Thursday, August 30, 2012

Flipping My Wig

So, I bought this last Saturday at the warehouse sale:

Yes, I know it's just a Styrofoam wig head, but I'm going to do a post on it anyway.  The warehouse sale was held in a closed costume and novelty shop, so I think they used the wig heads for, well, wigs that were a part of costume.  If they were part of some massive collection of heads, well, I don't really want to know about it.

There was a bag of heads and a sign that said the heads were a dollar each, unless you wanted to buy them all.  In that case, they would be 75 cents each.  The sign also noted that there were 18 of them all together.  I cannot imagine anyone outside of Dolly Parton needing that many wig heads, and I'm sure hers are all sequiny and stuff.  (Or maybe Hedwig...)

For the record, I got just one head.  I bought it partly because I thought it was kind of neat.  I like to sell interesting things in my Peddler's Mall booth, and this fits the bill for me.  I also got it because it reminded me a little bit of my mother.

Before you get the wrong idea, let me state that my mother did not have a head made of Styrofoam!  Nor did she have a lot of wigs.  She did have one when I was a kid, but she only wore it a few times.  I don't think she really liked it.  I'm pretty sure I ended up using it with a Halloween costume at some point, but I don't really know what happened to it.

My mother was a rather unique individual with a strange sense of humor.  Every so often, she would declare that she had some odd, made up disease.  She got a nosebleed one Christmas and declared that she had stigmata.  Seriously.  It really didn't matter to her that no one before had ever had stigmata flowing from their nose.  She was unique in that regard, because her middle name was Marie and it was Christmas.  I think it was supposed to have something to do with sympathizing with Mary's labor pains, but I'm reasonably certain that the Blessed Virgin didn't expel the Baby Jesus from her nostrils.

When I was in about seventh grade, Mom declared that she was having a combination of late adolescence and early senility.  I'm not sure even she could explain what the symptoms of that were supposed to be.  She did decide, however, to start an institution for sufferers of the dread malady.  It was going to be called "Mother Hood's Senility Complex."

Yes, I had to grow up with this kind of stuff going on.  It was never dull.

What does this have to do with wig heads, you ask?  Shortly after I moved to Louisville, she declared that she had Head Paralysis one time when I was visiting.  She went on and on about how Head Paralysis (HP for short) was overlooked and ignored by society and she was going to do something about it.  She was going to hold the first-ever Head Paralysis Awareness Parade.  Everyone was going to carry a wig head in solidarity with HP sufferers.

I'm not sure where I got it, but somehow I found a wig head when I returned to Louisville.  I wrote "Head Paralysis Support Group" on the side of it, wrapped it up, and gave it to her for Christmas.  She loved it and carried it around the house, practicing for her parade.

When they started prescribing morphine for her pain from the cancer, it really did a number on her head.  She started getting easily confused about things and would sometimes fixate on odd trivial details, while missing more important matters completely.  A couple of times, she fell, so the doctor ordered a brain scan to see if her unsteadiness was due to the meds or if the cancer had spread to her brain.

She did not have any cancer in her brain, but the scans showed that, at some indeterminate point, she had experienced a couple of mini-strokes in her brain that were so small they had no real effect on her.  They weren't able to tell when she had them or what may have caused them.  They did decide, though, that her balance issues were being caused by the meds.

When she heard the word "mini-stroke," she zeroed in on it and would not let go.  How could she have had one?  How did she not know?  When did that happen?  Anything the doctor had to say about her present state went right out the window.  After the doctor left the room, I looked at her and said, "Mom, I know exactly what happened."  She looked at me kind of oddly and asked me to explain.  I took a deep breath and said "It was just your Head Paralysis kicking in."  The laugh we had from that was just what we needed and distracted her for a bit.

She kept that wig head.  It sat on the dresser in her bedroom.  When we were packing things up after her death, I made sure it got saved.  It's still in the boxes of her stuff in the shed that I have yet to deal with.  I think I'm going to put it on my dresser.  I'm either going to put the Elmer Fudd hat she wore when she took her dogs out in the winter or the hard hat she wore when she was trimming trees on her farm on it.  Either one would be fitting.

Other families have antiques as heirlooms.  I have wig heads and Fry Guys.  It works.


Roger Owen Green said...

That is a very sweet story. Had no idea where that was going/

Veronica said...

Love the story. What a great way to remember your moms uniqueness.