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Saturday, October 29, 2011



When I was eight years old, my parents and I moved to St. Albans, WV—we moved into a giant mansion that had been made into two dwellings. Lucky for us, we had the left side [if you stood outside and looked at the huge place] and I was thrilled for the street was full of kids! The mansion set on Hudson Street and right near the corner of Kanawha Terrace.

Best thing aside from living there was that I got to go to a new school—Highlawn Elementary. I had already gone to two other grade schools so I was familiar with the routine of meeting new kids –in fact it was commonplace with me by this time. School started in September which flew by and it was almost Halloween! Like every kid, it was a time looked forward to for it meant dressing up and of course, getting candy! The Halloween before I had to wear one of those dumb costumes that came in a box; mine was some flimsy girl outfit complete with a black mask and horrible hair attached to it. Hated it. This time I asked my mom if I could wear my Aunt Carol’s dancing dress:  She had sent it to me and it was beautiful, long and all sparkly. Loved it.

Shock set in when my mom agreed I could wear it! The night before Halloween [which fell on a Friday,] my mom sprayed my dark hair with some kind of gold color. Smelled to high heavens but oh I loved it. Then she used gold spray paint and painted my white shoes and made a wand which was also painted gold. I went to bed with thoughts of being so utterly beautiful that I could hardly sleep. Next morning before my parents left for work, I was outfitted in this attire and dropped off at school which was about four or five blocks away. I felt like a gold glittery fairy. [Back then you came to school in your Halloween outfit and wore it all day—the parade was the best as you got to march around everyone.]

In retrospect, I must have looked pretty ridiculous but sure didn’t feel that way. Stayed with my aunt after school till my parents picked me up. When we got home, I ate dinner and was off with friends to go trick or treating—with that metallic smell in my blonde hair, shoes and wand. Came home with pillow cases full of candy and was worn out but happy—that is till my mom insisted my hair had to be washed. “Couldn’t leave that gold stuff in it!” she said. After that I don’t remember much except going to sleep.

The next morning was Saturday; I remember going through the pillow cases of candy and sorting it out but that didn’t last long for I wanted to go outside and play with other kids. Was a ritual. There was a blonde haired boy who lived up the street from me; we were in the same fourth grade class. He motioned for me to come to him and fear set in my heart—had this terrible crush on him but I walked up to him. “We’re having a party tomorrow evening here at my house! It’s dress up. Do you want to come?” Asked him what time and he said five o’clock. Ran home to ask my parents and they agreed that I could go for they knew his parents.

Now if you are eight years old and a kid asks you to a party right after Halloween and says it’s dress up, you get your costume ready to wear. At four thirty that Sunday, my mom went through the gold hair spraying routine again on me, helped me get into my aunt’s dancing dress and I put on my gold shoes [that looked pretty shabby after wearing them at school that Friday and then trick or treating in them] and got my want and marched up the street to the party. Ah nirvana I thought to myself.

When I rang the doorbell to the boy’s house, his sister opened the door: I could see inside the living room and what I saw stuck fear in  my heart—all the kids were dressed up all right—dressed up in church clothes!! And there I stood looking like a complete gold glittery fool. Words weren’t even exchanged between his sister and me; I was mortified! Ran down the street to my house as if I had wings on my feet and got inside and crumbled into a heap at the kitchen table. When I could muster up the words, out they came to my parents about what had happened. I was soothed by them and had to go through the hair-washing ritual again to remove the gold stuff out of my hair for the next day was Monday and school.

That Monday I said nothing to that blonde haired boy. Ignored him. Really wanted to scream at him for making me feel like a fool but I kept my feelings inside. It was the worst Halloween party I had ever almost attended! So glad I had the sense to not go in but to head for home. That was so long ago and I can look back at it and laugh for I should  have asked him what kind of dress up but when you are eight years old, you think it means wearing a Halloween costume. Ah but I had the memories of being a glittery gold fairy of types and that part made me feel so good—if only for two days. Other Halloween parties would come and go and I relished and remembered them all. But I will never ever forget that almost one party—ever!

Sherry Hill

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