“Linda, it’s not like South Snobsville is really a ghetto.
“I know. But why invite the parents from South Snobsville Public to the Grammar fundraiser?”
“I don’t know. To be nice. Or because they may spend money there?”
“I suppose so. But it’s not like they can afford much anyway.”
Linda was in a bad mood, even for her. She had gotten into a bingle in the Grammar school pick up line. It was a Snobsville version of road rage – one mother in a black SVU was impatient waiting for another mother in a black SUV to get her child in the car. So she ‘accidentally’ rear ended her. That first mother was Linda – not that Kingston actually attended Grammar yet, but Linda wanted him to be familiar with the grounds, so she enrolled him in music lessons at the school. Kingston is the only four year old I know that plays clarinet.
Of course, that was making our meeting of the Grammar Fundraising Committee rather awkward. Caroline had begged me to join her on the committee when she found out Linda was joining. As mothers of next year’s Kindergarten Class, we were welcomed with open arms.
Caroline was beside herself when I agreed. I thought it was a good way to meet new people, but Caroline had a greater goal in mind. “It’s a gateway to the more substantial committees. Like the building fund. And… to the Mother’s Association. That’s where the real decisions are made.”
I had replied with my signature eye roll. “It’s not like you are running for political office dear.”
“Not at this point, no. Besides the Grammar Mother’s Association has far more potential than political office. You know, a chance to make a real difference.”
I had assumed she meant through charity drives or reading programs, but instead found myself on the Fundraising Committee’s sub-committee for the Grammar’s Spring Fair. Like the fake ugh boots I had left waiting for me to slip into at home, it was a little fluffier than I had hoped for. Rather than raising funds for a starving child who rummaged through rubbish for food, I was raising funds for the Grammar school kids to go on Safari in Africa. And arguing about the merits of inviting the almost as deep pocketed South Snobsville Public Parents to help me do it.
“I suppose we could just Let Them Eat Cake?” I replied haughtily.
“Oh, yes great idea Marley! Would you like to run the cake stall? Red Velvet is my specialty.” The Chair of this sub-committee, (a position I am sure Caroline had secretly hoped for), was the Head Drama teacher at Grammar. Her name was Terrey, and she was different to most of the Snobsville Mums I had dealt with. She was sweet and kind and dressed a little bit like a hippy. And, to be blunt, she was a bit of an airhead.
“Sure, I guess.”
“Marley, Kristen does a fabulous Chocolate Torte. It’s the new Thermomix you know. Makes her life such a breeze.”
I had to stifle a giggle. “Yes, well, charity begins at home.”
“Yes, that’s the spirit! Do you know someone that can do macaroons? Of course, we must have macaroons for the cake stall. Can you do macaroons Marley?”
“I’m, uh, not sure.”
“Perhaps your nanny can help you out?”
Linda was getting impatient. “Terrey, darling, Marley doesn’t have any help.”
“Oh, how very modern of you! You know, I’ve often wanted to streamline our lives a bit. Take a little less. Leave a smaller footprint, you know? But my husband, he’s a doctor, and he thinks that because he works such long hours, we need all the help we can get.”
Linda rolled her eyes. “Terrey, you don’t have any children. It’s not the same.”
There was a shocked silence as the other women waited for a response from Terrey. Even amongst the metaphorically knife weilding SNOBbies, Linda’s comment was extreme.
“I chose not to have children.” Terrey seemed unaffected by Linda’s remarks. “There are so many unloved little souls in the world. I wanted to make a difference. So I became a drama teacher. To give the children a way to express themselves. Unfortunately my housekeeping skills aren’t quite as they should be, so I still use a little help around the house. Our cleaner is wonderful. A really beautiful person.” Her lilting voice floated through the air as if it was about to slide down a rainbow.
Finally, an exasperated Linda spoke. “Jesus Terrey, it’s not as if you are saving underprivileged children from gang violence and by teaching them to read.” She checked her watch again. “Anyway, I have to go and get Kingston from his clarinet lesson. Miss Joy says he is playing at a third grade level. He’s doing his musicianship exam soon. He’ll want me to hear the end of his lesson so I can give him some notes.” I wondered if any four year old boy actually wanted that.
Terrey smiled sweetly. “Okay dear. Well say hello to my little nephew, won’t you?” Linda had already turned on her heels and stormed out.
It took me a moment to process the new information. “So you are Linda’s sister?” I asked incredulously.
“Yes. Her younger sister. Much younger.” She smiled again, but I detected a little more edge to her voice. She leaned over and whispered to me, “And with much less botox.”