Bedtime Stories

It’s 10:30 pm.  Do you know where your “sweet dreams” are?

I’m afraid of the dark.  As far as I know, I’ve had that fear forever.  I don’t like open closet doors in my line of vision at night (deep pockets of darkness are very unnerving).  I don’t like to stand next to my bed longer than necessary when the lights are out – I jump into bed as quickly as I can (hey, you never know what’s hiding under there).  I don’t look into mirrors at night (you never know what’s going to look back at you).

Why these fears?  I’m not really sure, but maybe it goes back to the bedtime stories my mom used to read to my sister and me when we were little.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Yep, you read that right.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Can you imagine trying to fall asleep with visions of witches, dwarves, devils, and other such charming characters prancing around your head?  How about talking fish, wolves, rabbits, and more – not necessarily nice creatures like you find with SpongeBob SquarePants or Blue from Blue’s Clues.

Maybe my mom has a warped sense of humor.  Maybe she decided that would be her way of punishing her darling daughters after a day of children behaving like children.  I have this vision of her just chuckling quietly (or maybe roaring with laughter) if I ask her about it.  Her answer will probably be something like, “What?  You didn’t like the bedtime stories?”

At this moment, that 1954 Nelson Doubleday Junior Deluxe Edition book is setting on the arm of the chair where I’m sitting.  I think of how as a little girl I used to lay a sheet of tracing paper on the cover of the book and rub a No. 2 pencil gently across it to capture the cartoonish characters embossed there.  I remember asking my mom to read from the book.  I remember her sitting on the edge of the bed and spinning those tales into glorious ribbons of nighttime visions.  Back then they were just tales written down by two brothers; but somehow their words were absorbed by pieces of my young mind, hiding behind partitions of brain matter and blood vessels, hovering and then seeping into the core of whatever makes phobias rear their ugly heads.

Oh, the joys of childhood – of not being afraid of anything – not the dark, not of jumping off the top floor of a barn into piles of straw, not of crashing side-first onto a grassy hill and rolling giggling down it, not of anything that tomorrow would bring.

Until “The Outer Limits” started airing on TV.

Cold shivers …

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Where Did All the Shags Go?

Have you ever had an amazing haircut that you’ve never been able to get replicated?  Mine was back in high school, back when the shag was all the rage and every hairstylist in the country knew how to do it perfectly.  There wasn’t much I liked about myself back then, but that haircut made me feel extraordinary.  Life as a teenager was bearable because I looked cool, man.

Alas, thirty-some years later I desperately want that shag again and can’t find one picture in any magazine or one photo on the world wide web that looks like the hair cut I had back then.  Why is that?  Shags are supposedly back in style – I have seen pictures in hairstyle magazines claiming to be “shags” but come on – they are calling every length, every layered cut a “shag” cut.  NO, NO, NO! Those are only imitation shags – not the real thing!  DON’T BE FOOLED!

I wish we had had the internet in the 70’s.  Then there would be a plethora of pictures of girls with their shag haircuts.

Now, if I were back in Chicago and had access to my mom’s gazillion photos that are tucked away in envelopes and photo boxes and albums that are falling apart, I might be able to find at least one picture of me in that beautiful shag cut.  Maybe the next time I go back home I’ll be able to rifle through the pictures.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could find one?

I tried to explain the cut but find it very difficult.  Multiple layers (don’t know how long they should be and they always ask), tight against the back of the neck (really – what does that look like?), wispy bangs.  Why is that so hard?  I can see it in my mind … why can’t they?

Hmm … maybe if I can locate a retired hairstylist who used to cut hair in the 1970’s she might remember how to shag a head   🙂

A Paisley Girl

I grew up during the 1960’s and 1970’s. I’m a child of guitars, flower power, paisley, mushrooms (drawing them, not eating or otherwise ingesting them), folk music, classic rock, peasant blouses, white go-go boots, and all of the other wonderful things of those years. No matter how old I get, those things will remain a part of me. That mostly is a good thing, but sometimes – not so much.

Let’s take paisley, for example. No matter where I am, if I see something that is paisley I stop to take a look at it. If it’s a scarf or a blouse, I might buy it. If it’s a new Vera Bradley something-or-other, I might buy that too. A notebook? For sure! I can get away with having paisley things, but I’m learning that certain items are not considered “age appropriate.” Say what?

I have a very cool blouse I bought last year that is a deep blue paisley beauty. It looks stunning on the hanger is my closet. But when I put it on, I feel like I’m a 90-year-old woman trying to look 20. Not that I’m 90 yet (I’m only in my mid-50s). But the woman in the mirror doesn’t look like me when I see myself wearing that blouse. I expect to see me, only not so old-looking. It’s kind of hard to explain, I guess – unless you’ve been in that situation.

There are so many things I recall when I see paisley. I remember sitting in English class in high school and drawing little paisley patterns while the teacher lectured on some topic (okay, I admit my attention span wasn’t always on target). I remember this freaking awesome paisley dress I had gotten from a neighbor’s daughter when she outgrew it – all blue and purple and pink and absolutely wonderful. Most of all I can still see a different English teacher and the brown paisley shirt he sometimes wore, and oh, how I loved him … I mean, how I loved that shirt. Deep sigh …

Why are we so concerned about wearing things that are “age appropriate?” I wear Uggs® – is that a crime? I have an old copy of THE LITTLE PRINCE on my dresser. I have a C.F. Martin Hippie guitar. I play Barbies® with my boyfriend’s nine year old daughter. And I want to wear paisley blouses.

Are the age police going to come and take me away?