by Madelaine Nerson MacNamara © 2012
No nail varnish, lipstick, tattoos, make-up cases, fake tan, curly wigs, sunbeds, black frills, sequins or glitter, calculated to captivate small girls, in the shops of those days. And neither the money even less the freedom, in the Paris of the Fifties, for a child to shop on her own or dawdle in a day-dream at beckoning windows.
Yet from schoolroom, kitchen, public park, medicine cupboard, a full palette: inkspotted palms, chocolate chin, pollened nosetip, blackberry tongue. Orangy iodine or red mercurochrome patchworked wounds then scabs on shins and knees. Blue gentian dyed mouth ulcers, warts. White chalk or black coals settled tummies. On mud-spattered grazed elbows, colourless surgical spirit stung.