The Talisman

February 27, 2013


Mama’s Losin’ It

Participating in Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop today, answering the prompt, “Show us something you wore.” And yeah, I’m a day early, but we have crazy shizzle going on Thursday-Sunday, so forgive.


Please excuse the dorky outfit–pinafore and Peter-Pan-collar blouse, anyone? And ignore the wonk hair, too, because wonk hair is a prominent fixture in my life, never to cease.

No, what you need to focus on is that piece of poo I am wearing on my shoulder.

Actually, it isn’t a piece of poo, although I know it looks like it.

Readers, meet Porky. Porky was my only friend my second-grade year…a change of schools will do that to a girl. Not every girl, but if you are highly nervous and shy and flat-out terrified by your new school, you may need a Porky to get you through.

Porky, a little pin in the shape of a porcupine, was a genius move on Mama’s part. Days before starting my new school, I twitched and fretted and spent a tremendous amount of time on the toilet. My sister couldn’t wait to start over in a new school, but me? On the toilet.

I couldn’t sleep and would sneak into Mama’s bed and whisper in her ear, “Please, Mama, please? Please don’t make me go to school.”  It wasn’t enough to wrench my own guts out; I had to clutch Mama’s in a death grip too.  Ah, motherhood. Such a gift.

But Mama needed my scaredy-butt parked behind a school desk, and she needed it quick. A pickle like this required some big-time creative thinking.

Luckily, Mama is fast on her feet. The day I was to begin school, Mama presented me with a small, ribbon-topped box. Inside was Porky. Impressively, he had soft but very realistic-looking quills and two black, beady eyes. She pinned Porky onto my dress and said, “This pin is your good luck charm, and he will keep you safe today, because he is your friend. So don’t fret about school. You already have a friend there.”

She’s Einstein, that Mama of mine.

Of course, I still fretted and was a nervous bag of bones, but at least with Porky on my shoulder, I could keep my shit *swear jar* together until the last bell rang. That’s a win.

I don’t think Mama expected Porky to be a daily fixture, but I was smitten. I insisted that she pin him on every pinafore I wore that year. Porky had the misfortune of landing in the washing machine many, many times. By the end of his tenure, Mama’d stitched him back together so many times that he looked pretty moth-eaten, but I didn’t care. Porky was my Talisman.

One day, sick of looking at Porky, my sister convinced me to wear a different pin. It was a little, freckled-faced girl pin, and when you opened it, there was a lilac-scented perfume that you could goop onto your neck. I was hesitant, but I agreed. And then, right after lunch, waiting in line for the library lady to stamp my book, I vomited profusely in the projectile fashion. All over the library floor. And everybody saw. The final insult was that the force of the vomit also made me pee my pants. And everybody saw.

That sealed the deal in my mind–Porky really was my good luck charm. Mama picked me up at school and cleaned me up and bundled me in bed and I gave Porky a thorough apology for my infidelity.

A few years ago, when Miss M. was giving me tears and pleas and resistance to school, I called Mama for support. Mama cracked up. “Fate’s come back for you, dear,” she snickered. Then she said, “I’ve got Porky if you need to borrow him…”

“Get out!” I blurted into the phone. “No way do you still have that guy.”

But she does. She saved him, lest his services be needed in the future. I declined at the moment, because I can’t sew a lick and Porky faced horrendous risk in light of my slothful laundry skills, but I was touched at the offer.

But oh, I sleep so much better at night, knowing that Porky’s still there, waiting, ready for active duty.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon February 27, 2013 at 6:53 am

Of course she still has Porky! I get rid of everything, but I don’t think even I could have gotten rid of Porky. I think maybe you should wear him again sometimes and see what happens. Because, come on, the fact that you puked and peed yourself on the one day you didn’t wear him? Well, that could not have been a coincidence. He has to have powers.


TKW February 27, 2013 at 9:29 am


I KNOW! What are the freaking odds of that happening? Some strange Porky voodoo?


Arnebya February 27, 2013 at 8:56 am

I’m with Shannon: Of course she still has him! Duh.


