Today’s Z-word – and the final in this Challenge – was inspired by a photo I stumbled across not long ago.
The Zorro of my story is not the steamy, heart-melting Antonio Banderas from the 1998 Mask of Zorro, but the cheesy TV series made in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The story lines never particularly interested me, but my favourite part of every show was simply the sizzling triple slash of the”Z” to strike fear in the hearts of Zorro’s enemies.
This is where my mom now enters the story. I know – kind of random, isn’t it?
My mom was an interesting character – a quirky blend of stoic pragmatism and take-no-bullshit, combined with a great sense of humour, vanity in her appearance, a passionate shopper and follower of fashion trends. I’m sure it was very difficult for her to transition from the ‘civilized’ world of a European city, to the ‘barrens’ of a small town far in Ontario’s north after her marriage to my father.
She came home one day beaming with pride and a new mail-order hat which had just arrived. This was still a time in the mid-1960s when a well-dressed woman would have an appropriate hat to complete her ensemble and wearing a hat to mass in a Catholic church was a requirement. This, however, was also still a small isolated community and a universe away from any fashion mecca. An appropriate hat on most days would have been a woollen toque.
When she pulled the prized hat from its enormous box and positioned it on her head, we were first stunned into silence, and then reduced to uncontrollable giggles. Our mom looked like Zorro.
Now, we knew it wasn’t EXACTLY like Zorro’s hat, but in our opinion, it was close enough. We were cheeky little brats. We thought our scorn would entice her to return the offending hat for surely if she wore it in public, she would be mocked. We feared that the next logical addition would be a cape. The horror!
She did not however, return the hat but I have no memories of her actually wearing it – anywhere, for any reason. None of us ever really knew what happened to it, but a few months ago I found a photo of my mom and to my enormous surprise, she was wearing THE infamous hat.
I was instantly transported to that time almost 50 years ago when I pleaded with my mom to let me wear her hat as Zorro for Hallowe’en. She refused. I think at one point my physical well-being might have actually been threatened if I so much as even considered touching THE hat.
I look at this photo now and I wonder why we made such a fuss. She is considerably younger in this picture than I am today and I have to say – she looks lovely.
Thankfully there’s no cape – for knowing my mom, I’m sure she considered it – if only briefly.