Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I had no kids for Halloween this year, and truth to tell, I've always been a bit saddened that my community doesn't attract any children from the surrounding neighborhood. Secretly, as a kid, I always loved the chance to dress up and for a few fleeting hours, become someone else. The bunny costume, which you saw, was one of my mother's many attempts to turn me--a girl who loved to read, play with pop guns, slide down hills on a piece of card board head first, rush into the waves at the beach, gaze at the stars and camp in the jungle--into a little person who loved pink, cute girly things.  That did not happen. She was disappointed. I was likewise, both because I felt horrible about always having to fight her and because I lacked the body and athletic ability to enjoy being the tomboy that my mother was in her youth.

A teacher of children between the ages of seven and nine, my mother, a tall, elegant woman, would, at Halloween, become her alter ego. The nearest school day to Halloween always held a substitute in the afternoon while my mother hied away, usually in the teacher's lounge, applying layers of make-up, blacking her teeth and creating strange looking moles from bits of yeast then attached to her face. This was accompanied by a black crepe dress with long sleeves, teased hair containing spiders, a pointy witches hat, the requisite broom and black lip stick and nails. There was also her cackle, something no one else could mimic--that set her apart from every other Halloween witch I've ever come across. Even the smartest kids in her classes had difficulty figuring out who the witch was that visited their room and the rest of the school handing out treats.

During adolescence, when I would have preferred anonymity, I was often confronted with kids--at the commissary, the pool, the library--who, upon recognizing me, would exclaim, "Oh, you're mother's the witch!" This or similar remarks were usually met with, “You got that right, kid." Though, as I grew older, the rejoinder became, “Yes, and I'm in training so you'll want to stay out of my way." That usually sent them packing at a fast clip.

It was not until my undergraduate years that my inner girl, the one who was always the cute bunny, gypsy, mummy or something similarly conventional, bloomed into a cross between the character Elvira, who by that time I'd seen on the small screen, and a long-haired, chain-clad, whip-laden dominatrix in a bustier, long before Madonna made them famous. Unfortunately, I have no photos, only recollections. The sweetest is meeting the One who stole my heart and whose loss I remember both at Halloween and at the dawn of the New Year.


Until Next Time...

15 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Another very moving post.
Nostalgia, humour, love and loss.

Jenny Woolf said...

Sounds like your Halloweens were always creative, even though it is a shame your mother always tried to make you into something you are not. I think parents can be quite misguided about their kids, even though they usually believe they have their best intentions at heart!

the walking man said...

There has not been a trick or treating child on my doorstep, or any other round here since 1990. The neighborhood has too many scary things in the day time for them to venture ut at dusk.

Halloween is one trip I just never understood ya know e, to this very day I have never donned costume, mask or been to a Halloween party--I just mooched candy from other kids the day after.

Wisewebwoman said...

What I love about your posts is that they trigger so many memories in me, stuff I never thought about - like my own mother who was tiny and delicate and feminine and had this galumphing tall daughter ( 9" taller) and really didn't know what to do with me. I liked gangs and warfare with the boys in the neighbourhood and converted my expensive dolly's pram into a go kart and made forts. I think baffled would have been a good word for her. YOur mother sounds so outgoing and sure of herself. Must have been hard to have been her daughter with her expectations.
XO
WWW

Birdie said...

Oh, I was wanting to see a picture! What a great memory!

e said...

I guess that is a central theme, although there is much more I could write. Thanks for your visits and supportive comments. I hope you are having a good week.

e said...

My mother was a very creative person who unfortunately downplayed her brain, though she was always banging on at me not to do the same. I think in some ways, she was misguided when it came to me.

e said...

I'm sorry your neighborhood is in the state it is in, that must really be scary for everyone there.

e said...

Had you been younger, we'd have been a good fit as friends, from what you say. I wasn't into boys and could just as easily be content with a book, something I think I developed from enforced periods of inactivity due to surgeries, etc. My mother often appeared self confident but wasn't entirely happy.

the fly in the web said...

We didn't have Hallowe'en....though we did bob for apples!
A beautifully written post - very moving.

Maria said...

When Liv was young, I used to take her trick or treating dressed in a Victorian mourning gown. I ADORED dressing up in that thing! And I can't even hand it down to her since I'm barely 5 ft tall and she is 5'11. It hangs in the back of my closet.....

e said...

Hi Birdie,

Thanks. I have pictures of my mother donning her witch costume and persona but no scanner, so could not include them here. The other is bittersweet.

e said...

Thank you. That is high praise indeed. Thanks for visiting.

37paddington said...

Great memory! Very much enjoyed this post.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Lost love - always a bittersweet memory.

Too bad you don't have a photo of you in that costume, though,