Tuesday, October 25, 2011

RemembeRED: Costume

Prompt: reach back to a costume that made an impression. This is late because I am sickly today. For the record, I hate being sickly.

My mother helped me pull her short, bright red, mini over my head and over her bra stuffed with tissues. She zipped it up over the white blouse that she made me put on underneath, because it was October in Germany, and cold. I think the skirt of the mini came to my knees; I was too distracted by my fake chest and the idea that I would someday have breasts that size. Black high heels, impossibly tall to my eyes, were waiting next to the door when we were finished.

Then came one of my mother's short black wigs, held firmly in place with hairpins that my mother seemed to be trying to jab into my skull. Wigs were expensive, and for my mother to allow me to wear one of hers was a very big deal indeed. My mom would have stapled the wig to my head if it had been possible, so it wouldn't accidentally fall off.

Makeup was next. My mother dabbed a coral rouge on my cheeks in an exaggerated circling motion. Next came the frosty sky blue eye shadow from eyelash to eye brows, followed by liquid kohl eyeliner and mascara. My mother smeared my mouth with bright red lipstick, and I was ready to hit the streets in the costume of a 'streetwalker'.

I had NO idea what the heck a 'streetwalker' was at the time. I was just happy that, for a precious few moments, I had my mother all to myself. I proudly walked out into the living room to show off my costume before my brother the Rabbit and I went out into the night.


  1. Love this! I love how through the eyes of a child you see what really mattered- it wasn't the costume, it was being the recipient of your mother's undivided attention. Beautifully remembered, thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the costume description. You nailed it, especially being distracted by your fake chest. I remember putting socks down my shirt as a little girl and prancing around. So memorable.

  3. I love that you had no idea what a streetwalker was, and didn't care. Because it was all about time with your mom.
    All the details of your costume are great. Good job.

  4. I have a very similar memory! My mom dressed me up and gave me a piece of gum and said "tonight, it's okay to smack your gum while you say 'trick or treat' with your hand on your hip!" I also had no idea what I was, but I soaked up all the fuss my mom made over me that night...Thanks for sharing!

  5. I agree, that it's the innocence of what we were that makes the holiday magic and full of promise. I never needed a "fake chest" ;) I loved your words...hoping you are feeling better as you read this.

  6. I love the idea of the only thing that mattered was time with your mom. On the other hand, what was she thinking?? ;)

  7. I love the connection between mother and daughter as well. That sense of total commitment.

    Another interesting aspect of this piece is the anticipation of the feminine tools which would truly be yours one day. Like trying on the future.

  8. This is totally fascinating. I love that you didn't know what you were. And that it didn't matter. Children are wonderful like that, aren't they?


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!