Yesterday I shared the story of the day my mother died. And, if you’ve been reading any of my posts, you know I grew up on a farm. It was after my mother’s death that I realized there was a whole different world out there.
The first time I remember my Aunt Ruth, was at mom’s funeral. She was my mother’s sister and had a very different life than mom. She lived in a big house in the city and came down with her husband to be there for the service.
The moment I saw her, I was immediately in awe. She had blonde hair and wore makeup, and looked nothing like my mother. She was stylish too, in her well-fitted red dress. After the service everyone came back to our house for food and condolences. My sister and I were showing Ruth around the farm, and when she got near one of the cows she got pretty skittish. She thought the “bull” was going to charge her because she was wearing red. We giggled at that one. She was definitely not a farm woman.
When it was time for her to leave, I found out I was to go with her and Uncle Dick, back to their home in Traverse City. I was so excited to go, I almost forgot about my mom…for a second.
When we got to their place, my aunt settled me in the front parlor with a cold soda pop in my hand, and went to ‘get comfortable’. I waited there feeling a bit out of place, but that changed when the woman who came back looked just like my mom. The blonde wig was gone, the make up off, her dentures were out, and a comfortable plain frock took the place of that red dress. She looked completely different.
I knew in that moment, even as an elven year old, the power of a make-over. I was lucky enough to stay with my aunt and uncle until school started. I had my own room, played 45’s on the record player they gave me, and went out on their boat. My favorite record was Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Our House” and I played it over and over, and my aunt didn’t seem to mind. It was a fun time and I still cherish those memories.
Back home in Hart, it took me a few years, but once I got my hands on some makeup, I was hooked. I also changed my hair. I had long straight hair, parted in the middle, just like everyone else. My sister, Linda cut it short and gave me a perm. Looking back at the pictures makes me laugh.
I think I wanted to be like my Aunt Ruth. Transform myself. And so I did.