My mother made things: clothes, vegetables, furniture, houses, enemies. As a product of the depression, she was frugal to a fault. As absolutely annoying as this was, sometimes it was comedy gold. I grew up in the 1960s, a decade which, in and of itself, is fairly amusing.
I was both awed and baffled by my mother. She was bat shit crazy, but her skill as a seamstress and her sense of style completely hid that fact. The clothes she made were perfectly crafted and stunning. She, however, was not as skilled with at-home hair coloring. One Saturday night in 1964 when I was six years old, my mother dressed in a homemade gold sequin evening gown with her green hair (a home hair coloring casualty) meticulously teased into a towering beehive, ran a bath for me before she and my dad went out. The nozzle had been left turned up to the shower setting. As she leaned in to turn on the water, her green hair beehive and exquisite dress were immediately attacked with a downpour of cold water. She was all dressed up and ready to go, and then she wasn’t.
For a 6 year old this is high comedy. From where I was nestled in a towel on the bathroom floor, I saw the glamorous backend of my mother explode into a violent tussle with the shower curtain.“Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Nooooooooo! WHO LEFT THE NOZZLE ON THE SHOWER SETTING??”
I fervently hoped it wasn’t me and willed myself to hide the laughing and become smaller.
Once extricated from the now wet curtain and the onslaught of cold water she glared at me as if I had done this to her. On purpose. But then thankfully, my bipolar Mom started laughing. This is one of my fondest memories of my mother, because a phenomenon occurred, she laughed at herself. This is my first recorded memory of how to salvage dignity.