Short Story

Hilda and Gilda were the proudest in the group of fawning family. All were sure that these two young people getting married Annie and Arthur would be the toast of the newspapers. All that money! Heads would spin. Family would fall over each other in the wedding stores. Shopping and giant gifts would be endless. What an absolute coup! To hold all of New York in a spell! The ladies, Hilda and Gilda, literally clapped their hands in glee.

“Well,” said Hilda, “I’m so glad we are the first to know.”

“Yes, Sister!” exclaimed Gilda. “We can find out their favorite choices, get our gift, and defeat all the scramblers!”

For three days the two old aunts called, stopped, knocked, and worked to get in touch with the bride or the groom. Everyone seemed to be out of town.

Finally, Hilda and Gilda sat down to tea. Hilda had her cheek resting in her palm, elbow on her chair arm. Gilda put her face between both palms, both elbows on her knees.

Hilda said, “I’m tired. This wedding isn’t for six months! Why are we running in circles, Sister?”

“I’ve been thinking the same thing! We want to outdo everyone,” She raises her head, “but this is too much work.”

“I know. And besides …are we that close to Annie and Arthur?” Hilda asked.

Gilda muttered, putting up fingers. “Well, let’s see… I believe Arthur was Great Uncle Henry’s third child’s grandson. “Is that correct?”

“Lordy, I don’t know. I forget that stuff. But isn’t Annie a distant cousin in our family?

Gilda became alarmed. “YES! Is the bridal couple related? Cousins, maybe… oh, they are cousins? Goodness! Wonder if anyone realizes that?”

“Okay, let’s think, gosh I’m getting old …there was a Harry in that bunch.” Hilda said.

“I know! Henry’s brother! He’s the one! Our own relation! I bet we’re the only family members still living who know this! Dare we say anything? The toast of New York will quickly become stale bread!”

No. We will keep our secret! This is much too fun to spoil it all with some old cousin history and stories,” said Hilda. “Probably doesn’t matter anyway.”

“Let’s agree!” They chorused. “Lips are sealed and Kiss-a-Frog if we tell!” The sisters shook their heads, no, at each other and laughed, then sobered. Gilda said, “I love that old pact we used to use.”

“Goodness!” She continued. “I hope they don’t have an old throw-back of a child. Poor children… you know that one kid, who had crossed eye trouble? His mother had trouble, too. I felt sorry for them.”

Hilda said, “And that other family had a couple kids, who had ski slopes for noses.”

“Just scooped way out there, didn’t they,” giggled Gilda, “but that was the aristocracy in them. They had high foreheads, too! That’s something to be proud of!”

“We were told the high forehead showed their intelligence. But one of them did have a really pidgin-toed walk!”

“And remember that other sweet kid? His left eye always hung shut.”

Hilda cried, “Oh, what should we do? What should we do?”

Gilda frowned. “Our families do have a few different traits. All I know is I’m not going to say anything until I’ve slept on it!”

“Yes! In the old country we were nobility, remember.” Hilda whispered, “You know the old ways with keeping royalty together. And you know what else?”

“What?”

“I didn’t realize, until now, that we had such a family of problems!”

“Now don’t say that, dear,” Gilda said, “You will hurt people’s feelings! Besides, it’s got nothing to do with managed marriages. ”

“Probably not.”

Gilda said, “Let’s go to bed, Sister. Remember to bring along your wooden foot.”

“How could I forget?”

In the morning the sisters woke happy and excited. A wedding to plan! They were bursting.

Hilda said, “You know, I don’t wish to upset the family. Honest, I don’t!”

“Me either! Cousins-smudgens! So, what? Besides we might have health issues, but we make up for it by being such a warm loving family.”

“Absolutely a truth! We will merely forget the past. We look forward, not back!”

“Oh yes,” cried Gilda. “I want to get those sweet young children just the most special gift in the world!”

“I know! I know!”

The two scrambled to make their traditional breakfast of English tea with a generous pouring of milk, hot bubbly fried pancakes, and sliced peaches.

“We have to hurry,” gushed Hilda. “You know how crowded the shops get.”

“And parking can be a fright. Glad we have our handicap sign.”

They rushed around: baths, clean clothes, hats—always hats, and then the stockings and shoes. Out the door they went.

