There are certain body parts that resist change as years accumulate. They are long overdue for recognition. Ignore hair and skip past the face. Hair loses its oomph due to adherence to the silly-sometimes-outrageous whims and acrobatics of style, and, while interesting, the face constantly changes as a moving picture of life lived over the years – for better or worse.
So, let’s start with underappreciated earlobes. Unadorned ears are funny-looking, but add earrings, and a new world opens. Men and women alike know the appeal, and some have made their weird auditory appendages a daily celebration in hoops, studs and whatnot. As for jewelry, the old rule not to overdo still holds. It is a wise person who, after scrutiny in the mirror, edits and eliminates something.
As a college freshman, I suddenly, overwhelmingly, immediately had to have pierced ears, but needed to frankly call upon my dad to help get the needle all the way through the tough skin. I still have those engraved hoops. Thanks to the pandemic and ear-loop masks, and a hearing aid with battery apparatus riding behind the ear (in danger of being ripped off), I had to eliminate earrings from my daily program.
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And now let’s analyze wrists. As willing canvases for cologne, bracelets and watches, they really do know how to hold their own and keep up appearances. I have owned many wearable time-pieces, but since retiring from work, I’m my own time clock. Wrists cry out for adornment, though, and while most of my bracelets are costume baubles, there are a few good pieces, gifts from my husband. Like Blanche du Bois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” I occasionally try on and model my collection for an audience of one. Please don’t judge.
For dress-up occasions, a single strand of pearls is my go-to. Why would any lady over the age of forty purposely call attention to her neck from her? As necks go, mine is not the worst. It has served me well, but tight and swanlike it is not. Pearls are elegant and classic. They remind me of happy times, sorority-composite cameos and can turn a soft day into, if not a party, something special. I ignore warnings not to wear pearls whiter than my teeth. Thanks to my hygienist, mine are white enough not to do battle with my pearls of choice.
Despite rumors about feet not gaining weight, they are fickle beings. They delight in changing with age and mileage. My head says: Buy shoes anyway. I love off-beat shoes and haunt sales racks where the best, unusual, flat-heeled ones lurk. Since my go-to foot apparel is sneakers, I never use up my special shoes, I just donate them when they go out of favor. One of the saddest days of my life was loading boxes of the great-quality high heels I’d worn to work. I still get choked up remembering those eye-catching dressy shoes of my past. Age, joint and disk replacements drove nails into that fancy coffin.
This essay is a tribute to my long-departed mom, Olive Kelley. She never went to town without buying the latest in sandals, scuffs, slippers or pretty lace-ups for her young daughters to wear to church and school. She also purchased the best dime-store jewelry, socks and accessories. Luckily, I have an understanding husband who never questions why I need five pairs of shoes imprinted with dog images, even without my mentioning that a portion of those sales went to a dog rescue program. And just knowing my colorful collections exist is enough to fill me with joy.