sleeveless dress but against the rules for me to wear one at the religious publishing house where I work. Needless to say, pants are not allowed either.
I go to the elevator and soon am out on the sidewalk hurrying along. Five or six blocks later I am at Cain-Sloan and hurry inside to the stocking counter as I plan to go downstairs for a tuna fish stuffed tomato before returning to work.
There is one saleslady available and I tell her my size and she pulls out four thin boxes, opens the lids and spreads apart crisp tissue paper. I point to the tan, darker than what I wear, and she carefully slides her hand inside a sheer pair.
I envy her manicure, shake my head and say I'll have three pairs of the nude, knowing tan is too dark for my pale legs. I present my charge card and we conclude our transaction, smiling at each other, one lady dressed in black to another.
I wish I have time for lunch in the Iris Room--and my mother there to pay for it--but instead hurry to the basement lunch counter. As I walk back to work on this September day, a hint of fall in the air, I know I look slim in my black sheath dress, my Maidenform panty girdle not really needed except that it is proper and expected, and its fasteners hold my stockings in place better than the garter belt I wore in high school days.
I fairly fly along Church Street in my black leather high heels. And my feet don't hurt even the least bit when I push open the doors to go inside, five minutes before I'm due back at my typewriter.
And so I threw the pantyhose out and returned to my panty girdle and stockings until pantyhose was much improved, probably about the time they came in white plastic eggs and were sold in grocery stores.