I love purple. I have ever since I was old enough to have a favorite color. My first bicycle was purple. I pledged a purple sorority. Even my first truck was purple. (I miss that truck.) I am even reminded at this moment of a time when I dyed my hair eggplant. My mother then introduced me as "almost her daughter."** Does that mean I wear it all the time? No. In fact I hardly ever do wear it only because it reminds me of a Paula Danziger book The Cat Ate My Gym Suit where the girl was overweight in junior high school, and she wore a purple pants suit (the 70s) to a school dance feeling like a grape.Purple is a hard color to wear, paint houses with or even scrapbook with because of the strong feelings the color can evoke. In school, classmates used to say things to each other like "hating each other with a purple passion." That's a lot of hate, isn't it? By using the color purple to express yourself artistically, maybe you are opening yourself up like a wound. Aren't many bruises and black eyes purple? Remember veterans who are injured in war are awarded the Purple Heart.
Unlike blue which will always be cool and red which always be hot, purple - a combination of the two - changes depending on where it is on the spectrum. Sometimes it will be a cool delicate or romantic hue like iris or a deeper richer hue like the favorite color of Cleopatra. Maybe it was her love for this color that lead purple to be thought of now when we think of royalty.
My Aunt Rose vividly remembers having red shoes and wearing them with purple socks and one of the nuns of the orphanage telling her, "The only taste you have, Rose, is in your mouth!" Funny that 30 something years later my cousin would graduate from Boston College whose school color was red and more specifically from dental school whose color on the cap and gown was purple. So, for his graduation party Aunt Rose had purple and red balloons.
And on that note, I leave you with one of my favorite poems:
**Note to Cazjane: See what I mean about prim through and through?
WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Taken from the book
When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
Editd by Sandra Martz
Papier Mache Press--Watsonville, California 1987