Pantyhose, Polaroids and Pivots: Conclusion

Mary DugganBy Mary Duggan

I know I still owe you a bit about the coworker who looked like a movie star. Specifically a va Va VAH VOOM superstar like Sophia Loren – that kind of sexy gorgeous. Teresa Naon and I had grown up together, at least from the middle of grade school on, when she and her family arrived from Argentina and landed in our neighborhood and our school. Our mothers quickly became friends and my mom was more than happy to have the Naon kids join us for lunch at our house while their mom was transitionally busy with work or school or something related to their settling in. From this phase of my life with Teresa I remember two things. The first was chocolate milk.

Mrs. Naon dropped off bagged lunches for her kids each morning and a small glass jug of phenomenally rich and thick chocolate milk to accompany their sandwiches. It is not that we never had chocolate milk in our house. It’s that we never even had milk in the house – sort of. With the kind of frugality and smarts necessary to raise eleven children, six of them growing boys, my mother had reverted to making powdered milk each evening and then mixing it 50/50 with whole milk to disguise the somewhat nasty taste. The considerable savings were well worth the work and the occasional complaints on our part. We had gotten used to drinking it and had also been assigned the task of  making the thin grey concoction each evening so that it would be cold and a little more palatable by breakfast.


The 1963 beginning of the now famous milk mustache.

This task fell under the heading of what were called chores around our house. My best friend, Maureen, used to laugh at Duggan language even then. We were always grooming, when they were just getting ready; or doing chores, when they were helping out. She was quick to identify my Mother’s agricultural roots and her childhood summers at her uncle’s farm. Really, she used to say, you sound like you are mucking out the barn and grooming the horses and what’s with all the stable boy talk. My friends used to pretty consistently view my mom as some kind of character entirely different from their moms. And she was. But back to the chocolate milk.

We Duggan kids were pretty well adjusted to our diluted milk; but to have to drink this bastardization at the same table with Argentinians drinking thick chocolate milk – at lunchtime (!) -was too much to ask of us and our Mom knew it. So each morning, the bags and milk were delivered; but before we all arrived home for lunch to squeeze around the table in our too-small kitchen and watch the Argentinians imbibe, our Mom combined their chocolate milk with our diluted milk, producing a thin and pale gallon of “chocolate” milk using Mrs. Naon’s donated quart. If the Naon kids noticed, they never said so. We for sure noticed and knew that 25% chocolate was way better than no chocolate – so we never said a word.

I became fast friends with Teresa as we walked to and from school each day. Even as a little girl she was beautiful and brilliant and clearly had her eyes on medical school as early as grade school. I was endlessly curious about life in Argentina and we were constantly comparing notes on the similarities and differences of our two upbringings. With her decidedly medical take on life it is not surprising that one day we began to compare notes on the birds and bees and what we knew in that regard. I was pretty confident that with 4 older brothers I had a pretty clear grasp on things in that department. But Teresa would have none of my silly conjecturing and proceeded to describe to me in vivid Kinsey-esque clinical terms the actual ins and outs of lovemaking – and I mean IN AND OUT – going on between our parents. I stopped dead in my tracks in front of Casper Donuts, bugged eyed and slightly nauseous as she explained in vivid detail that her mother had explained all of this to her and that it was completely accurate. She could not believe that my American mother had opted for some sort of shilly-shally when a man and woman really love each other practically stork referenced explanation of intercourse. I was mortified and indignant and was in no way going to be shown up by this chocolate guzzling Argentinian come-lately-to-our-neighborhood. I regained my composure and began to walk again. I knew what the answer was to this conflicting world view and I told her so, “Well Teresa” I said “maybe that’s how they DO IT in Argentina;  but that is not how it’s done here.”

That was 5th grade. Teresa resurfaced years later when I was working at the bank. Just as sweet and super smart as ever, she needed a summer job to fill her coffers for college. By this time I had made my own place at the bank and went myself to personnel to recommend her. She got the job and I was given the pleasant task of escorting her around the bank to introduce her. And that is when I realized that Teresa had not only stayed sweet and smart. She had also grown into an astonishingly beautiful South American goddess. I watched thunderstruck as my male coworkers fell over each other and fawned and misspoke and offered assistance that had never been offered to me when they laid eyes on Teresa. Teresa was definitely working her polyester pants suits in ways I was not working my own home-sewn fashion.

After I escorted Teresa to her desk in another department and returned to my place in Loan Operations, I was greeted by the young men in my area and they were full of gratitude and congratulations on my recruiting efforts. I think at that time we were given something like $20 for bringing a successful new hire to the bank. A group of them offered me an additional $20 on the side if I could manage to bring any other Teresa look-a-likes on board. Unlike me, Teresa’s tenure at the bank was short-lived as she returned to college and became, I think, a physician. I know I heard she married a lovely and successful guy and the Dear Lord Stork bestowed them some great looking and very intelligent offspring.

Of course, whenever I remember Teresa I think of chocolate milk and sex and how much I had to learn and I suppose that’s as it should be.

About the author:

Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters.

The Duggan Sisters cracked the code and created a natural deodorant that actually works: lifestinks.  We hope you will spend a few minutes exploring to experience their spirited approach to wellness through their natural products and healing stories.

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2 Responses to “Pantyhose, Polaroids and Pivots: Conclusion”

  1. Mark says:

    Knew Teresa when she was at U of I. Indeed, a very nice and attractive young woman. She was also incredibly bright and caring about people. Good call on your part.

    • Mary Duggan says:

      Mark – lucky you. Teresa is a gem. Imagine me remembering her all these years later. That says a lot! Inner and outer beauty came together perfectly. Thanks for reading. Be well, Mary

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