Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Childhood Makeup of a Mercurial Life

I've been thinking a lot about my Great Aunt Kay lately. She passed away nearly twelve years ago. I miss her and I feel her influence in my life all the time. She and my Great Uncle Chuck provided the safest place I knew as a child. When it would thunder I would crawl into bed with them. Even when it didn’t thunder I would crawl into be with them, scooch in between them and sleep happily. I got to doing it so much they called me “the blond bomber”.

I remember once my friend and I saw a show on TV where they promised people free makeovers and, refusing to let the person look at themselves while they put the makeup on, they made them look like clowns or crazy streetwalkers. We decided it would be a good idea to do the same to Aunt Kay. She had an old makeup box full of groovy sixties makeup--greens, yellows and oranges. She ended up with yellow eyeshadow that extended above her eyebrows and coral shaded cheekbones that went pointedly back to her ears making her look a bit like an elf. When we first gave her the mirror to look at herself, she said, “Oh my!” and you could tell for a moment she wasn’t sure how to react--her first concern not not being her clown face but whether or not reacting to it as a clown face would hurt our feelings.

Had we intended to use lip gloss to highlight her hairline?

My friend and I burst out laughing and she did too--a breathy laughter mixed with relief that no, these children knew better.

What we didn’t know however was how hard it was to get makeup that old off of someone with such fragile skin as hers. Now that I think about it, it was a fitting revenge in a way--after we had all laughed about it, my friend and I went to wipe it off and couldn’t get one bit of it to budge. She let us prod and pull and near panic before she told us that she had some cold cream that would take care of it with no problem.

Now, right at this moment, twenty years later I am realizing that this might have been intentional--a little practical joke gotcha back--letting us develop heart palpitations--letting us suffer just a bit before telling us she could fix it. My Aunt Kay was like that--a slightly shady, impish, extremely intelligent and sharply humored lady--a lovingly Mercurial lady who impressed that presence onto my life from my earliest years. No wonder I delight to hear the laughing leaves dancing in the wind and feel my heart lift to bask in the endless prairie sky. I'm a Hermes girl and have been, apparently, for a very, very long time.

Blessed by the Mystery,

No comments:

Post a Comment