Getting my ears pierced was a huge deal to me. HUGE!
My mom took me to Meijer’s (and yes, I know it’s Meijer not Meijer’s, but I’m from Michigan and therefore allowed to make the names of stores arbitrarily possessive) on Carpenter Road to get it done. The woman we paid was Indian and she had a piercing in her nose— I remember being super impressed by that, but also very, very happy with my ears.
My mom and I timed the piercing so that I could take out the studs and put in my first pair of new, real deal earrings on the first day of kindergarten. We even ordered special gem stone earrings from Avon for the occasion– one pair deep green-turquoise and the other a deep yellowy-orange. I think I wore the green ones on the first day of school, and man was I ever proud of them.
You know who else was proud of them? My Great Grandma V, Esther Van der Voort.(although as far as I was concerned “Grandma” was her first name). She lived a few miles from us in Sumpter Township and we used to go there a lot to eat a bucket of KFC in the breakfast nook, look at old pictures, and snack on Windmill cookies. (Mmmm… I still get cravings for Windmill cookies.)
To my Grandma V (yes, she was my mom’s grandma, my great grandma, but we always just said “grandma” and I’m not going to belabor the “great” part at this point in my life) having my ears pierced was an awesome right of passage and something to be celebrated. Every time we came to her house after that, she would give me a little baggie full of earrings from her own collection– how I treasured those!
Truthfully, part of it may have been her participation in the taunting of my sister that I treasured so much… “You know, Abby, you could have earrings too if you would get your ears pierced.” I’m a real sucker for teasing my sister (so sorry, sweet darling, Shabsky Balu– you know I love you, ardently (look it up)).
I must have been in first or second grade when I started bugging my parents for a second piercing. It was obviously out of the question at the time, but they told me I could get one when I started 6th grade.
Ladies and gentlemen, an elephant never forgets.
The second 5th grade was over, I was back to begging. (Please note that this was around the time of the hair, so you can imagine it was relatively easy for them to give in to something that might make me just a bit more satisfied with my appearance.)
Ultimately, my mom and dad relented (good call, parental units), and by the time I was in 8th grade, I had three piercings in each ear and was jonesing for a cartilage piercing… which I got two of when I was in high school.*
Even now, at 30 years old, I still love, love, love my earrings. I feel completely naked without them. So naked that I pretty much just leave them in always and rarely ever change them. Three sterling silver hoops in each ear, one more in the cartilage on the right. It’s my look… my thing… what makes me feel comfortable.
On special occasions, I slip into the big, creamy pearl studs that Seth got me with two smaller pairs of chocolate pearls or two other pairs of diamond studs. Those always make me feel special, too.
Some people dye their hair, wear crazy make up, get their nails done regularly, get tattoos– most people, women especially, have a signature thing. My thing (besides this crazy curly mess on my head– raise the roots!, and this square-jawed robot head… my thing that I can control, anyway…) is most certainly my earrings. And likely always will be. Earrings never go out of style after all. And even if they did… like I would care!
Much thanks to my Grandma V. No matter how old and cranky, arthritic and drug-dependent (sadly), she became, there was no ruining my memory of her– her big cheeks, hearty laugh, multi-colored bingo markers, beautiful tea cup sets, and the earrings that slowly became mine.
*Later, my new-ish boyfriend Seth would literally rip both cartilage piercings out of my ear. It hurt. A lot. But I missed them. So I got one of them re-done with a gift certificate his parents got me for Christmas. Earrings 🙂