Sunday, April 11, 2010
Growing up Goth~~~Early Years
Well now Darklings, what is growing up Goth for an Elder/Elderly Goth.?
That is sort of hard to describe because I wasn’t taught, I sort of learned.
Mother said that I am a “transitional child”, growing up learning the old world traditions from grandparents, the frugality of the depression from parents, and dealing with late 20th and early 21st century things and problems---oh yes, and I do mean problems.
As a child, my clothing was simple, cotton, denim, hardly any polyester until the late 60’s, so it was blouses and jumpers, usually plaid, my hair in pigtails ala Wednesday, although I was not full of “woe”.
I remember having red leather sandals for summer until I outgrew them, then there were those awful stiff nylon party dresses, that itched, until one day I finally told mother why I didn’t like to wear that dress, she understood. I never wore that dress again, and not only because that it itched but because of a tragedy. (more on that later)
My favorite dress was very dark blue velvet, it was a soft velvet that you don’t find anymore, and so dark blue, Maxfield Parrish Blue is the only way to describe it. Even today I look for anything in that color blue.
When I was little I wore the pastels for Easter, and the red plaid jumpers and dresses, but as I got older, my Capri pants were either black or dark blue, and my shoes were black, except when I had those saddle shoes for school, those shoes held up against anything, wore like iron.
Slowly my blouses were either white or dark red or dark blue, sometimes a dark pink would creep in or a lovely royal purple. And my skirts were dark blue, black or brown, I was in love with my Red winter wool coat, had to have it. And my raincoat was red with my plaid red umbrella.
Every Summer right at the end of the school year my Mom would take me to the Vogue Beauty Salon, it was run by a woman named Gracie, she and her husband lived in the back and the salon was in the front, I remember it had two wash bowls for hair, and 5 dryers, it was painted Pink with light grey trim inside, and the smell of hair dye, chemical perms, shampoo.
I think back in those days Pink with light gray was considered High Class, I still think so.
At the end of School that Saturday after school was out for the Summer and just when Summer was going to begin, Mom and I would have our hair done, Gracie would trim and perm and style Mom’s hair and her assistant would do mine, every beginning of Summer it was cut short and permed so I was always in tight ringlets for the Summer an early wash and go style.
I remember the assistant always telling me to be sure to let her know if my scalp was tingling too much, between her and Gracie they were always watching the perm checking my scalp and the perm, I never had a bad perm or a burned scalp. Then Mom would let my hair grow out through the summer, fall and winter and spring then again at the end of school year, did it all over again.
It wasn’t until I started High School that I wasn’t sure about that doing that routine anymore; I saw all the other girls letting their hair grow, so I wanted my hair a bit different, so the perm was done differently. Then eventually long straight hair became the fashion.
It wasn’t until high school that I began to allow my darkness to creep out, my hair was long, and it was dark brown, but Mom allowed for two of my hair locks to be lightened, so I had two red streaks like wings ala Lily Munster, my Teachers weren’t too happy about it, but it wasn’t like dying my hair green or blue like the kids do now a days, and I wore the traditional school wear, not that we had uniforms, we didn’t. But I never was outlandish in my clothing, sensible really, if it was more on the dark side, I did buy the school jacket which was a gold color and made out of wool, because I saw more sense in that than in a class ring, although I did find one at an estate sale that was the year I graduated for only a dollar.
All the girls were interested in the latest movie star or singer, the Beatles were barely on the horizon, it was still the Beach Boys, of course the boys were all jocks or nerds, although in the nerd case they had runny noses, bad breath and serious Mama boys, and the jocks---well some of them were nice enough but jocks, not a serious thought in their heads.
But in between there were a couple of us that wondered about ghosts and hauntings and vampires, we became the outcasts, but for me it didn’t matter, I seldom hung around the “Debs” and after school I usually went straight home, I always felt better being at home, did my home work right away, Mom set it up so that the breakfast area was were I could do my homework, and be right there if she needed anything. It was company for the both of us, and she’d casually ask me about school, she knew about the “fearless ghost hunters”. They would come around to the house to see if I was free after doing my chores, most of the time Mom would invite them in and we’d talk in the breakfast room, as Mom went about washing dishes, or sewing she had the knack of not appearing to listen but she did, she just didn’t respond if she heard anything outlandish.
