This sure was a long day without my morning walk, or even venturing outside for that matter. The day has seemed to go on forever, partly because my boss jetted off to warm and sunny Phoenix, Arizona early this morning and this ugly weather day kept me hunkered down in the house, putting a kibosh on my walk. Although it was clear at the time I usually leave, the winds were gusting between 30 and 35 miles per hour, so I decided to forego a walk today. I was not in the mood to lose my hat, nor go scurrying after it, as it tumbled along the perimeter path several paces ahead of me.
The last very windy day when my freshly dry-cleaned wool cap went airborne and I had to scramble into the street to retrieve it, the minute I walked into the house, I went to the cabinet downstairs, where all my hair accessories are stored. Back in the day, I was very organized about my accessories, and my hair ornaments and doodads were no different. I still have them all stacked in pristine clear shoe boxes, with labels according to what type of hair accessory they are. So, I pawed through a few boxes, looking for stray bobby pins for the next windy day at the Park, but they were nowhere to be found. The grocery store doesn’t carry bobby pins either – in fact, I’ll bet a good portion of my readers are now wondering “what the heck is a bobby pin anyway?”
I used to do my long hair in a French twist or French braid and often used bobby pins to secure that ‘do in place, so I just assumed I still had some large bobby pins from those days.
Bobby pins and curlers and similar girly hair paraphernalia from the past are considered passé now.
I can remember at sleepovers at my grandmother’s house, I’d watch her putting her hair into pin curls every night before going to bed. She didn’t even need a mirror. Nanny would quickly spritz her hair with a setting lotion to dampen it, then taking tiny tufts of hair, she’d deftly form a loop of hair and crisscross it with small bobby pins. I’d laugh at her as she would have metal “Xs” all over her head. Then she’d secure those pin curls by donning an oversized pink hairnet which she tied tight into a bow on top of her head. As I watched this process intently, she would say “Linda, you have to do these things to look pretty when you’re all grown up; you won’t always be wearing a ponytail and a ribbon you know.”
Nanny was wise, because a few years later, my mom decided that my stick-straight hair and ponytail were okay for every day, but special occasions warranted big-curl girls, so she bought some bobby pins and put my hair into pin curls sometimes. When I see those old pictures, they make me cringe, and, I really have to wonder where she saw an improvement? My hair was a little lopsided – oh yes it was! Plus, I looked about fifty years older than my real age!
Oh Mom, how could you?
The things you remember sometimes when your mind starts to drift a little …
Like today, when I couldn’t go on a walk, and was up at the crack of dawn just in case that predicted rain and wind didn’t happen. It sure was tempting to crawl back into bed, but I decided to do the Christmas cards instead. I had a few letters to write with the cards for my mom’s friends who are in their 90s and not online. So, that was my morning project.
While writing out the cards, I recalled my mom doing the family Christmas cards and that was when I did my letter to Santa back in the day. I had already perused and dog-eared the Eaton’s Christmas Catalog which used to arrive mid-November in conjunction with the Santa Claus parade in downtown Toronto. I’d pick out my favorite items and Mom would help me get the letter to Santa done to be mailed out with the family Christmas cards.
I heard a story on the radio the other day that now kids text their Christmas wish lists to Santa instead of writing a letter to the Big Guy. How sad … that was a fun part of the holiday season when I was growing up. I even remember getting a personal letter from Santa from the North Pole as Christmas neared. I wonder if that nicety is still available for parents to do for their kids?
When we first moved to the States, at the old post office, which now functions as the City’s Historical Museum, every December there was a tall mailbox emblazoned with the words “Letters for Santa” outside the main entrance. There was always a queue of children dropping off their respective wish lists, while their parents, with their car motors running, lined up along Southfield Road, while patiently waiting for their kids to zip off their letters in the hope that Santa would indulge their fantasy.
Those were such simple times, sipping hot chocolate and dunking gingerbread men into that delicious frothy drink, while carefully composing a letter to Santa describing which dolly and accessories would be the perfect present for me that year. One year I was feeling bold and sassy and asked for a pretty pram to push that dolly along Sandmere Place. In this picture, circa early 1960s, it appears Santa indulged me. I remember my baby doll Thumbelina with her big pink button on her back, a magical button that brought her to life, and her head swiveled ever so slowly while I cradled her in my arms. Even her pliable body wiggled a little and she gave a whimper while moving, until the button slowly wound down. All the little girls had to have a Thumbelina. I remember this pram which was beige and brown and I was pretty darn excited with those presents.
Perhaps Santa should have brought my father some photography lessons since he got most of the doll carriage in the picture, but Linda and Thumbelina are way over in the corner.
My legs and feet got a rest from the perimeter path and I got a break from the work routine today, but my mind was working overtime; it was busy churning up some warm memories from years gone by.