SLIGHTLY NORTH OF BROAD

2015-09-02_021043000_6C46D_iOSMary Martha Montague was born into an old Charleston family. Her Father’s family once had money, but they lost it all during the crash of Wall Street in the 1930’s, but they still had their good name. Everyone or should I say, almost everyone in Charleston, SC knew that a good name meant everything. She lived on Beaufain Street, a block from King Street, in a single house on the upper two floors that her family rented. She had always hated living there. Most of her friends lived south of Broad St in the high rent district in beautiful homes. Growing up, she was a cute little girl with a bubbly personality but was often not included in birthday parties and sleep-overs and was always picked last for teams. The popular girls always poked fun at her and she would shrug it off and act like she didn’t care. She never understood why since these girls were supposedly her friends in school. Her Momma knew that it was because of their address and lack of money. They were by no standard of the imagination poor. They had enough to get by on and they never seemed to want for anything. Mary Martha would find that out soon enough why they didn’t include her, but her Momma wasn’t willing to share that information with her quite yet. When she reached the fifth grade, her girl friends began to tease her about where she lived and ridicule her clothes that her Momma sewed for her. They also made her feel fat and ugly (although she was neither). One day during recess, the S.O.B.s (south of Broad sisters as she called them under her breath) made a circle around her and began to chant,
“Mary Martha, sitting in a tree, fat and ugly as can be. Her hair is mousey brown and she lives in a rented house downtown.”
Mary Martha was humiliated and began to withdraw and lost the enthusiasm she once had for life. Everyone in her family began to notice the change in her personality. Her Momma kept asking her what was wrong, to which she would reply, “Nothing”.
To cheer her up, her Momma bought her a darling dress from Silver’s Five & Dime, but she refused to wear it. She was scared that the SOBs would find out where it came from and would put her in that humiliating circle again.
The bullying continued all through grade school but Mary Martha still yearned to be part of the group and continued to want to be friends with these girls. After all they were so popular, it had to be her fault.
Then something happened the summer before her freshman year in high school….adolescense!! It seemed like over night that she became a beautiful young lady with long golden sun kissed hair, a tan complexion, sparkling brown eyes, long eye lashes and a figure to die for. People turned their heads when she walked into a room. She discovered that boys looked at her and had begun calling her on the phone. She was in disbelief and thought that it was some kind of a joke. She was sure that her so called friends had put them up to it. She certainly was not used to this kind of attention.
When school started that fall, it was a new experience for Mary Martha Montague. Suddenly, all the girls wanted to be friends with her. They complimented her on her home sewn dresses and asked if she had gotten them from Daisy Bogan’s, a chic little boutique on King Street. She was hesitant about all the positive attention until she realized that they still wanted something from her. Her beauty would lead them to all the boys. She discovered that there was power in beauty. She could now befriend them all and kick them to the curb as she desired and that was exactly what she intended to do. She would show them, these girls who had made her life miserable all through elementary and middle school. Yes sir rebob, she was going to show them just what it felt like. Payback was a bitch. She began to make a plan for revenge. She would talk Elizabeth Maybank the head SOB into throwing a party. After all, Elizabeth or Buffy as she was known to her friends, was the ring leader. Mary Martha promised Buffy that she would make sure that all the boys would show up (her fingers were crossed behind her back). The party was planned and everyone was excited especially Buffy and Mary Martha Montague. Buffy Maybank had no idea what was in store for her. Mary Martha told all the boys not to go to her party because she did not plan to go either because Buffy and her friends were bullies. She instructed them not to tell Buffy or her SOB sisters. Her beauty was power & the boys were under her spell so they stayed away and kept their mouths shut.
The day of the big party came. All the SOBs were so excited and could hardly wait for their first girl-boy party. Mary Martha noted that she was the only girl that lived slightly north of Broad that was on the guest list.
The party started at 7pm. The SOBs began to arrive at the big mansion on Murray Blvd. and were dressed to the nines in new outfits purchased from the boutiques on King Street. By 7:30pm, they realized that there were no boys there as well as no Mary Martha Montague. At 7:45pm, a bunch of black balloons arrived at the door. The card read, “There is a balloon here for every year that you bullied me. All the girls that don’t live south of Broad as well as all the boys from any neighborhood are at a party at my house.
I would’ve invited all of you, but didn’t think you would stoop so low as to enter my house since it appears to be on the wrong side of Broad. I hope y’all enjoy each other’s company for many years to come as I certainly do not plan to do so. Best Wishes, Mary Martha Montague from slightly north of Broad.”
The girls were mortified and wondered how to get back at Mary Martha. Who did she think she was anyway. Buffy was humiliated and ready to reciprocate. Her brother was leaving the house and began to laugh hysterically.
“What’s so funny?” asked Buffy.
“Buffy, if I were you, I would think about what you’ve done to that girl and fall on your knees and ask for forgiveness. It’s going to be a long four years of high school if you don’t. She has made a laughing stock of you. Everyone knows how you bullied her. Now, I’m off to Mary Martha’s party. See ya! “
Mary Martha Montague learned that day that beauty has power, but it is no fun to bully anyone. She just wanted to show them what it felt like to be left out. Her Momma had always told her that a pretty face is nothing if you have an ugly heart. “Hmmmm,” she thought, “ maybe the next party I have, I might invite the girls from south of Broad but only if they have stopped bullying other girls who were fortunate enough to be born slightly north of Broad.”

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