“I’m going to grab our mail. I don’t mind leaving it out there overnight. But, today there will be more new mail,” said Hilda.

“You go ahead. I’ll start the car and back out into the drive, while I wait for you!”

As Gilda watched and waited, she noticed Hilda was reading the mail. Hilda, paper in hand, sauntered with her head down. Impatiently, Gilda rolled her electric window down and yelled. “Why are you puttering? You can read that later. Come on!”

Hilda looked up. Gilda could swear that her sister had tears in her eyes. “What?”

Hilda waved the paper. “It seems that someone has printed some fake news.”

“Fake news? What’s that mean?”

“I don’t know. Never heard of that before, but anyway, according to this, Arthur and Annie aren’t getting married.”

“Oh, pooh-pooh! Get in here and let me look at that.” Gilda shook her head.

“Okay, but you will see! They are saying that the newspaper printed the article from miss-information in the family.”

Gilda read rapidly. “Well, I can believe this! You know that Henry and Harry had a long line of slow thinkers! I’m glad we’re from the Howard line of the family.”

“Isn’t that the truth! What are we going to do now?”

The two sat in silence, absorbing the newspaper.

Hilda turned to Gilda, “Let’s have a party and a dance!”

“Why?”

“Why, because my dear Gilda, we have a lot of reasons! We have lived together for seventy—nine years, we love each other more than a lot of sisters, we never fight, and we are special.”

“Special in the head, and by the way, we do-o-o fight!” grumbled Gilda. “You’re going to deliberately make the whole world think we are gay? Which we are not? Even neighbors don’t know anything!”

“So what if we were? …No, think about it. Really! We remained spinsters. I guess, we just weren’t marriage material. Did you ever mind?”

“No…”

Hilda shook her head. “Me either. But, anyway, I always wanted the dress! Just the dress! Let’s go buy ourselves wedding dresses, beautiful, beautiful dresses. Then, invite our neighbors and friends and have a real hoopla! We will even have pictures taken in our dresses!”

“Did our ‘Howard Family’ have mental people, too?” Gilda flutters her fingers around her head, “because you are nuts!”

“Hush! I’m serious.”

“So am I. And by the way, that’s what I am afraid of – that you are actually serious! Hoopla… Really?”

Hilda nodded. “Serious is right. Think about it, Gilda. We will each get our special gown. We will have a dance – make all the old men dance with us – the old ladies won’t care! They’re tired of them anyway! It will be a hoot!”

Gilda stared at her sister. “You know, all our neighbors do like us! They are great friends … it could be fun. But I’d want to tell them that we’re not gay – we’re just old goofy sisters.”

“Stop the car, Gilda. You just drove up to The Wild Weddings Boutique! You drove here subconsciously! Ha! You like the idea!”

“Well, I guess I learned something about myself. I didn’t know. I am crazy, too.”

“Be happy! Just think of the dresses!” cried Hilda.

“No. Forget the dresses! I like the party idea! Wine for the women; beer for the men. Lots of music! No gifts. Plenty of food!

Hilda shouted, “Gilda! You know our neighbors; they will go nuts for free stuff.”

“Please don’t use that word, nuts.” Gilda scolded.

“Why? We probably are nuts. But the neighbors will keep right on loving us.” Hilda smiled and spread her arms in an explanatory way.

Gilda studied her sister. “We would have fun.”

“All I can say is, two old ladies getting to wear their wedding dresses will be a hoot! We will show these darn disappointing kids. Get out of the car, let’s high-tail it into the Boutique.”

“You’re trying to sound like you’re from down south! Gilda frowned. “Stop it! Hoots and Hoedowns – that’s what you sound like!”

“Never, you mind!” Hilda scolded. “Anyway, Southerners have more fun!”

“Okay… whatever you think.” Gilda’s eyes turned pure evil with devilment. “And let’s invite our friend, Marty. You know that he will make sure it gets in all the New York newspapers! The heading will be, A WEDDING FOR DRESSES!”

Hilda’s eyes sparkled, “And all the families will be so envious! They will talk for weeks about the crazy gay sisters.”

“We’re not crazy!” Gilda frowned, “But I did forget to put my glass eye back in. How do I look?”

“What do you think you look like? Don’t feel bad. I forgot my wooden foot and my stub is getting sore from walking on it!”

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