Child Bride

Child Bride by Suzanne Finstad Read Free Book Online

Book: Child Bride by Suzanne Finstad Read Free Book Online
Authors: Suzanne Finstad
who snatched glimpses of her in the yard between Del Valle Junior High and Popham. “I was kind of struck by how pretty she was even at that age,” he recalled. “Sixth-grade girls are pretty gawky-looking, but she stood out.” By summer, Priscilla and Jack were dating. “You know how things are at that age. You might think that it’s something serious, and it’s not. Of course, going on official dates with transportation, we didn’t have the means. We were both too young.”
    Spin the bottle and car-less dates could not compete with Priscilla’s growing fantasies of Elvis, though. She and Pam continued to play Imagine If all through the sixth grade; on Pam’s twelfth birthday in October, Priscilla gave her two Elvis 45s: “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hound Dog.” She set her cap for the self-described tough guy of the sixth grade, Drue Foradory, a boxer with dark, slightly dangerous looks. To his surprise, Priscilla boldly walked up to him one day, told him he looked like Elvis Presley, and asked him on a date. “She was outspoken and flirty,” Foradory said, recalling the encounter. “If she liked you,she’d just come up and
tell
you.” It was clear why Priscilla pursued him. “She was just nuts about Elvis,” said Foradory. “She began liking me in the sixth grade ’cause she always used to say I looked like Elvis. We all wore our hair greased back, and I had dark hair, and when I was young, I had … features like Elvis.” Priscilla gave Drue signed pictures of herself, “and we held hands and kissed a few times and what have you in the movie theater.” According to Drue, Priscilla was “most
definitely”
the aggressor. Mike Hodnett, another of Priscilla’s sixth-grade beaux, also remembered Priscilla as “determined.”
    She came by her perseverance naturally. Ann Beaulieu was blossoming into a tamer version of the mother in Gypsy, promoting Priscilla at every turn. “When we’d spend the night,” recalled Carol Ann, a friend of Priscilla and Pam’s, “her mother would talk about Priscilla. She entered her in lots of baby contests, beauty contests, as a small child and baby, and made albums of Priscilla in these contests. And I remember, when I was over there, her mother would just love to go through the albums and look at pictures and just dwell on it. She seemed to be obsessed. At the time I probably didn’t know what ‘vicariously’ meant, but I always felt that her mother had a plan for her. Her mother was really pushing her. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way at all, but she was that type of mother.”
    “I remember the scrapbooks,” Christine Laws agrees. Ann entered Priscilla in a “variety of things. At that particular time, officers’ wives’ clubs at various bases would have contests like this. And community photographers would have ‘Pretty Baby’ contests. Or newspapers would. Or maybe a civic organization. And you’ve got to realize that some of this may have come from being in the military. Her father was an officer, but he was not a
high-ranking
officer. There’s a world of difference between a captain’s family and a colonel’s family.”
    Priscilla never boasted about the pageants or how she looked, according to her friends. Ann was the promoter. “There wasn’t any question in my mind that she was always preparing Priscilla for an
event
,” asserted Carol Ann. “It was just a matter of time. Priscilla was just one of the gang—we didn’t feel she was any more special than anybody else. But her mom did.” According to Pam, Ann Beaulieu “wanted Priscilla to be ‘the one.’ Whatever was going on, Priscilla was … the center of attention.”
    These dynamics began to foster competition between Priscilla and Pam. “We were best friends and rivals at the same time,”Pam explained. “We were either very close or fighting.” The instigator, according to members of the clique and Pam herself, was Priscilla’s mother. “I think there never

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