My children should probably start considering long-term health care for me as I have tendency to "wander" back in to the past a lot of days. Yesterday morning was such an occasion and brought on by an even odder (to them I'm sure!) scenario.
Getting ready for work I decided to remove my earrings and give them a good cleaning, along with my ear lobes...I know, I told you it was odd! ;) While doing this I couldn't help but remember the ear piercing experience of my youth and yes, some happier times that went along with it.
Back in the day there were a total of three families that lived down here on our road...myself, the neighbor girl a mile and a half up, and the two boys that lived another mile or so on farther. I don't know when or how old we were when Karla and I first "discovered" each other, but we did become fast friends. We would trek the mile or so gravel road back and forth to each others houses where we played, rode horses, or listened to our meager collections of 45 rpm records! This was mostly during the summer months though, as she and I went to different schools....it was a boundary thing!
One particular summer we were both about 12/13 years old, I was at her house, and her folks were gone. Karla was more "worldly" than I was and had already had her ears pierced. I don't recall if hers had been done professionally or were a part of an attempt we were about to make, but either way, they were pierced and I thought they were cool!
My own personal stint of earring wearing went along the lines of the clip ons...remember those? My grandmother used to send me jewelry in the mail, odd bits and pieces, and she always included a set of clip ons. Now these weren't for actual wearing, they were for "dress up", and most of them were HUGE! Anyway, here we two girls were in the bathroom using make-up...yes, we'd hit that stage where blue eye shadow and clumped mascara was a go to thing! And to set the record straight...this was NOT with our parents permission!! ;)
As we're both hugging the mirror and smearing our eyelids, Karla remarks that I should get my ears pierced, I agreed, and she then suggested SHE could do it...really? "Oh sure...I seen so and so do it and it's easy!" Uh, okay??! At this point the thought DID cross my mind as to what my mother might have to say on this subject, but like most 12/13 year old girls contemplating a life-changing experience, I ignored that small voice in my head that said, "You better not do that!" And she preceded to gather her tools.
Those "tools" consisted of a very large sewing needle with a piece of thread, an ink pen, a clothespin, and an ice cube. The procedure went as follows: hold ice cube to intended earlobe for as long as possible to deaden the skin, apply the clothespin to the edge of earlobe to further "numb" the intended area, mark a dot on intended area, stab with a needle and pull the thread through...yeah, OUCH!!!!
If you knew me at all, you would know my fear of needles, although my fear was of the kind attached to a medical person, but anything that "hurt" was not my forte...and THAT hurt!! I also bled like a stuck hog (I'm sure only those of you with rural childhoods know what a stuck hog bleeds like!)!! One ear down, second ear was NOT happening!! I don't know how Karla managed to convince me to do that second ear, but she did and once I had a piece of thread strung through both ear lobes I was good to go.
Now being raised by the mother I was, I completely understood sanitary conditions and before I would let Karla get close to my ear I informed her the needle had to be sterilized. Hydrogen peroxide was a mainstay in rural homes, as well as rubbing alcohol...we had both! Like the professionals we were, we lit a match and burned the end of the needle, we then dipped that into the peroxide, followed by the alcohol. We also ran the thread through some alcohol so it would be "safe" once it was THROUGH the ear lobe! :) It wasn't until AFTER both procedures that I began to panic over my mother's reaction to all this. Karla's reaction? "Well, if she gets mad, just pull the strings out and they'll close back up!" This was then followed by her all-knowing understanding of the "follow-up" advice if I was allowed to keep the strings!
I honestly don't recall Mom's reaction to this little escapade, but it must not have been too bad as those holes in my ears are the very same ones I still sport today! Yes, the procedure went just fine...no infections, nothing. I kept them doctored with peroxide and vigilantly worked those threads back and forth to keep the hole open. A couple of weeks later, Karla loaned me a pair of earrings to further the openings (per her instructions!) and until I could get a pair of my own. I don't recall my first pair of earrings, but I've rarely went without a pair in all these 40+ years!
As life would have it, Karla and I both grew up and moved away and as life sometimes also happens, we moved on in completely different directions. I didn't see Karla for many years, not until she attended my brothers funerals, as well as my mother's...it was good to see her after all those years. She still had that ready smile and her special laugh that I will always remember. She was a good and loyal friend and I will never forget our days of sunshine, riding old Dobbins through the woods and hills, playing in the barn lofts with the new found kittens, or wading in the creek collecting tadpoles and crawdads...and every time I clean my earrings, I can't help but think of her and that long past summer adventure! Thank you Karla...for the memories....