Leigh Anne - Chapter 17
by Barbara Lynn Terry
As security took Geraldine Watkins back to the security office, Leigh was actually shaken by the experience of meeting Geri Watkins, again. This time, however, Leigh was so shaken, she had to sit down on one of the nearby mall benches.
“Leigh,” Darlene said to her friend. “Geri is going to jail this time. She will not bother you, ever again.”
“That isn’t what is bothering me, Dar. I’m just a little unsettled because of her being here. I have a very funny feeling that I am going to be called to testify against her.”
“What she needs is a good solid spanking, then put in jail,” Patty spoke to everyone there.”
“Leigh, I will be there for you, even at the state tournaments. You said you had a feeling that Gaynor was going to pull something at state. Do you actually think they will show up?”
“Yes, Roger, I do. Not only will they show up, but they will be there in their tennis outfits. I think they actually think they are going to get to play.”
“In that case, I think maybe we need just a tad more support. Because if they start anything, the tournament people will have them arrested. I feel really sorry for them, though. I mean, they have no idea what the concept of fair play is all about.
“Now, Roger Simmons has been arrested. He really should have left all this up to the MHSAA, but, he wanted to start the school on fire. That is very poor judgment on his part. Now Cheryl Simmons has also been arrested. What exactly is going on at Gaynor?”
“They’re jealous. They think that because they were unbeaten all year, that they had to have won this hands down. They have no idea what fair play is, or losing graciously. Gaynor students think they are the cat’s meow. Because of that, they think that our trophy is really theirs.”
“Roger, I think that Gaynor isn’t a high school, but an insane asylum.” Nobody laughed or even giggled at that last statement by Leigh.
“It is sad, though,” Patty agreed. “That they have to think that way. What are they going to do, when they graduate? I mean, if any of them go in to professional tennis and try to pull this, they will be, not only disqualified from ever playing again, they will go to jail.”
“All right, that is enough of this,” Darlene Haskins told the group. We came to shop, and shop we shall.”
With that, the group moved on to the Gap to look for this or that bargain, and maybe buy an outfit that wasn’t on sale. Nobody in the group knew for sure what they were even looking for, until they found it. That is what is meant by shopping. If you just go in the store and pick out a pair of jeans and a shirt without trying them on, then that is not shopping, that is just buying.
Shopping is when you spend time looking for that right outfit. Then there are the shoes, and then the stockings. Men are lucky. All they have to do is go in, get what they want, pay for it and leave. But girls and women actually have to look around. So, the girls were here to shop, and that could take the rest of the day.
But, Leigh’s mind wasn’t on the shopping. It was on Geraldine Watkins and her classmates at Gaynor Senior High School. She kept thinking about what kind of minds did the Gaynor students have. She thought that if they were that sore at losing; then what are they going to do after high school, when they run out of money?
“Are you all right, Leigh?” Inquired Darlene Haskins.
“Yes, I’m all right. I was just thinking that if Gaynor is this mad about losing the tournament, what are they going to do when they run out of money after high school?”
“Rob a bank, a gas station or even a supermarket. Gaynor just doesn’t think they can do anything wrong and they think they are the best at everything. Someone is going to have to go in to that school and find out just exactly what makes them all tick. If it isn’t the teachers that are promoting this kind of behavior, then it has to be the parents. Geri Watkins has had to have had this attitude for a very long time.”
“Whomever is responsible for this behavior, Dar, should be in jail.
“Yes, Leigh, but we don’t get to make the rules. I heard my dad say once, that there comes a time when we know right from wrong, and if we choose to do wrong, then we suffer the consequences.”
“I guess you’re right, Dar, but still …”
“I know, Leigh, I know. Well, anyway, tomorrow we start practice for the state tournaments. We have got to really be fast enough, because if we want to go to the nationals, we have got to win. So here is what I suggest, we get out there and perfect our aces, our lobs, and our spins. We need to win the nationals so we can bring home the national trophy, which will show Gaynor, that we are the best in the country … so far.”
“You’re right, Dar. What was I thinking about Gaynor for? Let’s do some shopping.”
