Thursday, October 31, 2013
Halloween and Other Musings
It is Halloween; A Happy One to All, and a Blessed New Year/Samhain to our Wiccan Friends. The Celts are my favorite people, and they have some awesome ritual figures in bronze and stone, including sculptures of Epona. For those who want to read, I recommend the works of Morgan Llewellyn, especially The Horse Goddess, Anne Rice's early Vampire Chronicles, Parke Godwin, and nonfiction on the Celts by Nora Chadwick, Jean Markale, Antonia Fraser and Joy Chant [The Warrior Queens and The High Kings]. The Sci/Fi fantasy of Evangeline Walton [The Island of the Mighty Series], Patricia Keneally Morrison [yes, Jim's widow], and Julian May also satisfy. For myth and legend, there is Bullfinch’s Mythology and my article in a 1987 National Doll World, "The Golden Girls; Modern Celtic Ladies." Halloween is always elegiac for me. My best memories are of carving pumpkins with my Dad, my mom making awesome costumes; a Greek Gypsy when I was 5, a fantastic Raggedy Ann outfit, a Pioneer Girl, a witch, a vampire, my Flamenco outfit, this one bought in Madrid. She was hard to top. We always had the tradition of decorating our picture window, and I had a headless Anne Boleyn cutout done when I was 9 or 10, and dozens of haunted graveyard drawings with Henry's hapless victims looking for their heads. I loved my plastic Jack O' Lantern pails, and my Aunt Connie would send awesome goody boxes with candies and Halloween dolls. My little figural candles were all parading around the house; we had amazing ones on display at our old M.L. Parker's dept. store. My Aunt Rosie would have theme parties for every Holiday, complete with favors and ceramic figures she made. No little girl ever had it better. Now, only my dad is left, and he hates all holidays. We don't carve pumpkins, though I display various varieties. Our kittens limit what we can have inside, so my great haunted houses and witches, my vintage lanterns and ghosts, the skeletons mom and I dressed, all wait for The Museum. I watch The Great Pumpkin every year, as I have since it debuted when I was six. I go over albums of my old cards and take out the carefully preserved, very vintage but well-loved cutouts, some jointed and dressed. I look at the monster dolls my mom used to knit for and dress. I get out the Dia de Muertos dolls and figures, and think of Frida K, who loved dolls as I do. Yesterday, I had to take lunch money to school for my 15 year old. These are harried, forgetful times. My mother taught Spanish there 38+ years, and it was my alma mater, my husband's, my late Uncle George's. My aunt worked for the school district, too, so there were many memories. I lost my mom five years ago, and though I try not to get personal on my blogs, let me say that I will never get over it. When I am in the high school, she is there. I feel here everywhere, and I can hear her voice in the halls. We use to laugh; she was so loud when she taught, that the secretaries at the other end of the building were learning Spanish along with us. I'm loud, too, when I teach, and it is a compliment when people say they can hear me everywhere. :) Our city is tearing down another of the schools where my aunt worked, and where my son attended. I use to go to the frolics there, and knew the staff like family. This Halloween, all is sad but not because of the goblins. I see bits and pieces of my life chipping away, and while I don't feel old, I think perhaps I may be. This is why people collect dolls, or books, or coins, or whatever. Study material culture, and read The Grapes of Wrath. Our things, and least the cherished objects, do matter. They are our memory triggers. Without which, we disappear into the void.