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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Hatpin Prick

I recall only one personal interaction with my paternal great-grandmother Gra, it was when I was a toddler with just enough words to ask why she had pricked me with her hatpin. She would not say, but my father said it must have been an accident, and that she kept the six-inch needle pinned to her hat to fend off men on the trolley cars. As I recall that hatpin was bent out of true from vigorous prickings, but it only took one pricking to turn me away from her. I do not recall any other instance of relating to her, and I did not know her well enough to mourn her when she died a few years later. Another telling story about Gra was that allegedly she once became so enraged at my grandmother, her daughter, that she struck her over the head with a table lamp, then claimed it was an accident. Gra was a sour old woman. She used to amuse herself and torment my grandmother by following her around with a pot of face cream, saying in her sing-songy Norwegian accent, "Here, put this dope on your nose." A vat of face cream would not have helped my grandmother's humped and beaked nose, and she was quite sensitive about it.

Caption: Hatpin Prick

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2019

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