As they went through the Gap, they were marveling at this outfit, that dress, this skirt and that blouse or shirt. Leigh saw a nice chocolate colored skirt, with matching shell and blazer. Leigh looked at the price and saw it said, eighty five dollars and ninety five cents. Of course that did not include sales tax. The total price was one hundred and thirty four dollars and eighty four cents. Leigh called her mother and asked if she could get the outfit, and Geri Smythe told Leigh she would meet her at the Gap.
“My mom is on the way. She said she wants to see this outfit. So, I am hanging on to this, until my mom gets here. I think she will let me have it. I want to wear this when we go to state. It is too bad that Gaynor won’t be able to see me wearing it.”
“Don’t bet on it, Leigh. Gaynor is just egotistical enough to actually show up at state. Remember, Leigh, state is being held at the MSU Tennis Center this year,” Patty Langston reminded her friend.
“Do you think we could get some pointers from the Spartan women’s tennis team?”
“I don’t know, Leigh. If they did that for us, then they would have to do that for all the other squads, too.”
“Not if we show up first, Patty. If we could get permission to go there for the day, as a field trip, then maybe we could get more practice in. I hear, that there are a couple of Hampton alumni on the Spartan tennis team.”
“Really? How unfortunate for the other state squads,” Darlene said, facetiously. Everybody giggled.
While the girls were still going through the Gap, Geri Smythe met the girls in the store.
“Hello, girls. Leigh, where is that outfit you wanted me to see?”
“Right here, mom. I held on to it.”
“Well, let’s go over to the changing booth and have you try it on.”
Leigh went in the changing booth and changed in to the outfit. After getting out of her street clothes, she put on the outfit, starting with the skirt. She put the shell on next, then the blazer. Her tennis runners were not very smart for this outfit, so she stood there in her double knit, knee high socks. Since the socks were white, they added a nice complement to the entire ensemble. She stepped out of the booth and did a slow turn around, so her mother could see it from all angles.
“Leigh, you may have that outfit. I like the contrast between the skirt and knee high socks.”
“Thank you, mom.”
Leigh went back in the changing booth and changed clothes. She brought the outfit out on its original hanger. Not to get the outfit wrinkled or creased, she carried it through the store. Now, Leigh needed to find a pair of shoes to go with the outfit.
They went over by the shoes, but they didn’t find anything even close to the color of the skirt outfit. So, looking around for more clothes, Patty saw a really nice pair of jeans. They were black, with studs going the length of the outside of each leg. She went to try them on, and they fit like a glove. She placed them in the basket, and went searching for a top to match.
She searched the store by where the shirts, t-shirts and blouses were. She looked for just the right top to match the jeans, or at least, go with them. As she went through each shirt, she thought about what she wanted. She had jeans with the studs, now she wanted a top that was colorful. Something with a design on it, like with the Disney castle, or maybe, something with SeaWorld on it. Something of that nature. Then she stumbled on to a nice t-shirt that had a motorcycle complete with rider. It said Harley-Davidson on it. She matched that to the jeans. She had one complete outfit.
“You know, Patty, that Harley-Davidson* is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and they have plants all over the country. But, the main factory is in Milwaukee,” Geri Smythe told the girls.
Darlene went looking for an outfit, and she wanted something simple. Like an every day skirt and a shirt to match. She found a blue skirt, plain in color, and a nice light blue shirt to match. She then took that and placed it in the basket. Then she went by the shoes and found a light blue pair of ballet flats. This ensemble is almost complete, because now, she needed a pair of white, double knit, knee high socks. She found them, and now her outfit was complete.
They took their purchases to the counter, and paid for them. On the way home, the girls were like chattering chipmunks. They were talking about the clothes they bought.
“I’m going to wear my outfit to state,” Leigh told her friends.
“Mine are just everyday running around clothes. I will wear them when I go and hang out with the group at Jim’s Diner.”
Jim Dunn was forty five years old, and he has run his diner for twenty five years. He never said anything about the kids hanging around his diner, because they always showed respect, and bought things. Sometimes, Jim would even talk with the group, that mainly consisted of the Hampton Lady Tigers and their boyfriends.