Not until I would ask her opinion, of course I repeated what was talked about to give the appearance that she wasn’t listening, and she would give her thoughts, and it would almost always lead to having her included in our conversations or joining us as a chaperone on our excursions. Some years later I asked one of my High School friends if they thought that my Mom was “butting-in” on our fun and he replied “No” he was grateful that she was always there.
Mom and I would go to the movies when we could if we could get Grandma to watch my younger brother, one evening Mom really wanted to get out of the house, Dad was off from work so he told Mom to go he would watch my brother, so we went to an early evening showing of a double feature, I don’t remember the one movie but the second one was “The Blob” with Steve McQueen, we didn’t stay long after the movie started, when the old farmer broke open the meteor rock and that blob thing was crawling down the stick everyone in the theatre started screaming, Mom just grabbed my hand and said “We’re going home.” And we left didn’t even ask for a partial refund. We only lived 2 blocks away from the theatre but did she walk fast, I had to ask Mom to slow down I couldn’t keep up with her.
She looked at me and stopped so I could catch my breath and said “I’m sorry, but they just scared me in there.” Well I was a little scared too, so we finished walking home a bit more slowly, it was dark, but not late, I guess about 6 p.m. Dad was surprised to see us so early, but Mom told him that the second movie was a bit too scary.
In the 1970’s they had a T.V. program called “Creature Features” and they were showing “The Blob” Mom and I watched and she said “I have no idea why I was so scared of that movie when they first showed it, it seems so silly now” I said to her “Different times, different worries we know more now.” And she agreed.
When I was going to college I work mostly dark turtle neck pullover sweaters, and a black or dark grey skirt, I loved my very dark olive green trench coat, at a time when most girls were wearing short mini-skirts I looked like a trench coated Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle, and the Beatles were at their height, it was transcendental meditation, and Church of Satan.
Most of the college kids avoided me, although some of the boys would come over and talk to me, I found out that it was on a dare, “Hey, see if she’s a witch” They would be surprised when I said it was much easier to maintain my wardrobe by having a limited choice and being on a budget. Nor was I an “arty” type of girl, just studying to get a job.
But when I told them of my interest in horror films and old cemeteries that is when I encountered my first serious ghost hunting group, and my first Satanist.
I remember one day my Uncle and Grandmother came to pick me up at the college because it was a long weekend and I was going to stay over at Grandma’s house for the weekend, my Satanist walked with me to the car, he was very surprised to see a black shiny 1940 Buick picking me up and my Uncle dressed like he was out of the 1930’s.
Granny was sitting in the back seat like she was a Queen, my Uncle offered to give him a lift to the nearest bus stop, as I sat in the back seat with Granny, he asked and was asked a few questions, I think Granny’s replies shocked him because he gave her such a strange, frightened look and Granny said “You young people think you know or have discovered something new, you Haven’t. By the way are you hungry you’re welcome to come have dinner with us my son can take you home afterwards, we rarely have guests. It’s just a basic family meal.”
He accepted but more out extreme curiosity, and a touch of fear. During that dinner he discovered that we were more than just an old-fashioned family and he ceased being a Satanist after Granny straightened him out.
She introduced him to a real Satanist----one of the nicest men you’d ever want to meet, but a Satanist none the less. Granny felt it was time I knew about such things as well, so with her chaperoning and my young Friend calling his folks and letting them know where he was, we went to my Granny’s neighbor. I won’t go into it, my college friend realized he was just a poser after he met the real thing and he didn’t have the heart for it.
I knew it too, then later that evening we took my college friend home, and we remained friends and ghost hunters for a long time. He became a cop, eventually made detective grade and dealt in homicides. He told me he credited my Grandmother with showing him true evil it helped him with his life path. Even---he jokingly said---we were a bit like “the Adams Family” with a touch of “Al Capone”. He even restored a 1940’s Cadillac and found an old 1950’s police car that he restored as well.
He’s retired now but works as a private investigator, his son and grandson became cops and his daughter became a forensic investigator. They are a bit Goth as well. But their job makes them that way.
Because of my Granny, my parents and relatives I was always interested in the paranormal, and that became useful for me---I’ll continue that at another time