Leonard & Padi Go to the Marine Corps Ball

The Marine Corps Ball, my parents always said, was better than the Navy Ball. For one thing, the highest level of formal dress was required. Which meant Padi could go all out. She made her own gown every year.

November 10, 1962

Also, Chesty Puller, every Marine's hero, would sometimes show. According to Padi, "He was a character. He was short, but he held himself like a giant -- he gave you that impression. For the Ball, he'd wear his glass eye with the Marine Corps emblem on it, which made it kind of distracting to talk to him."

November 10, 1973

Holy cow, get a load of Padi's eyebrows. Eh -- it was the style then. 

Padi usually sold her gowns after the ball, but before this one went, I wore it as the queen in a high school production of Rumplestiltskin. Its bodice was purple, so I wore purple and white as the peasant girl who gets Rumplestiltskin to spin her straw into gold for her -- leotard and tights, peasant skirt, and clogs. This, without the nipples, would have been the general effect.

from "Make It with Mademoiselle," copyright 1971

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