A couple of years ago, in late October, I wrote a post about the many incarnations I assumed for Halloween. I have photos as proof of the kangaroo, the gladiator, the geisha and gypsy that went from house to house on October 31, many years ago.
One year, I wore a pair of scarlet japanese pajamas. It was 1958, and I was almost one and half years old. I believe I looked three. In this particular photo, I am attacking a bowl of candy with great single-mindedness and with both hands. My cheeks could be envied by either a Gerber's baby or a squirrel, but either way I am obviously fattening myself for the upcoming winter months. Here, it looks like my little rayon/taffeta top is a little tight around the middle.
But such afflicted inches go unpunished when one is young. Mother fed me prodigiously.
Now, in recent years, Mother has been in the habit of giving me things she comes across…old photos, scraps of interesting fabric I might be able to use – with sequins, metal threads, rosettes, many and sundries – catalogues, comics she'd like to share with me, comics she'd like me to explain to her.
But the other day, I received something else. A pair of tiny frogged pajamas, embroidered and apricot colored. The passage of fifty years had degraded my Halloween suit from crimson to pastel.
But not a single hand embroidered thrread was ripped – not a flower in that wearable garden had been uprooted. But my pajamas had been folded many times over the decades, so a puzzle of creases covered them: tiny fields puckered over a rayon landscape.
I couldn't believe my good luck – that my mother had seen fit to return such a dear memory to me. I'm sure I didn't wear my pretty pajamas many times after that faded Halloween, but still they have an air of weariness, of a tiny perfection, that assures me that for those few times they were worn very well, indeed.