jodi-in-a-hat
Me in My Mother’s Hat
by Margo Jodyne Dills

My displeasure at being molded into
my mother’s vicarious perfection
made our connection
rocky and often turbulent. At different stages
of my life she
dressed me, sometimes
in antique garments
of her own,
which were worn for
baptism,
birthdays and
blessed events. My Danish costume,
hat included,
worn to perform traditional song and dance,
was donated to a museum
decades later, causing a horrid family
kerfuffle. Among these garments,
made of heavy wool;
highly starched muslin;
prickly, irritating crinoline… were
her hats
that defied placement on my
downy head. My hair,
which refused to do anything but
fall straight as a straw, rebuked
almost anything
that was placed there. My scalp was
slathered with
chemicals (eyes
tingling) (tips of ears
burning), the likes of which
today are likely banned, outlawed…
Nothing struck more fear in my
heart than seeing
a box of
Toni
on the kitchen counter. My first wave
was applied before I was barely able to walk on
my own two fat little
legs. Thick elastic
under-the-chin bands, long pins
that caught fair hair and held a
hat in place, exasperated me
from every age until I
put
my
foot
down;
a foot clothed in crocheted woolen
socks and buttoned leather
kidskin mary-janes.
All these things and
Hats be damned.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken in our front yard in Enumclaw, Washington, when I was about three years old.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A series of photos exists displaying me in my mother’s mothballed clothing, including leather shoes with pearl buttons that I eventually and thankfully outgrew. I wasn’t often forced to dress for occasions, as much as having photos taken, but my resistance involved defiance and discomfort. Many of these little frocks are still preserved, some worn by dolls, and when I look at them, I consider my own mother as a child, now gone several years, and regret the constant battles I had with her until we found our common ground. So much time wasted. My own blog is It’s Always Somethingand I would love to post something there every day but that usually doesn’t happen unless I’m doing a PAD Challenge, which I don’t always have time for, because it IS a challenge. I love having a good prompt but often words pop into my head uncontrollably that manage to find their way to paper, if I’m lucky. I am currently working on the editing of a novel that has been accepted by a small press. I used to tell people I’m a writer and do property management on the side but lately I seem to be doing the writing on the side and something needs to change there; wish me luck.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margo Jodyne Dills is an active member of PNWA and Hugo House in Seattle, former staff writer for Banderas News, Puerto Vallarta; writes as a guest blogger under the names of Jake Diego and Adam Garcia in Panama, Colombia, and Mexico; works as an editor, web script and travel writer on both sides of the border. She keeps busy writing poetry and editing a soon-to-be-published novel The Boys. Seattle is her permanent home but she keeps her condo in Mexico and runs there to hide when the weather gets too unbearable up north. Her friends call her Jodi.