This past week I started a regimen for some extensive dental work which I have procrastinated over for sometime. When someone asked why I had not gone to a dentist earlier, my response was three reasons: fear, pain and cost. I must have dental surgery plus the cost of dentures.
An interesting thing about waiting for the dentist, then sitting in the dental chair, triggered so many memories about so many things in my life. As I began recalling events, additional happenings seemed to flow through my mind as I leaned back in the dental chair. I giggled to myself because I thought, This is like watching a movie. While some of the recollections are fresh in my mind, I decided to write about them.
When I was a teen-ager, 18 years old, I would go to the Atlanta Dental college for check-ups about every six months. When I sat down in the chair, the instructor would call his students over and say, “I want to show you a perfect set of teeth.” And I did have these beautiful teeth. Perfectly straight, very white and even and no cavities, at that time in my life.
At the time I was a photographer’s model because I photographed so well with these perfect teeth. Every week I went to the High Museum of Art to sit for three hours at a time while art students painted me. I never thought I was pretty but they would say I had good bone structure.
The Museum acted sort of like an agency others would call when they wanted a model. I recall being photographed for Butler Shoes, Devoe Paints, Nunnally’s Candy, news ads, window displays and many things.
One of the most interesting assignments was for photographs for the Lovable Bra Company in Atlanta. I was reluctant to be photographed from waist up only in a bra. This was in the forties, a different era from today. This Lovable bra ad began appearing in the Atlanta Constitution newspaper every Monday. When I called the newspaper about it they said it was scheduled to run for a year.
Modeling was part-time and I had a regular job, working in the engineering department of Bell Aircraft.
I was not really trained to do anything so Bell Aircraft sent me to engineering school to learn how to read aeronautical blue-prints. It was my job to go out on the assembly line and deliver deviations which came out regularly while they were building the B-29. I loved that job. But the men started teasing me about that bra ad, and I called and had it cancelled before the year was up.
Another unusual modeling job was an assignment standing beside a B-29, holding a handkerchief on the propeller. I think it was to show it could balance the propeller, but not sure what it was for. I still have pictures of many of the assignments, including the bra ad. And by the way the motto of Lovable Bra was “What God has forgotton we fill with cotton.”
Another memory that was triggered sitting in the dental chair was about the time I had to have a tooth removed. After I began having children, they began decaying. I was living in Florida and went to a dentist in West Palm Beach for the extraction and a partial plate for my lower teeth. As we made an exit from the dental office via the rear door to the parking lot, I was thrilled to see the Duchess of Windsor walk across the lot and enter a car with Prince Edward in it. They had a home in West Palm Beach, after he abdicated his throne in England to marry Wally Warfield Simpson. I still have a copy of the farewell speech he made when he abdicated to marry her. That was the first time I had ever seen a King, and it was a thrill for me, at the time.
After that dental extraction, I had to wait for healing before having a partial made. The prescription the dentist wrote for the type of partial dentures was made from stainless steel and it was quite expensive.
I knew a dentist in North Georgia I went to high school with, so I called him and flew to Atlanta to see him. I gave him the description of the type of partial the West Palm doctor gave me, and my friend had it made much much less expensively. I could pay for the plane ticlet with money left over for the difference in cost. I’m still wearing it, and it has been very satisfactory lo these many years, but now must be replaced with another one. Plus some other very extensive dental work.
I have often wondered why in the Divine plan of things we were not privy to growing another set of teeth, when the one set we have no longer serves its purpose.
My next appointment was next Thursday, but while taking a nap today the dental office called about starting earlier on Monday. All the work I’m having done is extensive and expensive. However when they drug me up to dull the pain, no telling where I’m apt to drift off to and start remembering things which have happened in my long and interesting life. At any rate, just being in a dentist chair seems to trigger memories of a former time and place. That’s probably my escape hatch, from the dread of being there.
LET FREEDOM RING
Just me AC