Tuesday, September 1, 2009

injaynesworld "Mother-Daughter Outfits" rarely flattered either

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.

8 comments:

Tawnia said...

Great story! I would love to see those pix! Any chance we could get you to post one on your blog:)
I have a difficult(to say the least) mother. Things always look different with time. I look back with less judgement as I became a mom myself. But sometimes it still hurts.
I am sorry for the loss of your mom, she sounds like she was a great lady. She would be very proud of you, and I am sure she would think thos story was a hoot:)

Much love and respect Tawnia

Jayne Martin said...

Thanks for the love. Those photos are very old and faded and I have no scanner, but I'm sure your imagination would be pretty accurate.

Liz said...

Funny, and touching at the same time. I really enjoyed this.

Kristi Stevens said...

When I was 10, my mom looked like Cher and I did my best to look like her as well. This was long before I figure out what crazy looked like, mind you :-).

K

Best Wishes, Marie said...

i wish i would have put my foot down at the age of 5 instead of 21. my mother and i have birthdates 2 days apart. when i turned 21, she was turning 30. (the being born when she was 19 vs your mother being 32 does not seem to make a difference).

When I arrived at the house that day for "party." There were two white eyelit dresses waiting. Strapless.

I was not trilled about the party to start with and the dresses were the final straw. Not mentioned purposefully. Obviously she did not say anything before in hopes of just pushing the boundary stick another foot in my direction.

So there I was with no right bra or correct shoes. And I was expected to just wear the thing.

I refused. So manipulation technique of "I will have the dresses made and she will wear it" did not work.

So phase two was set in motion. She cried behind the scenes. And so one by one all of the out of town guests and aunts, pulled me aside or came to talk to me .... "she went to a lot of work and expense to make those dresses" "it would really mean a lot to here."

I did not wear the dress.

Nina said...

That was beautiful.

Adam said...

Hello, Jayne, I guess we'll be "stalking" each other then! I like your writing style! I Guess we have friends in common!

Hello, Marie! Hello, Nina!

Adam (mrelife.blogspot.com)

Best Wishes, Marie said...

hi adam. i came over here because i saw a comment from jayne on your blog.... jayne, you are a strong woman and i am exploring the power of my own strength, so .... it is nice to hear from a woman who is forceful and strong, and deliberate.



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