Memoir Monday: Scarlett O’Hara Meets the Man of Her Dreams

(Excerpt written using 7 Memories: Write Your Memoir in 28 Days)

Scarlett O’Hara Meets Phil Harmonica

I felt like a dead ringer for Scarlett with my full hoop skirt, parasol and bonnet. And I was so over the disappointment of my “date” flaking out on me at the Tau Omicron Phi party as I danced with other guys. It was 1978 and I was about to meet the man I would marry. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

In 1978 I joined a non-collegiate sorority called Tau Omicron Phi. It was a national organization and San Diego was the Delta Chapter. It was for daughters of military officers. We did philanthropic work, such as volunteering in the psych and orthopedic wards of San Diego Naval Hospital, and also social events for bachelor officers. I think it was a way for young women who had moved frequently to be able to find community in new areas, although members had to be 18. I loved being part of this organization and made great friends. I also like that our social events were pretty popular and there would normally be at least twice as many men as there were women.

I was dating a man namedAlan and had a big crush on him. He offered to pick me up and take me to our Halloween dance. Since I had to be at the North Island Officer’s Club early to prepare for the dance, I said I would meet him there.

I was really excited about this party. I’d rented a Scarlett O’Hara dress with full hoop skirt, parasol and bonnet. At the dance I welcomed Alan, but he was very cold toward me. Since he hadn’t brought me, I wasn’t his date and he was going to dance with other girls. I was really surprised at this, but more surprised that I wasn’t very upset about it. It didn’t work out so well for him because all the sorority girls knew that we had been dating and no one would dance with him. Later, I heard he’d still been seeing a girlfriend in his hometown of Santa Ana. He told me the reason he was going home so often was to see his parents.

I was enjoying the dance and I felt kind of magical in my costume. My friend Barbara and I had a signal – if one of us wanted the other to come to our aid, we would tug on an ear lobe. Not very original, since that was Carol Burnett’s signature gesture, but it worked for us. I finished dancing with a guy and I saw Barbara tugging away across the room. She had five guys around her, just introducing themselves and talking and she felt a bit intimidated. When I came over, she introduced them and I started talking to a nice-looking guy with black hair and a sweet smile. I thought he said his name was Phil Harmonica.

Phil seemed like such a nice guy, especially after Alan had been so odd. We danced a couple of dances and then we went out on a patio to cool off and watch the ocean for awhile. We talked about all the usual stuff when you’re getting to know someone. Then he asked me for dinner the following Friday and I said yes. At the end of the evening, we walked to my car and I gave him a quick hug – because that’s what I do. He later told me how much that meant to him.

Phil says he went back to his room in the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters and told his suite-mate that he met the girl he was going to marry.

Fast-forward to the Friday of our dinner date. Phil arrived at my parent’s house to pick up his date. He saw my mom in the front garden, watering the roses. Mom and I looked alike and all Phil could think was, “Is this who I asked out on a date?” He figured he would go to dinner and then make his excuses. He wasn’t about to back out on his commitment. My mom greeted him and said, “Oh, you must be here for Holly.” He gave a big sigh of relief.

And that was the beginning of my love for Phil Lamonica.