Dad and Mom as newlyweds
I can still see the blue smoke swirling above my dad’s head as he puffed on a pipe while reading the Sunday newspaper. Sometimes he entertained my sister Patty and me by blowing rings that lingered, then floated to the ceiling and disappeared. The sweet scent of pipe tobacco filled the living room of our small apartment along with classical music which resonated from the speaker on the record player. Patty and I lounged on the white wool carpet while giggling at the comic strips.
He used a large magnifying glass to show us how color is separated during the printing process. We gasped in amazement upon the discovery of the tiny dots of red, yellow, and blue that blended to create the colorful funny pages. One time, he gave us each an egg filled with Silly Putty and flattened it out, then pressed it onto our favorite strip. We could see the duplicated image on its sticky surface. Back then it seemed like magic! Mom would fuss about the lint he would pick up on his black trousers after sitting on the floor with us.
When I discovered that the Chinese New Year begins on January 23rd, the first thought that popped into my head was, “Whoa! Another new year, another chance for a do-over!” The second was, “We should go out for a Chinese dinner Monday night.” The third was, “Oh wow! I should check out my Chinese horoscope!” Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t even checked my astrological horoscope for 2012.
My fascination with astrology started in the 7th grade when a group of my friends and I walked from school to the neighborhood drug store. The glass display case we dashed to was filled with penny candy. After gazing at the myriad of choices, we each selected our favorite sweets. Then we discovered a cup on top of the counter filled with colored scrolls printed with astrological signs and horoscopes. They prophesied the future for the whole month! One of my friends knew all about them and we deciphered which sign we were. As an Aries, I was pretty excited about being a ram and a leader, but I wasn’t so crazy about the whole head-butting thing. Continue reading
I anticipate Halloween more than any other holiday because I can be a kid again. As a child, I loved playing dress-up and remember the lovely gowns in our costume box. When trying on these voluptuous dresses with the crinoline skirts, I felt utterly transformed like Cinderella going to the ball - even if it took 5 safety pins to get the top to stay up! On Halloween night, my friends wore sheets to become ghosts or were super heroes complete with a tablecloth cape. My mother was a seamstress so my sister, brother, and I wore get-ups she sewed after dinner on week nights. One of my favorites was a witch costume she made from a McCall’s pattern. My mother sent the cape, dress, and hat with red braids to my daughter Courtney who ran around the house in it for months before the holiday. Soon it was worn in shreds as she cast spells with the words, “Spit, spat, wallerstat.” (I still have no idea where those words came from!) My sister’s favorite was a big black cape with a humongous hood. My mother made my brother a silver and black suit one year. He painted his face, glued on pointy ears and became The Metallic Alien. We proudly wore our costumes to beg for treats on frighteningly cold All Hallow’s Eve.
Decades later I still enjoy dressing up. Now instead of one box, we have a storage room in our basement full of unusual clothing collected through the years. Some hang on makeshift racks. Costumes I sewed for my own children along with many others fill containers to the brim. Continue reading