*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
My mother and my aunt worked together at a jewelry shop in the 1960s. One of their coworkers had a teenage son who also worked at the shop. My aunt was eighteen years old, and the coworker's son was sixteen.
One day in 1964, my aunt and her teen coworker learned through conversation that they both wanted to watch the new James Bond movie that was out in movie theaters. The movie was called Goldfinger. They agreed to watch it together. It wasn't supposed to be a date, just a couple of young coworkers seeing a movie.
On the day of the movie's release, my aunt and her work friend approached their boss and asked if they could leave work early to see the movie. They were honest about the reason why they wanted time off from work, and to their surprise and delight, their boss said, "Yes."
My aunt told my mother she was leaving the jewelry shop for a few hours to see a movie and would be back in time for them to take the bus home together, as always. However, my aunt's movie companion neglected to tell his mother he was leaving the premises.
His mother looked up from her workbench just in time to see her son walk out the door, with my aunt following a moment behind him. She quickly surmised they were leaving work together, and she grew furious.
The woman approached my mother, who was minding her own business and doing her work. "Where is your sister taking my son?" the woman demanded. "She is an adult, and she should know better than that. My son is a minor. Do you and your sister realize that?" The woman was frantic.
"None of this is any of my business," my mother told her. "Where they went and what they do has nothing to do with me. As you said, my sister is an adult. She doesn't have to answer to me."
The woman was furious for the rest of the day. When her son and my aunt returned to work, my mother could hear her screaming from across the room.
"I don't know what she was so worried about," my mother told me. "They weren't dating, and even if they were... my coworker was engaged to be married, and she was also having an affair with our married boss. If she was worried about anything, she should have worried about herself."
What do you think? Is there anything wrong with two coworkers seeing a movie together in the middle of the day if one is sixteen and the other is eighteen? They didn't even get into the same car together. Neither of them had a car, and they took the bus to the movie theater.
Did my mother and aunt's coworker have a valid complaint, or was she overreacting?