Biz February 27, 2013 at 9:11 am

Ha – love it! This totally brought back a memory I hadn’t thought about for years. I had a crazy grandma that lived with us – super religious, I’d have to sit Sunday mornings AFTER going to church and watch The 700 Club with her.

School picture day was around the corner, and she gave me a pin to wear. It said “Jesus First” and she said if I didn’t wear it all day that she would know. She gave the same pin to my twin sister, who upon leaving the front door, tore if off her shirt and threw it in the bottom of her back pack. But not me. I feared something would happen if I didn’t wear that pin, so my 5th grade picture I am wearing my Dorothy Hamill haircut, a white turtleneck with apples on it, and the damn JESUS FIRST! pin.


TKW February 27, 2013 at 9:25 am

Biz, pleeeease tell me you have a photo of that? Must. See. Hilarious story!


Jennifer February 27, 2013 at 10:15 am

That would be the kind of a thing a mama would keep.


Tiffany February 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm

No wonder you’re such a great Mama…look at the example you had!!! :)


TKW February 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm


I had lunch with her today. She still is something else.


Jen @ Momalom February 27, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Dear god. I love this. Makes me want to go through the boxes of photos my mama gave me a few years ago. I know there’s one of me wearing The Lavendar Outfit.


TKW February 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm


Must. Know. About. Outfit!


Katybeth February 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm

What a sweet story. Everyone needs a Porky.
My mother gave me her glass case and told me it had magic powers and she could see me through it, and I could talk to her.
Mom’s are wonderful aren’t they?


TKW February 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm


Please write about it? I want to hear every word.


Lara February 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Love this! What a great story. And a great Mama! I would totally keep Porky too.


Contemporary Troubadour February 27, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Porky. is. awesome. And Mama is amazing — totally surprised and not surprised she’s still got Porky in reserve.


Dawn February 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

First off I think I wore the exact same outfit…in grade school and maybe later. Sad I know. Second, I can almost remember how Porky I think I had some soft of pin similar. Your Mom IS brilliant! Glad it worked out too! I think you should keep Porky in a safe place on a bookshelf or somewhere under glass…he’s a valuable part of your history.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes February 28, 2013 at 5:32 am

Oh that is just equal amounts of sweet and amazing!
The closest thing I have to a talisman is a ring my grandmother gave me before she died. I never wear it because it is to big and to resize it would be sheer blasphemy.


TKW February 28, 2013 at 9:11 am


Blasphemy? Maybe she’d be thrilled that you were wearing it?


Stacey February 28, 2013 at 7:48 am

Your mom was a genius! It sounds like something I would have kept too…had I been smart enough to think of something like Porky :)


TKW February 28, 2013 at 9:11 am


I know. Mama is much more quick and clever than I will ever be.


SuziCate February 28, 2013 at 8:17 am

I love this story! Your mama really is Einstein! Perhaps you could come up with your own type of Porky for Miss M. You could make something easily crafted and do duplicates ahead of time to prepare for mishaps or purchase some little item in bulk so it can be replaced on a whim due to laundry mishaps!


TKW February 28, 2013 at 9:12 am


Alas, I am the least crafty person ever. Seriously, I suck. But I can buy a cute pin and stick it on her…


denise February 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

I can always count on you for a slice of heart-tug with a side of bust-my-gut laughter. Absolutely brilliant–your Mama, your story, your writing. xo


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri February 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Love this. It filled me with comfort and love. Everyone needs a Porky to navigate their life sometimes.


the princess blogger February 28, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Moms are wonderful! I love this! I wonder what Porky looks like now!


TKW March 1, 2013 at 7:31 am


He’s pretty dang shabby!


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me February 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Your Mama is awesome. Awesome. Maybe I should borrow Porky for days I don’t want to go to school…


Dana March 9, 2013 at 8:21 am

A mama who can come up with a Porky is just the right kind of mama.

A mama who saved Porky through the years is probably the best kind.


Liz March 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I was SUCH a mess in elementary school (come to think of middle and high, too), and distinctly remember the day I threw up while walking in line from PE. A kid went “ILLLLLLLL” and I was mortified. Vivid. I needed a Porky.


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