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When we grow old we shall wear purple

April 2, 2011

One of the distinguishable luxuries inherent in our youth is the freedom to be fashionably outrageous. Our experimentation born the day we finally gather the nerve to defy our mother’s aesthetic guidance. The veil of her supposed wisdom lifted at the realization that most of the outfits we wore during primary school picture days were darn right humiliating to wear. Exercising our right to choose, we blindly walked into our first of many dress rehearsals to come. All of them designed around a social notification system signaling our musical, philosophical and existential allegiances. Alliances were made and broken until eventually we all settled into a flock we were most comfortable flying in. Before long conformity became the rule and fashion etiquette took over.

But like so many life experiences that eventually come full circle, I know that the freedom to be fashionably outrageous will present itself again. For a promise was made between a very good friend and myself for a future dress rehearsal. This time the results of which will not be because we don’t know any better but because we do. When we grow old we shall wear purple. Today is my friends birthday as well as the birthday of this puppet that I made for her almost two decades ago.

But first the poem behind the promise:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Poem By Jenny Joseph

Picture of puppet made by Dana Aubrey

© Dana Aubrey, Miranda the Puppet

One Comment leave one →
  1. Nancy permalink
    April 2, 2011 7:07 pm

    Miranda! (and your stress quilt!)

    Lot’s of memories for both. I still have Miranda perched on my shelf. And that gorgeous stress quilt you painstakingly made…
    That quilt was so exquisite and (thereby) so fragile. It’s kind of poetic how it was so incredibly beautiful, requiring so much effort from you, but only lasting a short while due to its sheer gossamer fragility. Kind of like life…and it was worth making, nonetheless!

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