Bows and Flows of Angel Hair by
(303 Stories)

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Accessories? I have never been into purses or shoes or hats or scarves. I have bought all those things, of course, but only as needed, not in a collecting kind of way.

However, in junior high school, I wore bows in my hair almost every day. My coiffure may not have been the angel hair of the song, but it certainly did flow. As shown in the Featured Image, my eighth grade class picture, I wore my hair with bangs, and the rest brushed straight back without a part. I had to tease it a little bit to keep it from falling to one side or the other. The bow fit nicely right into the space between the bangs going forward and the rest going back. They were pre-made bows of grosgrain ribbon, attached to a clip. Here is the best picture I could find of the back of a bow, showing how the clip was attached to it. I had them in every imaginable color so I could match whatever I was wearing. Often I had knee socks of the same color as the hair bow, but not always. Those were the days when I accessorized.

Since then, not so much. Over the years I have bought my fair share of jewelry, but I am not good at thinking about what I have in my wardrobe to go with it, so most of it ends up staying in the drawer.

After I got my ears pierced, in high school, I started buying lots of earrings. Not expensive ones, they were all of the five or ten dollar variety. I still have most of them, but I hardly ever wear them, because with all my hair they don’t show. When I do go to the trouble of finding earrings in my collection that go with an outfit, it’s just frustrating because nobody sees them.

I have had several beautiful opal rings, including one that was sort of an engagement ring, because opals are my favorite stones. There is a superstition that it is bad luck to wear opals if they are not your birthstone. They are the birthstone for October. My August birthstone is peridot which is an ugly shade of light green. Here is a peridot, so you can easily see why I would rather have an opal. However, every one of the opal rings I have worn has cracked or chipped and become unwearable, so perhaps that is the bad luck I incurred because I was not born in October.

Finally, I have a large collection of Jewish necklaces which I have acquired over the years. I’m not quite sure why I keep buying them. They are very beautiful, but the only time I wear any of them is when I go to temple or to some other Jewish event. But I have a special jewelry box just for them, so they don’t get tangled with all the other miscellaneous jewelry I have.

The only items of jewelry I treasure, and wear consistently, are my diamond ring (from my grandmother), my wedding ring which also has tiny diamonds in it (from my husband’s grandmother), and my Radcliffe ring. If I gave everything else away, it wouldn’t really matter.

Profile photo of Suzy Suzy

Characterizations: right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    I think I was in 9th grade when I made a bright pink velvet bow and put my hair up in a bun with the bow on top. The bow looked a lot like yours, but I think mine was attached with a comb that was stuck in at the top of the bun. I was very proud of my effort and I wore it to my 15th birthday party with my girlfriends. Now that I think of it, since I am two years younger than you, I had small velvet bows on clips that I wore to keep my hair parted on the side in 6th grade (just as you were wearing yours in 8th grade). So maybe bows were a thing that year.

    It’s funny, I’m packing to go away for the weekend right now, trying to figure out my wardrobe for an evening of theatre one night, a nice dinner out the second. I’ve pulled some necklaces to accessorize, but they seem insignificant to the main event. Even the clothing doesn’t seem as important as warmth and comfort (and packing in a small suitcase that I can carry on).

    Even though I have nice earrings, I almost never wear them anymore. Like you, I just don’t bother. I wear my rings and watch everyday. Increasingly, that seems to be enough for me, so I am on-board the Suzy train of thought once again.

    • Suzy says:

      Betsy, thanks for your comment. I’m impressed that you made the pink velvet bow yourself. I’m sure you looked spectacular at your 15th birthday party. And I bet the smaller bows you wore in 6th grade were just like the ones I wore in 8th grade. I think I wore them for more than one year, although the only photographic evidence is my 8th grade class picture.

      Yes to rings and watch. I forgot to mention that I wear a watch too. I don’t really think of it as jewelry, just something I need so that I know what time it is. Of course, millennials don’t wear watches, and just check the time on their phones. When I look at my phone, I never notice what time it says, so then I have to look at my watch anyway.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    As usual, a perfect title for your story — lyrics, as well as song titles, count! And bows are such a great example of the kind of “accessorizing” done by girls of our generation, but no longer. So your discussion of wearing them in junior high was particularly evocative and nostalgic,. even for a guy

    I also very much liked your discussion of your later day accessorizing, especially from the perspective of someone who really isn’t much into accessorizing. Yet still there are accessories and the accessories all have stories, as you so nicely indicated. Sort of like the “I Hate to Cook” cookbook. Ironically, I just learned that peridot is the August birthstone by doing the New York Times crossword puzzle a few days ago (only gem that fit the space).

    So many thanks for the stories and for your fascinating perspective on accessories. Now, if I could just get “Both Sides Now” out of my head…..


    • Suzy says:

      Thanks John. I didn’t really tell any stories about my accessories, which I could have done. For example, the pair of long, dangly earrings I bought freshman year of college for my date to the Harvard-Yale game. Maybe I’ll dig those out and wear them to the viewing of The Game this year. Unfortunately I don’t still have the brown wide-wale corduroy bellbottoms that I also bought for that occasion!

      And sorry about the earworm, it’s been running through my head ever since I started writing the story.

  3. Risa Nye says:

    Those bows! I had ‘em too! Above the bangs or on the side, they didn’t do much to contain the frizz, but they were fun to wear. Also wore the occasional headband or very thin ribbon to match an outfit. Thanks for the memories!

    • Suzy says:

      Yes, I wore headbands sometimes too, the stretchy kind, but they gave me a headache after a while. Bows were more comfortable. Thanks for your comment!

      • Betsy Pfau says:

        Thanks for the reminder. I wore those stretchy headbands too. I could never wear rigid headbands. Those gave me headaches. And I had a whole collection of those colored ribbons (as Risa describes) that I wore when I pulled back the front of my long hair, but left the rest hanging long. That was a 1969 look. I’m with John…bring on Judy Collins!

  4. A lovely run-down of the small museum you must run to store all those amazing items. I’m curious to know if you still have any of those fanciful bows from middle school — junior high as we called it. Also very impressed that you pierced your ears in high school. Did many of our female compatriots do that? I didn’t get there until much later!

    Given that you have a remarkable collection of baubles, bangles, and bright, shiny beads, I’m impressed that you have kept them in such a non-materialist perspective. Oh… and given the powers bestowed upon me by no one in particular, I now proclaim you a Scorpio, born on October 30. You may now wear your opal birthstone with impunity!

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks for your nice comment. I did say junior high school, not middle school, in my story. Although actually, as you know, I went to one school from 7th through 12th grades – a junior-senior high school. No, I don’t still have any of those bows, unfortunately. When my parents sold the house I grew up in, they were pretty ruthless about getting rid of things.

      I think it was pretty common for girls to get their ears pierced around ’65 or ’66 when I did it. My mother and I got our ears pierced together, and it was my doctor father who pierced them. I’m guessing it was much later that guys started piercing their ears, but I don’t really know.

  5. I get it Suzy, I also have jewelry I never seem to wear, and since Covid I haven’t even been wearing earrings because they catch in the straps when putting on and taking off my masks!

    In fact the only time I seem to accessorize nowadays is when I “dress up” for Zoom!
    Will we ever again live life as we knew it?

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