By Jan Stadtherr
It’s been nearly a year since the pandemic entered our lives. We are still wearing masks, but because they are to be worn, I very seldom wear earrings anymore.
My husband and I went to Perkins for lunch recently, and since we were actually going somewhere, I decided to wear earrings. I attempted to remove my mask as the waitress asked what we would like to drink. The string of the mask was caught in my earrings (again). As I fumbled to get it loose, the waitress wanted to help me, but because of COVID, no personal contact. Free at last, we ordered.
When I was a member of the working world, there were several times I went to work naked. To clarify, my ears were naked. With no earrings, or rings on my fingers, I felt naked. I was obsessed with earrings, especially when they were designed larger, more colorful and were created in all shapes. My love for earrings was well known back then. Like a magnet, I was drawn to every earring display. The earrings I purchased back then had to be unique, and the majority of them I still have although they are never worn.
One of the most unique pair I had was a gold and silver cone design. They were a real work of (cheap) art resembling a Picasso. I loved wearing them even though one of my kids said they looked like something from the “The Jetsons” TV show.
I remember another pair that whistled softly in the wind due to the fine coil design that resembled an electric burner on a stove. There was a pair that looked like paperclips. One day at work, I said I needed a paperclip and a co-worker said, “Use the one hanging from your ear.”
The first pair of earrings (and high heels) I wore was on my confirmation day in 1962. The earrings were the small screw-on type that my mother let me wear. I took them off before the service was over, as one wouldn’t stay on and the other pinched my ear.
Primitive humans pierced their ears with heavy stones and plugs. In the 1960s when the rage of pierced ears returned, you could only have your ears pierced at a doctor’s office. But soon there were ear piercing parties where young women would pierce each other’s ears. My ears were pierced for the first time in the late 60s by my roommate. She put clothes pins on my ears to numb them and used a sewing needle to pierce the lobes. It worked fine, with no infections. Soon jewelry stores started to perform piercings. My second and final set was done in the 70s at Claire’s, a popular accessory store for young gals and young-at-heart women. Today, the ear itself can be pierced in nine different places, and there are many other body parts that are also pierceable where you can’t even see the jewelry attached.
I very seldom wore the same pair of earrings twice in one week while working. My earrings coordinated with everything I wore. I bought one pair of clip-on earrings. They were a beautiful blend of purple and blue and were comfortable to wear. However, I didn’t have anything to wear with them, so I purchased a top that matched perfectly. I wanted that “total look.”
My obsession for earrings became a topic (joke) of conversation at the office. For a birthday one year, everyone made me a pair of unique earrings from such things as candy canes, roach motels, and miniature boxes. But the winning earrings, for which there was no prize, were created with two tampons which I put on during the party and turned my head from side to side so they would swing. I told everyone they would expand when I went out in the rain.
One day I accidentally dropped my clock radio. The sound of it hitting the floor was heard throughout the office followed by a co-worker’s wise comment, “Did you drop your earring, Jan?”