The group arrived at Leigh’s house, and Patty went to call her mother. She told her mother about the jeans and shirt she bought, and her mother said she would be right over. Mrs. Langston was at Leigh’s house in no time. One of the advantages of having a car.
“Mom, this is the outfit I chose,” Patty told her mother.
“I see, just running around bumming clothes. I like the jeans with the Harley-Davidson t-shirt. But, they have long sleeve shirts, too, Patty, that have the Harley-Davidson logo on it. Maybe we will stop at the store and get one. You will need it for this winter, even though it is unseasonably warm.”
Leigh showed Mrs. Langston the outfit she got, and Patty’s mother marveled at Leigh’s sense of fashion. Darlene showed Patty’s mom her outfit, and she remarked that it was an everyday, unnoticeable outfit, made for every day wear.
“Well, girls, it seems that you have had a full day of shopping. For being young like you are, your sense of fashion is remarkable.”
“Mrs. Langston, we were wondering. Tomorrow we start practice for the state competitions. We were going to practice at the courts across from the school, but I am not so sure that we should practice on an outside court.”
“Well, Leigh, the courts at MSU in Lansing, are indoors. They have a very humongous tennis center. The ceiling there is as tall as a house, if not taller. So, maybe we should find an inside court where you can practice.”
“We start practice tomorrow, Mrs. Langston. Where we would we find and inside tennis court now?” Leigh asked.
“I may know a place where you we can practice. Let me make a phone call.”
Mrs. Langston went to the phone, and dialed the Midland Community Tennis Center.** When they answered the phone, Mrs. Langston asked them if it were possible if Hampton Senior High School Lady Tigers could practice for the state tennis competitions. She was put on hold for a few minutes, and when the lady came back, said that it would all right for them to practice. Mrs. Langston asked if they could start tomorrow, and was told tomorrow would be fine.
“Girls, we have a place where we can practice for the state tournaments. If Gaynor has the nerve to show up at state, we will have an advantage over them, because of our practice on indoor courts.”
“Where are we going to practice, Mrs. Langston?” Inquired Darlene.
“It is the Midland Community Tennis Center, in Midland. We can start tomorrow. So, if I were on the Lady Tigers varsity team, I would definitely get some sleep tonight.”
“Alright, Mrs. Langston, we get the hint. We will be ready when you come to get us. I will call the rest of the squad and tell them where we are going to practice.”
“Sounds good, Leigh. Now, since none of us have had any lunch, what say we go to a nice restaurant and have something good?”
“Like, where would we all want to?” Inquired Patty.
“I don’t know, Zebb’s isn’t too far from here.”
“I agree, Patty, Zebb’s sounds good,” Leigh told the group.
“Alright, girls, Zebb’s it is.”
Everybody got in to Mrs. Langston’s car, and she drove them to Zebb’s Family Restaurant** on the corner of south 27th and west Morgan Ave. It took only five minutes to get to the restaurant, and Mrs. Langston found a parking place almost near the door.
They went in and found a booth by the window, facing Morgan Avenue. The waitress came over and introduced herself.
“Good Afternoon, folks. I’m Brenda, your waitress. May get you something to drink?” She asked the assembled group, as she handed them their menus.
“I will have coffee and a chef’s salad,” Mrs. Langston told Brenda.
“I will have the same,” Geri Smythe echoed.
“I will have a bacon cheeseburger with French fries and, a Sierra Mist,” Patty said, giving Brenda her order.
Darlene gave her order as the twenty one shrimp plate with French fries and, a Sierra Mist.
“What will you have, Miss?” Brenda asked Leigh.
“I will have the twenty one shrimp plate with French fries and, a Sierra Mist.”
“Thank you, your orders will be up shortly.”
Brenda went to put the order slip on the order wheel, and then she poured and served Leigh and company their drinks. Then she went to wait on another customer.
It was about twenty minutes before their orders were served. Because everybody was ordering a big lunch, dinner would be delayed. If they had dinner at all.
“I think you girls should be dressed in your tennis outfits, or at least bring them along,” Maggie Langston told the girls.
“I think that is a good idea,” Geri Smythe agreed. “Maggie, do you have room for one more? I would like to go along.”
“Yes, I do. We could sit in the front, while the girls sit in the back.”
