My mother was 32 when I was born, so when I was around the age of ten, these were all the rage among moms desirous of clones. This was in the late 50’s, an era of “Peter Pan” collars and starched petticoats that will not go down in history as our finest fashion hour. Easter seemed to be the time this urge would hit all the moms in the neighborhood the hardest. They really took that whole “Easter Parade” stuff to heart. To this day I break out in hives when I hear that song. The attempt to find a style, color and pattern that would flatter the body types of both a fleshy 40-year-old woman and the stick figure of a 10-year-old child inevitably produced only a truly terrible hybrid that I wanted no part of.
Unless, like my friend, Ellen, your mom had you when she was 16 and now, at 26, she still looked cool. But then you had to explain to everyone that your mom was a ho in high school, which kind of ruined the whole “like-mother-like-daughter” effect you were going for. Coming from a family with a penchant for the juice, I was certainly not one to judge anyone else’s relations. Besides, I liked her mom. When we hit puberty, she let us smoke. This was way before the Surgeon General put a damper on it, when the worst you could expect to be told was that you looked cheap.
At that time I wore black, skin-tight skirts, ratted my hair up into a bleached-out silver beehive and had lined my eyes with black Magic Marker when my mom told me I couldn’t wear eye makeup to school. So telling me I looked cheap because I had a Marlboro hanging out of my mouth was like, “Yeah? What’s your point?”
Needless to say, by then my mother had no interest in dressing like me anymore and the mother-daughter outfits were sent off to Goodwill where I’m sure they continued to emotionally scar other little 10-year-old girls for years to come.
Oddly, as I look back at some of those photos of my mom and me now in our matching pill box hats and crisp white gloves, I’m stirred not by embarrassment at all, but rather by a certain nostalgia for that time and I find myself wishing I’d had more patience with her and her desire for what she must have thought of as a bonding experience. Had I known then that I would lose her only 12 short years later, I’d like to think I might not have been such a pain-in-the-ass about the whole thing.
4 hours ago