My mother wore hot pink satin heels. I kid you not.
That image has been in my mind the past few days and won’t go away. So I’ll give it my full attention and then set it free.
Why would Mom wear hot pink satin heels? Because the shoes matched the hot pink satin dress she wore. And that matched Dad’s hot pink tie and cummerbund.
The two of them danced in a performance group when I was young.
The hot pink outfit was my favorite. The waist of that dress cinched in tight to Mom’s tiny tummy and then flared out in a wide swoop of flowing fabric when she twirled. There was some crinoline or tulle underneath to keep it fluffed and full when she wasn’t spinning.
Oh how I loved it when they got dressed up and ready to go out dancing. Seems like Dad wore cuff links and smelled like Old Spice. He tried not to smile, but it crept onto his face anyway. Mom clipped on round hot pink earrings as the perfect touch to her bouffant flip. The soft silky smoothness of the pink satin felt decadent and mysterious, luscious and exciting. They both glowed with something besides the reflection of the nearly fluorescent color. Joy? Fun? Anticipation? Relief at getting away from us kids? A night out alone?
Hearing the swish of her skirt and seeing the light in their eyes brought a sense of wonder and contentment with it. Why? I had no idea then. Now I know that those shared times, getting dressed up and going out together, were part of what got them through the tough days and often long nights of parenting and responsibility. Those brief moments of fun built a bridge over the difficulties of life.
Some days, when Mom was busy elsewhere in the house, I snuck into the closet and just let my hand run along the fabric as if I were petting a rare animal. I don’t remember ever trying on the shoes, although I can’t believe I didn’t. Wouldn’t you?
Somewhere, surely, there’s a photo or some 8mm film of the two of them dressed up and dancing. I’m making a mental note, and a written note, to see if I can find such sweet evidence of their younger dancing years together.
I learned early on to idolize, fantasize and dream of dancing as the most romantic of adventures. Little wonder that years later dancing swept me off my feet and into a whirling, silly, illogical relationship that became MSH.
Dad and Mom later joined a square dancing group. I’m sure they had every bit as much fun do-si-doeing and as they did waltzing. But for me, nothing else carried the mystique of their hot pink satin nights.