Zelda's a new Flapper girl.
In 1923, at 21 years old, she wasn't yet married, and living in Sheepshead Bay, New York with her father and younger sister, Rose.
She's far too loud, and bossy, too. At least that's what people said.
Zelda's father knew why his oldest daughter wasn't married. It was because as soon as she has an opinion, it comes out. Zelda's opinionated. He had tried to teach Zelda to keep her thoughts and opinions to herself, but she'd have none of it.
She wore her father down with arguments on why she could only be herself. His tips were no help at all, and he only hoped Zelda's behavior wouldn't rub off on Rose.
In the heat of August that year, construction was finally finished on a new boardwalk on Coney Island. Zelda had heard that it was quite lively. Her family had cousins visiting from Maine, and decided to take them to go see it. It was always a bit cooler by the shore, after all.
On the new boardwalk, Zelda saw a smallish crowd of people gathered in a tight circle.
Her family had visited Coney Island, often, but this was something new. There was a man operating a fancy frozen dessert machine, serving up ice-cold custard for five cents, in a crunchy cone. Right there on the boardwalk, with the hot sun shining down on it! It was magical.
She had a very good nose, and in the heat of the day, she could smell fresh vanilla bean, even over the popcorn and cotton candy.
Within the small crowd, she noticed a handsome young man, patiently waiting for his portion of the cold treat. Zelda had no problem making her way through the crowd to stand next to him. She had a plan to inquire on his favorite flavor. He wasn't shy either, and seemed to enjoy her boldness. His name was Clarence, and Zelda thought she'd never heard of a nicer name.
While her cousins darted in and out of shops, Zelda and Clarence sat on a bench together, ate and talked. When he took off his hat, she discovered that he had the darkest, most beautiful hair and eyes she'd ever seen. And Clarence liked vanilla, too. It was actually his favorite, he told her. That was good, because in Zelda's opinion, anyone who doesn't like vanilla is batty. Certifiable, even.
She loves her father, very much in fact, but she can't change who she is for anyone. Trying is too exhausting. She likes herself just fine. And she likes Clarence, too. And who ever said vanilla was boring?