LEGEND ON SCREEN: "AFTER THE FIASCO--"
TOMspeaks from the fire-escape landing.
TOM. After the fiasco at Rubicam's Business College, the idea of getting a gentleman caller for Laura began to play a more and more important part in Mother's calculations.
It became an obsession. Like some archetype of the universal unconscious, the image of the gentleman caller haunted our small apartment. . . .
[IMAGE: YOUNG MAN AT DOOR WITH FLOWERS.]
An evening at home rarely passed without some allusion to this image, this spectre, this hope. . . .
Even when he wasn't mentioned, his presence hung in Mother's preoccupied look and in my sister's frightened, apologetic manner--hung like a sentence passed upon the Wingfields!
Mother was a woman of action as well as words.
She began to take logical steps in the planned direction. Late that winter and in the early spring--realizing that extra money would be needed to properly feather the nest and plume the bird--she conducted a vigorous campaign on the telephone, roping in subscribers to one of those magazines for matrons called The Home-maker's Companion, the type of journal that features the serialized sublimations of ladies of letters who think in terms of delicate cup-like breasts, slim, tapering waists, rich, creamy thighs, eyes like wood-smoke in autumn, fingers that soothe and caress like strains of music, bodies as powerful as Etruscan sculpture.
[SCREEN IMAGE: GLAMOR MAGAZINE COVER
[ AMANDAenters with phone on long extension cord. She is spotted in the dim stage.]
AMANDA. Ida Scott? This is Amanda Wingfield!
We missed you at the D.A.R. last Monday!
I said to myself: She's probably suffering with that sinus condition! How is that sinus condition?
Horrors! Heaven have mercy!--You're a Christian martyr, yes, that's what you are, a Christian martyr!
Well, I just now happened to notice that your subscription to the Companion's about to expire! Yes, it expires with the next issue, honey!-- just when that wonderful new serial by Bessie Mae Hopper is getting off to such an exciting start. Oh, honey, it's something that you can't miss!