Although I really love jewelry and often wear a lot of it, I never used to like pins. In fact, I actively disliked them. I thought they were silly, and I disdained people who wore them, because A) they were jewelry for clothes, not people; and B) they couldn't be worn on more delicate garments, without risk of ripping them; and C) they just seemed out of style; and, most importantly D) only old ladies wore them. Every so often someone would give me a pin or brooch, and I would exclaim, "Oh, how nice!" before putting dragging out a trunk I kept at the back of a closet, where I stored all my ugly, rejected jewelry.
Then, one day this summer, while browsing at a jewelry store while I had my watch repaired, I found this guy:
Now, he doesn't photograph all that well, but trust me: he's really cute. And I have always had a thing for turtles--they're so prehistoric-looking and eccentric and stand-offish--I find it impossible not to love them. And I looked at this guy and thought, "I could stand to pin him to the lapel of a coat," so I bought him, took him home, and wore him a time or two.
And I decided I'd given pins a short shrift.
So I told my mother that if she had any pins she didn't wear any more, I'd take them. And she sent me several, one of which was this large pin, a wreath of holly with a big gold bow, that belonged to my grandmother and that she wore every winter pinned to a bright red suit:
Last week, on my final day of teaching, I went holiday festive: I wore a red skirt, a white shirt, and a tweedy green jacket--the very one you see the brooch afixed to. I stood before my mirror and thought, "This would be the perfect outfit to wear that pin with." And I pinned it to the jacket and surveyed myself, all ready to walk out the door, and thought, "I look like an old lady. Actually, I don't just look like any old lady: I look like my grandmother."
And I continued to look at myself, trying to decide how I felt about that.
And what I decided was that I didn't feel bad. In fact, I decided that one of the nice things about, uh, maturing, is that you can get away with dressing like an old lady.
I really sort of liked it, and I plan to do it again.