The Effects of Charm School

By Dianne Moritz

Skipping home that afternoon, I stopped to catch a glimpse of a stranger in the deli’s plate-glass window: teased hair, lips painted fuchsia pink, tweezed eyebrows penciled black — a new me!

I struck a pose and sauntered on.

Mother was waiting. “What have you done?” she cried. “Your father’s legacy. Ruined! Go wash your face.”

That night, I found that single photograph hidden inside her Sinatra LP, brought my dictionary to bed. Legacy?? I gazed into my father’s eyes, ran a finger down his straight nose, across his bushy brows. I fell asleep, my perfect, sculpted lips pressed lightly to his.


Dianne writes poetry and picture books for kids from her home in Southampton, NY.  Her father left the family when she was a toddler. She never saw him again.

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