A few months ago, Willow, of Willow Manor, began a writing exercise for her readers called Magpie Tales. Well, anybody who reads either of my sites knows I'm not a writer, but I couldn't resist having some fun with the visual prompts she gives. So for the past three weeks I've taken a shot at creating something. The one for this week includes a piece of ephemera, an old magazine ad from a 1934 Delineator. So, I'm going to repost it here.

Willow maintains copyright to the photo of the toothbrush. All the other nonsense is 100% me. You'll figure that out pretty quickly. It is what it is, and nothing more.



"I want you go and have fun."

"Yes, Mrs. Pedrovski."

"No, you listen to me. You just as good as these richie rich people. You are beautiful girl. Any man be lucky to have you."

Fay chewed on her lower lip as Mrs. Pedrovski picked lint from her jacket and fluffed the collar of her blouse.

"Mr. D'Orsay nice boy, good family. Him wanting you to meet his mother, all good. Now you have money for weekend?"




"Two pair of shoes?"


"Okay. Good. All good. Toothbrush? Don't forget toothbrush. Rich people like white smiles. Good teeth, yes?"

"Yes Mrs. Pedrovski. I have everything. I'll be back Sunday night."

"Maybe, maybe not. Maybe he propose. Hmmmm?"

Fay smiled her picture perfect smile and rolled her deep blue eyes.

"Ja, you going to knock their socks off. Now go. Have fun. You young beautiful girl. You need to have fun. You work too much. Work not get you babies."

• • • • •

It was a three-hour drive to the D'Orsay family estate. Fay spent the time staring out the window of the 1933 Cadillac sent to retrieve her, looking at the back of the driver's head, and fingering a packet of tissues until there was nothing but small pieces like snowflakes in the bottom of her purse. Her breathing grew more rapid as the car turned off the highway onto the long winding driveway to the estate.

• • • • •

It was the afternoon of March 7th when Fay's friend asked, "Can you take my place at El Morocco tonight? I don't feel very well." Not feeling well turned into a pregnancy and a definite opening at El Morocco for a new hatcheck girl. Fay jumped at the opportunity. Since leaving Iowa behind, she'd found the streets of New York as hard as diamonds without the shine. No easy money, unless you were an easy girl. Fay was not an easy girl.

Four mornings a week Fay stocked windows at the Automat on Times Square. Three days a week she did typing at an ad agency on Madison Avenue. It was there where she'd gotten a break, being chosen to model for a few local ads, and now she'd broken into some national campaigns in a variety of magazines. It was all honest money and any money in 1934 was good money.

And then there was the night at El Morocco. Without tips a night at the El Morocco was just time wasted looking at pretty people having fun. This particular night was especially bad. One of the worst storms to hit New York all winter, virtually nobody had shown up to dance, eat, and check coats and hats. All Fay could think about was making it home through the snow laden darkened streets. And then he came in. James Brandon D'Orsay, only son of one of the wealthiest men in the state. On his arm was a seductive brunette dressed in satin and diamonds. They were loud, ostentatious, and drunk, but Fay longed for their frivolity. She watched them as they danced and laughed, the nightclub now seemingly open only for them. When they finally left at 1 a.m. James handed Fay a hundred dollar bill, then winked and said, "I'll see you later." There was something so Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers about the moment. Fay could imagine herself dressed in the satin and diamonds being escorted from the club on the arm of James Brandon D'Orsay.

Fay went to the movies far too often.

• • • • •

As the Caddy approached the house Fay could see James standing in the driveway holding a King Charles Spaniel. As the car rolled to a stop James opened the door.

"Oh darling Fay. You're here at last. Beautiful as always."

Fay stepped from the car imagining the first few steps as a dance.

"This is Bottoms, mother's dog."

Bottoms growled at Fay.

"Oh silly boy, you be nice to my darling Fay. She's here to spend the whole weekend with us, aren't you dearest?"

James placed Bottoms on the ground then linked arms with Fay as Bottoms scampered off chasing an imaginary rabbit. A butler carried Fay's luggage into the house.

"You'll have dear Aunt Prudie's room. She died last week, but we've moved her things out. It's all very tasteful." James turned to face Fay, squeezing her upper arms as he stared into her eyes. "I do so hope mother likes you."

• • • • •

The room was indeed tasteful, all done in mauve woolen prints and ivory satin. Fay wondered what it was about rich people and satin. She'd never owned anything made from satin and suddenly her life seemed to be filled with it.

A knock at the door was a young maid who'd arrived to unpack Fay's luggage.

"Is there anything special you'd like, ma'am?"

Fay looked around the room and towards the adjacent bath and shook her head "no." What could she possibly ask for? It looked like she had everything an Iowa farm girl could dream of.

As the maid began putting Fay's clothes in the armoire, Fay took her toiletries into the bath, placing her toothbrush and a tube of Ipana on the ceramic counter top.

