hair

White Gloves

It’s amazing where your mind goes in the aisles of Bed, Bath and Beyond.

The other day, I was looking for a pair of white cotton gloves to wear at night to keep some super-rich, moisturizing hand cream on my dry, wintery paws. The second I found them, I had an instant, Pre-Teen-Terror Flashback.

Ballroom. Dancing. Classes.

Outside the Concordia Club, in 1969, in the back seat of a Ford Country Squire Station Wagon, with arms folded, a scowl on my face, wearing a party dress, white socks, patent leather shoes and of course, white gloves, my eleven-year-old self proclaimed to my parents that I would NEVER make MY kids take ballroom dancing classes.

Sitting next to me was my beaming, twelve year old sister, who would have worn a dress and crown everyday, if she could.

Truthfully, I was a bit of a tomboy, so being forced to put on a fancy dress once a week, comb my hair, let alone having to DANCE and HOLD HANDS with a boy, caused me more anxiety than I care to admit and to which I probably carry with me to this day. Seriously, Kenny Diamond used to repetitively take his thumb in and out of its joint as I was holding his hand. Ew.

The fancy husband and wife team who taught us were straight out of central casting. Although I don’t recall their names, I can envision her big hair, her red lipstick, her black stilettos, and her husband, who I think had a mustache and big hair, too, but I may be incorrectly recalling some 40’s gangster film. With her very smokey voice and his very crisp finger snaps, they would sashay across the floor and show us the moves.

“Balance and a, Left, (SNAP) Right, (SNAP) Left, (SNAP) Balance and a…”

WTF were my parents thinking?

My mother would tell you that this was how young children learned to behave in society. You know, the Etiquette drill. Bull shit. The only thing I learned there was the Box Step and the Fox Trot. Two skills that I’VE NEVER USED.

On the very plus side of this recounting, I’m happy to report that fifty years later, I have stayed true to my word. I NEVER made my children take Ballroom. Dancing. Classes.

As for the many other things I made them do, well…that’s their story to tell.

Catching Some Rays

Of all the photographs I’ve taken, this is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a picture of my Dad, catching a nap, on his cherished, Thrift Drug, foldable chaise lounge chair. During the summer, he would zip home from the office at lunchtime, whip off his dental gown, and catch a few rays on our back patio. He really loved the sun.

“Bald heads look better with a tan”, he used to tell me. In those days, he didn’t wear sunscreen and from the look of his chest, can you blame him?

Photographs can tell you a lot. This one not only reminds me of my Dad’s ability to chill, but it also reminds me of why I spent years in electrolysis. Genes are a powerful thing, you know.

It’s been ten years since my Dad left this earth. He died in an I.C.U., tethered to a bunch of life saving equipment that ultimately failed to do its job. I am not the only one in the world who has witnessed a parent or loved one leave life this way. It is nothing short of horrible and if you’re not careful, it can burn a haunting image in your memory.

Thank goodness for the power of strong visuals. I have found that old photographs can provide the necessary assistance for coping.

Frida Kahlo mustache not withstanding, this photo always makes me smile and is the one that I have buried in my heart.