“That sounds great. Leigh, because of practice tomorrow, it will early to bed tonight.”
“I was going to go bed early, anyway. Remember, Tigers, we need to practice our aces, lobs and spins. We need to pay attention to those three plays. This way we can at least have a good chance of winning the state tournaments.” Leigh, Darlene, and Patty put their hands on top of each others, and said as loud as they could; “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TIGERS!”
Everybody in the restaurant clapped for Hampton Lady Tigers. Brenda came over and looked at the group.
“You’re from Hampton high?”
“Yes, we are. I’m Leigh Anne, this is Darlene Haskins and that one there is Patty Langston. We’re part of the Hampton Lady Tigers.”
“Well, I am very happy to meet you, there are a lot of Hampton alumni here in the restaurant right now. That is why they clapped. Leigh, Darlene, Patty, a lot of people on this side of town went to Hampton. Believe it or not, but I am a former Lady Tiger.”
“We are happy to meet you, too, Brenda. Tomorrow we start practice for state. The state tournaments are being held at the MSU Tennis Center in Lansing. We are hoping to bring home the state tennis championship trophy.
“If we practice our aces, lobs and spins, then we stand a good chance of winning state.”
“Well, Leigh, I wish you all the luck in the world. Just remember, in tennis, practice makes perfect.”
“Thank you, Brenda.”
It seems that everywhere they go, lately, they are meeting others who have gone to Hampton. Leigh wondered how many that live near Gaynor, went to Hampton.
“I was just thinking,” Leigh said to the group. “How many people that live near Gaynor, actually went to Hampton?”
“That is a very good question,” Darlene answered her friend. “I think maybe that is a question worth looking into.”
“Only after we are done with state,” Patty said, in a concerned tone. “I don’t think we should do anything like that, until after we are done with the state finals.” Everybody agreed.
Maggie Langston asked if everybody was finished with their lunch. They all said yes. Everybody said we will see you at state, to Brenda, and there was chorus of “you bet”.
“Remember, Hampton,” Patty said to the people in the restaurant. “The state finals are two weeks from yesterday. They will be at the MSU Tennis Center in Lansing. See you all there.” Then there was a chorus of, “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Tigers.”
Once they were back in the car, buckled in, and ready to leave the parking lot, the girls were awe struck that they would meet that many Hampton alumni in one place.
“But, you know, Leigh,” Patty turned to her friend. “Your quizzical thought about how many Hampton alumni live near Gaynor, has a lot of merit. But, we should wait until after the state finals.”
“I agree, Patty. Right now the most important thing we have to do is practice for the state finals. There will be a lot of high schools at state. What we need to watch for, is if Gaynor shows up in their tennis outfits. If we see them, we have to let someone in charge know.”
“We know who the Gaynor players are, girls, so, if we see them before you, we will let the judges know,” Geri Smythe told everyone in the car. “Well, here we are, girls, the Smythe estate.” Everybody giggled. “Maggie, would you and Patty like to stay for dinner. That is, when and if anybody is hungry later on.”
“I will tell you what, Geri, we will stay and watch a little television with you.”
“Then, when our tummies are rested enough, I will make some popcorn. The good old stand by for watching a movie.” Everybody giggled.
But, it is true, that popcorn is the movie stand by snack. Look how much popcorn theaters sell, when they have movie showings. So, everyone just sat around in the Smythe living room and talked. The subject was the state semi-finals and finals. Of course, Gaynor, too, was a sub-subject.
“I saw in paper just now, that there is a movie coming on channel seven, called Murder On The Orient Express.*** It is an Agatha Christie mystery. It comes on at seven and goes off at nine.”
“That is a very good movie, Patty. The Agatha Christie detective in this story is Hercule Poirot. He is played by Albert Finney, who also a few years before, starred in a musical version of Scrooge.”****
*Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Headquarters - 3700 W. Juneau Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53208 - (414)342-4600
**Midland Community Tennis Center, 900 E. Wackerly St. Midland, MI 48642 - (989)631-6151
***Murder On The Orient Express, 1974, starring Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot, with an all star cast.
****Scrooge, 1970, starring Albert Finney as Scrooge (Musical).
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