When I was a girl, we trick or treated indoors, through hallways, up and down stairs - apartment building Halloween. My Croation father missed the green of his homeland. Because of this, we moved to the Bronx – despite my youthful protests: “The Bronx!! But, Daddy, no one lives in the Bronx!”
“Wait little one, you’ll see” he said “The Botanic Gardens. I want us to live near the Botanic Gardens.”
And the Bronx Zoo. The Zoo is the other side of the Gardens. When I was four, my friend Arthur and I wandered into the zoo.
Lost. Very lost. I don’t recall being found. Yet, here I am.
Maybe because we lived on the safe side of the zoo, not the south side.
As an adult, I returned to the Botanic Gardens in the Bronx and understood my father’s enchantment with them. The Gardens are a place where the city stops. And where, I imagine, he could pretend he was back home, the place where he was a child.
When I was a little girl, I trick or treated inside – no need to go outside. We ran giggling, growling, scaring one another up and down hallways and stairs.
Halloween – Apartment building style.
Safe. We were safe. Yes. It’s true. When I was a little girl, I felt safe and even though he made us move to the Bronx, I loved my father very much.
Who Braided Frida Kahlo’s Hair? by Judy Herzl
I want to know. It’s a question I think about. I’d like to imagine gardens of women, all together, all braiding each other’s hair.
Braids or plaiting, as it is sometimes called, is not for the solitary.
If you want a serious braid do, you must find a sista gang to braid you and for you to braid them. Follow the braids and you will find a kind of order that winds like a story.
They say we carry stories in our hair. And that is why it is no surprise to see a friend who has just declared herself a writer or is committing to the muse, or a friend who has finally left her man and none too soon. And guess what? Right before, she’s chopped her hair off, even those beautiful braids.
Why? It was time for a new story.
It was time to release that interwoven identity and travel light, untethered. And perhaps in solitude. Not needing or wanting that buzz of another hovering, handling one’s hair into plaited beauty. It was time to be as simple as a monk with a shaved head and a begging bowl. To beg for one’s life and to live from inspiration rather than from memory.
There were two times I chopped off all of my hair. The first was when I was 11 years old. And I still have the braids. I do not remember thinking about it. What I remember more was my father’s anguish: “I’ve lost my little girl,” he said. And you know what, he was right. That braid cutting was my ritual into teen-hood.