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My Turn: The thrill of rebellion and adventure still beckons

Linda Cucurullo, right, with her cousin Ronnie Schwartz,

Linda Cucurullo, right, with her cousin Ronnie Schwartz, in front of Linda s family home in Merrick, circa 1959. Credit: Curcurullo Family

My rebellion started in junior high school when I was going on 13. I saw the ninth-grade girls and how the ninth-grade boys looked at them. I was enamored by the glamour of Marilyn Monroe. Oh boy, did I want to be one of them!

I started small, with Tangee lipstick, more of a shiny gloss than a color. My mother said ABSOLUTELY NOT. I begged, pleaded, cried, and sulked. Nothing worked. I had to look like those movie stars and some of the ninth-grade girls and my mother were standing between me and looking grown up and glamorous.

Thus, sneaking around was born.

What became my daily routine for several months was leaving the house in the morning for school in black and white tie-up saddle shoes, little white ankle socks, a plaid or navy blue skirt, white blouse with a Peter Pan color and a treasured white angora cardigan sweater with little pearl buttons.

I walked the eight blocks to my best friend Nancy’s house, Her mother went to work early.

We did our hair, teased and swept up on top of our heads with tiny strands hanging down around our faces. We used lipstick, eye color and rouge. I turned my demure white cardigan angora sweater backward with the little pearl buttons down the back. Demure turned into WOW!

I tied a cute little neckerchief around my neck with a side bow. Dangly earnings from my mother’s jewelry box, black seamed stockings and black ballet slippers. We thought we looked stunning. We certainly got the attention of the ninth grade boys.

On our way home before Nancy’s mom came home from work we did the change back — until one day, Nancy’s mother got home early and she called my mother.

I am still a risk taker. My need to explore the life passage or the adventure is always present. I can’t just be told about it. I have to live it. When I hear those words, ABSOLUTELY NOT, I always figure a way to do it.

Linda Cucurullo,



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