Tuesday, 13 February 2018

The Colour Purple - Red Hat?


“When I’m an old woman I shall wear purple…”
My friend and I said this in unison then giggled like girls. We were in the back of our friend’s car, picking up another friend to go out to dinner. The four of us had previously worked together for at least ten years until the fourth friend, older than the rest of us, had moved away. It was always lovely to meet up again. This time she stepped out wearing a purple coat and a flowery patterned mauve scarf.  My friend and I didn’t mean to be rude, we simply shared a thought out loud.
I’m becoming increasingly fond of the colour purple, so maybe I’m already there age wise. My favourite used to be a deep, berry red, not quite burgundy. I considered it to be rich and warm looking, where purple was flat and made my complexion very pale.
 The purple thing started with my hair, ages ago. I wanted a bold colour under my longish three shades of blonde. I wanted to be very trendy for a forthcoming Moody Blues tour, so my first choice was blue. It would only be seen properly when I wore my hair up, and the colour would just peep through when my hair was over my shoulders. My hairdresser put me off, explaining that the blue would quickly fade to an unflattering grey. Red, then, I’ll have a deep red, to match most of my wardrobe. I liked it until someone was concerned that the back of my neck must be bleeding. Someone else suggested chestnut brown was very classy under blonde, but everyone has brown and I wanted individuality, not classy. Somewhere down the line, purple turned out to be perfect. It was very me, the flash of purple in my long hair and my red shoes, always red shoes. I kept this fashion going for years, until the approach of my sixtieth birthday.
I wanted a new look to mark the occasion and there were other things happening that year including the birth of our first grandchild. I was beginning the next era of my life, being someone’s nanna. There are now three beautiful grandchildren to dote on, but this was then.
The main decision, or rather, mistake, was the short hairstyle. Goodbye to long, blonde locks and goodbye to purple. It seemed a good choice at the time, but the next day I was back in the hairdressers, unhappy that it wasn’t right, and then a few days later I was in another salon with my tale of woe and having some improvements done. Reminder to self, I cannot style my own hair so keep some length and keep it simple.  I’m a few years on now and wonder about having the purple hair again. Who said ‘With age cometh wisdom’?
I have some purple boots, which I love and some purple-ish jeggings which don’t match with them but I have my eye on some dark red pixie boots. I think I’m ready for a red hat now, as well.
 
Jenny Joseph's poem,
Warning
 
When I’m 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 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.
 
Jenny Joseph (1932 – 2018)
 
 
Thanks for reading, Pam x
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2 comments:

Lady Curt said...

I love this poem ! I went to a wedding at the weekend and wore my bright red wool/cashmere coat that I bought a couple of years ago , but only worn twice ! Originally I went out to buy a " camel" coat...but when I saw the red one...that was it ! Unfortunately the British winters are not conducive to the wearing of wool coats ( I tend to wear a quilted raincoat ). So I just adored being able to show it off, and as a bonus I was cosy warm, Unlike most guests in inappropriate dress and jacket/ lacy/ sleeveless type garments.....lovely... however I don't like purple very much at all.....

Steve Rowland said...

I've always enjoyed Jenny Joseph's poem - and the idea of growing old disgracefully ;-)