There are certain parts of the body that resist changes with the accumulation of years. They are too late for recognition. Ignore the hair and skip the face. The hair loses its breath due to adherence to silly-sometimes outrageous style whims and acrobatics, and, while interesting, the face constantly changes like a moving picture of a life lived over the years – for better or worse.
So let’s start with the underrated earplugs. Unadorned ears look ridiculous, but add earrings and a whole new world opens up. Men and women alike know the attraction, and some have made their odd hearing appendages a daily celebration of hoops, pins and whatnot. When it comes to jewelry, the old rule of thumb still stands. It is a wise person who, after examining in the mirror, edits and eliminates something.
As a college student, I suddenly, overwhelmingly, had to get my ears pierced right away, but I had to frantically call my dad to help get the needle through the rough skin. I still have those engraved circles. Thanks to the pandemic and ear masks, and a battery-powered hearing aid that moves behind the ear (at risk of dislodging), I had to eliminate earrings from my daily routine.
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And now let’s analyze the wrists. As a ready-made canvas for necklaces, bracelets and watches, they really know how to hold their own and keep the look. I have owned many wearable watches, but since retiring from work, I am my time watch. However, wrists call for embellishment, and while most of my bracelets are costume pieces, there are a few good pieces, gifts from my husband. Like Blanche du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire, I occasionally try and model my collection for an audience of an audience. Please don’t judge.
For dressy occasions, a single strand of pearls is my favorite. Why would any lady over the age of forty deliberately draw attention to her neck? As necks go, mine isn’t the worst. It has served me well, but it is not tight and swan-like. Pearls are elegant and classic. They remind me of happy times, social compositions and can turn a quiet day, if not a holiday, into something special. I ignore warnings not to wear pearls whiter than my teeth. Thanks to my hygienist, mine are white enough to not fight my pearls of choice.
Despite rumors that legs are not gaining weight, they are fickle creatures. They enjoy changing with age and mileage. My head says: Buy shoes anyway. I love casual shoes and the sale racks where the best, unusual, flat heels are hidden. Since my usual footwear is sneakers, I never use my signature shoes, I just donate them when they fall out of favor. One of the saddest days of my life was loading boxes of quality high heels that I wore to work. I still get choked up remembering those conspicuously worn shoes from my past. Age, joints and disc replacements drove the nails into that fancy coffin.
This essay is a tribute to my long-deceased mother, Olive Kelley. She never went to town without buying beautiful sandals, braids, slippers or laces for her little girls to wear to church and school. She also bought the best jewelry, socks and accessories at the store. Fortunately, I have an understanding husband who never questions why I need five pairs of shoes emblazoned with dog images, even without mentioning that a portion of those sales went to a dog rescue program. And just knowing about my colorful collections is enough to fill me with joy.