birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Carmen Miranda

I am not a big fan of Halloween. Those grisly costumes just seem cruel, ugly, mean, ridiculous. But give me a costume party and I'm in heaven, minus the cruel, ugly, mean and ridiculous getups.

As a single parent with no alimony streaming in, I was always on some kind of forced budget. So, one Halloween after I had made my two daughters homemade costumes--a cute alien from some made-up planet and a cheerleader for a made-up high school, I decided I would be Carmen Miranda, the Brazilian actress and singer from the 1940s.

I had watched her in old black and white movies where she sang and danced. She exuded such joy samba-ing around the stage. She always wore high heels, some sparkly outfit, jewelry (bracelets, I think and earrings) and the real showcase of her outfit was often a glitzy headwrap with fruit (Millenials, you can Google her).

So, since this was in the 70s, I had the makings on hand or close by in a thrift store. I had a dark green, patterned, long wrap skirt that I paired with a navy body suit. I found bangles, hoop earrings, and lots of necklaces, and plastic fruit; e.g., bananas and apples at Woolworth's Five and Dime (Google Woolworth's) and sewed them on my bright red turban.

I really don't know why I felt so great in the outfit, but I did. Maybe because I had fallen in love with old movies. They were my escape from a new reality for me. When I was 12 years old, my father gambled our savings away, left me and my mother and we had to move in with my grandmother in another state. I had to leave my friends and everything I'd known in life--my comfort zone.

Grey Flannel - Warm When Wet

Closeness skips a generation