• • • • •

Dinner was promptly at eight o'clock. The guests included Michael Vincent D'Orsay, James' uncle, and his wife Millicent, a woman of substantial girth and a droopy eye. Professor of Psychology Dr. Marshall Frantz, from the D'Orsay funded D'Orsay Mental Health Institute, was there with his "secretary" Mavis, a girl half his age and prone to burping followed by a giggle. James cousin, Wilfred Pompton Bradley, was also in attendance. Wilfred was all pomade and stiff shirt collar and a posture that looked as if a rod had been placed uncomfortably up his rectum at birth. He had an unfortunate habit of sticking his tongue behind his upper teeth while making a sucking sound. And then there was mother, Mrs. William Eberhardt Mignon D'Orsay, originally from Philadelphia. Mrs. D'Orsay carried Bottoms under her arm as she entered the room in her own regal manner while everyone stood at their seats awaiting her arrival.

A butler stood by the chair at the head of the table. Mrs. D'Orsay, in one perfect move, handed Bottoms to the butler, sat down in her chair, and unfurled her napkin onto her lap. Mavis burped.

Immediately the wait staff entered carrying silver trays laden with soup bowls. Mrs. D'Orsay looked down her long pointy nose as each of the bowls was placed on the table. As soon as the staff had left Mrs. D'Orsay raised the silver soupspoon.

"My son tells me you're a hatcheck girl. Is this true?"

Fay, a bit taken aback by the question, smiled and said, "Well, yes actually. It's one of several jobs I have."

"I see. And that's how you met James?"

Fay nodded.

"I see." Mrs. D'Orsay brought the silver spoon to her lips. "And is it a hatcheck girl you intend to be for the rest of your life?"

Fay swallowed hard, unsure of what to say. Across the table James had a giddy smile, while giving her a "thumbs up" sign.

"Ummmmmmmm...no ma'am, Mrs. D'Orsay. I'm actually now looking towards modeling."

With that Wilfred Pompton Bradley slammed his hand down onto the table and yelled out, "That's it! That's it! I knew I recognized you. She's the girl with pink tooth brush. You vixen you!"

A near hush fell over the room, except for the sound of Wilfred's sucking sound and Mavis burping and giggling. Fay could feel the blood draining from her face, her breathing becoming rapid.

"Fay, dearest, is this true? You have pink tooth brush?"

Fay stared at James who looked stunned and heartbroken. She began shaking her head "no, no, no" but it made no difference. She could tell from the stares that nobody believed her.

"I just modeled for their ad. I don't actually have pink tooth brush. It was just a modeling job."

Mrs. D'Orsay returned her soupspoon to the table, placed her napkin on the table, arose from her chair, and left the room.

"It's not real. It's just an ad."

Wilfred's sucking sound seemed to get louder. Dr. Frantz cleared his throat and said, "My dear, we all know advertising to be true. It is against all moral standards to lie to the public. I'm sure if you were chosen for this pink tooth brush ad there must be some validity to the situation. I'm very sorry for you. Deeply sorry." With that Dr. Frantz reached into his coat pocked and took out a business card, which he smoothly slid down the table to Fay. "I'd be happy to talk to you about this another time."

Soon all had left the room, except for Fay and James.

"Oh Fay, why didn't you tell me this sooner? Oh Fay, this will break mother's heart."

For a moment Fay held her breath. The wheels started turning, flashes of the past few months crossed her mind.

"This will break your mother's heart? Your MOTHER?"

"Oh Fay, she had such hope for my happiness this time."

"Okay, listen buddy, that's it." Fay pushed herself away from the table. "This dance is over. I've told you it was only a job. I don't have pink tooth brush. It's just a slogan the ad guys came up with. It's not a big deal. And so what if I did? What difference does it make to your crazy mother? Your whole crazy family?"

James stood up from the table; Wilfred had partially reentered the room and was now standing in the doorway leering at Fay.

"Fay, I think it best if I get you a car. You probably shouldn't stay here for the weekend. I'll see if one of the family physicians has a cure and send you a referral. I'm sure, in time, when your gums have healed, we can think about resuming our love."

Fay walked past James and past Wilfred who muttered, "I have pink tooth brush. It's wild, isn't it?"

• • • • •

On the drive back to the city Fay found herself thinking how lucky she was to have escaped unscathed by the D'Orsay family. Accused of being a liar, she'd made sure to leave her pristine white toothbrush and the tube of Ipana on the counter in the bathroom. Let them deny the truth all they wanted. Her brush proved she wasn't lying.

And then Fay had one final thought as the Caddy rolled to a stop in front of her apartment building, "Boy, I'm sure glad they hadn't yet seen the Kotek ad."

Ipana ad_May 1934_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: May 1934 Delineator)


  1. LOL. But - but - but - the toothbrush ain't be pink!

  2. Ah see, there in lines the rub. Her evidence was clear, no pink toothbrush for her, but the D'Orsay clan cared not a hoot for the truth.

  3. I had to laugh at the name you chose.... the ancestral home has been in the family for over 300 years.

    You write very well and always have.

  4. Eloh, you mean to tell me the Rancho is the summer home of the D'Orsay family? I knew it! I knew there was blue blood in you.