During a Brooklyn, NY, circuit assembly in the early 1990s, the very prim and proper wife (I might add “prudish” too), of a prominent man in the Service Department, a former district overseer, left her seat while the program was in session and slowly walked up the aisle to the back of the auditorium. We paid little attention to her as she walked by. (She was sitting down in front of the auditorium near the platform and we were sitting near the back. Joe had an aisle seat and I was sitting next to him.)
I’ll call this woman Sister Prim and Proper. She was tall and slender and walked erectly exhibiting sort of a better-than-thou look as she walked up the aisle. That proud look was quite familiar to us because we knew her well.
The floor in the auditorium was sloped (it was once a movie theater), so we had a good view of Sister Prim’s return about ten minutes later. From what happened next it was obvious that she had been to the Ladies Room. We couldn’t help but grin when we saw what was attached to the bottom of one of her shoes as she walked down the aisle to her seat. And we instinctively knew what her reaction would be when she became aware of the situation. True to form, she fulfilled our expectations. Both of us couldn’t help but think the same thing – “Of all people to have this happen to!”
There must have been some gum on one of Sister Prim and Proper’s shoes. And when she was in the Ladies Room, some toilet paper stuck to the gum and as she walked back to her seat the paper trailed back some fifteen feet or more. Apparently, the toilet paper was still attached to the roll and it kept unraveling as she headed out of the Ladies Room. Inasmuch as the sessions were still going on, when I looked back to where the Ladies Room was I noticed there hardly was a soul milling around that area which would explain why no one alerted Sister Prim and Proper about what was following her.
Obviously, at a certain point the toilet paper tore off of the roll, but it stayed firmly attached to the bottom of Sister Prim and Proper’s shoe as it was pulled along like part of a wedding dress that had a long, narrow train which trailed behind a bride.
Sister Prim and Proper didn’t know about the toilet paper attached to her shoe until an attendant went to where she was sitting and whispered something in the ear of her husband while pointing to the floor. Mind you, he told her husband, not her, because only a very mature spiritual man can handle such a problem, right? From where we were sitting we could see her high-ranking husband leaning over to look at the floor where he saw the toilet paper still stuck to his wife’s shoe. He then said something to her while pointing to her feet. The reaction was exactly as we knew it would be – she turned red in the face, put her hand over her mouth and hurriedly left her seat to make her way up the aisle still dragging the toilet paper. No longer was she standing tall as she walked, but her shoulders were slumped over and she wouldn’t look at anyone as she walked by.
We knew the poor woman was mortified especially when she could hear kids sitting in seats by the aisle snickering when they saw the long trail of toilet paper streaming from behind her shoe as the attendant tried to gather the stuff up. We heard one little boy, who went to the same congregation as she did, say, “Mommy, Mommy, look at the toilet paper stuck on Sister Prim and Proper’s shoe.”
Sister Prim and Proper never returned back to her seat. After the assembly session was over, she just wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Probably took the bus back to Bethel before the final song was over rather than endure our teasing. But we Bethelites, who saw the incident from beginning to end, laughed as we talked about Sister Prim and Proper’s “paper trail.” We weren’t laughing at Sister Prim, but it was a pretty funny experience that added a bright note to an otherwise hum-drum day at a circuit assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses.