A small story about a small story.

When I was 5, or maybe 4, my mother would take me to the local 5 & 10, in Bellmore, I think, with its wide-planked, worn wooden floors, grown shiny with the treading of heels and soles of untied sneakers, to pick out a few yards of ribbon for my dark, slippery hair. It was a grand moment, a momentous decision; we chose together, and the cut and wound ribbon would be slipped into a plain brown paper bag, where, by the time we drove past the duckpond full of swans and geese, and goslings (the kinder, my mother called them) if we were lucky, and arrived home, they'd have unfurled into a loose, beautiful mess.

That 5 & 10 closed many years ago, as did the Woolworth's I also loved, and I can't remember exactly how my mom got the ribbons to stay in my hair (I think she turned them into headbands with elastic, but she didn't sew, so maybe my father made them, with his perfect, tiny, periodontist stitches that I hope you never need). I still love a beautiful mess, and the delicious feeling of making a story, told by small decisions taken seriously, and the inherent logic inside one's very own, personal, secret imagination.


dolls by Alice Mary Lynch, my favorite dollmaker, who also loves ribbons and stories
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