The Costume

I didn’t have a store bought costume. I wasn’t dressed as a princess. I stood out, and I didn’t want to be different. I wanted to slink around meowing in a leotard or cackle funny in a tall, black, pointed hat.

There was a school parade for all the elementary kids, and everyone would see me in my orange fuzzy legs and wide rounded butt. They would stare at my white, downy body and made-to-squawk beak. A pink shirt and matching purple shoes and bow meant nothing to me. A duck is still a duck no matter what you dress her as, and Daisy Duck was the wrong Disney Princess.

My Grandma had made the costume for me. She was a maid here, but in El Salvador she had been a talented seamstress. Both jobs paid low, but she spoiled me with what she could; and she could sew anything she thought of or anything she was asked to. I don’t know if the Daisy Duck costume was my idea or her own invention. It’s possible I wanted to be Donald’s perky and saucy wife. But I changed my mind, embarrassed and defeated by homemade couture.

I put the outfit on and my teacher told me she loved it. My best friend said it was cute. I couldn’t hear them. That Halloween day I was a third grader wanting desperately to fit in. Even though I had liked it at home, I couldn’t bring myself to wear it. I took it off.

Now I appreciate the unique and search out the one-of-a-kind. I wish I had held my head high as Daisy Duck. I wish there were pictures.

My grandmother passed away two years ago, three months before I found out I was pregnant. She will never meet her first great-granddaughter or spoil her with dresses and outfits. But she left me with an understanding of the heart that goes into the handcrafted. And she left my mom with her sewing skills and creativity. My daughter already has a closet full of homemade and a Halloween costume sewn by her grandma. This year, she’s dressing up as Snow White.

Today I’m linking up to RemembeRed, a memoir meme for Write on Edge. The prompt this week was to write about a memorable Halloween costume in 400 words.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

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14 Responses

  1. This was sweet!

    • Thanks!

  2. Although my mother was a talented seamstress and sewed most of my clothes, for some reason she never made a halloween costume. I remember going to school as a ghost, in a sheet with two eye holes. I tripped over my costume all day long and couldn’t see where I was going.

    • Funny enough my own mother never sewed for me, but she now does for my daughter. It must be a grandmother thing in my family. 🙂

  3. Very nice! What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother’s love and how silly we can be as kids when it comes to fitting in.

    This is a particularly lovely line: “A duck is still a duck no matter what you dress her as, and Daisy Duck was the wrong Disney Princess.”

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks so much for your comment!

  4. That was bittersweet. I’ll bet that your grandmother knew that she was loved.

    • Thank you for your comment Tina. I always imagine her up above keeping her eye on me, especially when I myself try out simple sewing projects. 🙂

  5. I bet the costume was amazing. Very, very sweet.

    • I really wish i could have had a picture but from what I remember it was amazing. Thanks!

  6. I love that line about heart in the handcrafted. How very true, and how very lovely. She lives on in your words.

    • Thank you so much for your comment!

  7. I completely relate to your feelings in this story. As a child all I wanted was to blend with the crowd which would have meant a cheap costume from the dime store. My heart broke when you said you took off the costume because I know I would have done the same. But as you say as grown women we understand how really special being unique and having something that conveys another’s love for us truly is.
    There is universal truth in your Halloween experience and it touched me deeply.

    • Yes I always find it funny how as a child I wanted nothing but to be part of the crowd. Once I graduated high school it immediately ceased to matter and now as a mother all I want is to build a unique life that my own children will remember when they are grown. 🙂

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