by Nicole Crews
Mother: Oh my God, what are you scribbling about now?
Me: I’m trying to figure out why “Hee Haw,” Sister Sledge and Wonder Woman informed my life so much.
Mother: I don’t know how they informed your life but they certainly informed your style.
Me: What, schizophrenic? Probably a good way to describe the ’70s and ’80s.
Mother: Maybe, but you haven’t changed a bit kid. Thinking of altering your style?
Me: I can’t! I came by it honestly. What are you supposed to do with a mother with a fancy New York apartment who spends her weekends on High Rock Lake in cutoffs?
Mother: Consider yourself lucky.
Growing up with an interior/furniture designer mother in a house with wall-to-wall white upholstery is neither for the faint of heart, the wearer of dirty sneakers nor the hoarder of all things Crayola. Our living room looked like a Sister Sledge album cover minus the gorgeous black chicks. So what was a kid to do? In my case, I took it outside — but with it I inadvertently took mom’s design aesthetic. Said art supplies were put to use creating paintings that are still nailed to the exterior of our family lakeside retreat.
Haybales from a neighboring barn were often arranged into outdoor seating and dining areas for gatherings. Old Nikes and Converse got makeovers with paint pens. For our Hobie Cat, I even made marine-grade, foam-stuffed pillows out of old sailcloth so I could catch rays comfortably during calm weather. I even fashioned Daisy Dukes with satin trim in a terrifying Disco meets “Dukes of Hazzard” phase.
Suffice it to say, I’ve been decorating and styling in a “Hee Haw” meets Studio 54 style for some time. Wonder Woman came along a little later and her invisible airplane inspired my love of all things Lucite — bullet-dodging cuff bracelets and boomerang tiaras were the icing on the cake.
Me: So how do explain the Wonder Woman thing?
Mother: I just think you identified with her. You were always defending the underdog — then there was your father and his damn airplanes.
Me: I forgot that dad had the Batplane — amongst others….
Mother: Well I didn’t. I know he took you flying even when I banned it.
Me: I’m really sad that he never got to teach me to fly — legitimately anyway.
Mother: The world had other plans for you.
Me: I had aspirations of being a “Hee Haw” bimbo.
Actually, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be a “Hee Haw” bimbo, a truck driver or a writer.
Mother: Mission accomplished.
Me: It was your fault for making me go outside and play. And there were few girl neighbors.
Mother: Please don’t blame your vivid imagination on me. Your father was the one with an airplane carcass, motorcycles and cars and a boat strewn all over the back of the property. Thank god for landscaping.
Me: True. I think it’s funny that people worry about video games making kids violent when you guys essentially threw me into the backyard with all of that and a shop full of sharp, pointy objects and highly flammable liquids.
Mother: It gave you character.
Me: Yeah it also gave me the gash scar on my cheek, a chipped patella, at least two black eyes, third-degree burns and bangs that were not cut with scissors. Mother. You gave me and Janna Myers long sticks on fire to play with once.
Mother: How is that different from a baton?
Me: Oh brother.
Mother: Too bad you never had one. He might have protected you from all of those injuries.
Me: Yeah, like boys save girls. I think you’ve been watching too much Hallmark Channel. You really should go outside and play before you get TVitis.
Mother: What’s TVitis?
Me: It’s what you were protecting me from inside the house all of those years.
Mother: I just didn’t want you to get fat.
Me: Another score for feminism.
Mother: I was too busy working to be a feminist.
Me: I should have gone the “Hee Haw” route. Oi.