Ma, You Be Killin ‘Em: June Dyer

May 08, 2011

We have so much to thank our mothers for. In addition to birthing us, feeding us, and bathing us, they've also been our most influential style icons. As a small token of our affection, we're counting down to Mother's Day (this Sunday, heads up!) by celebrating our moms' style, swagger and grace.

What did your mom like to wear? Don't let the picture above fool you. My mom wore short minis and high platforms. It seems that in her old age she's forgotten all of this and loves to criticize me when I wear cut off shorts and flats. I will probably hide all of my trashy young photos, have a selective memory lapse and do the same when I have girl children. I love these pre-marriage-and-kids pictures of her. She's wearing breezy sun dresses with hippie accents like crochet hats and real flower corsages. She goes to church every Saturday, and has been known to stunt in intricately beaded suits, silk scarves and brooches galore. When my mom wore off-white dresses to church, which she often did, she would chide me for trying to fall asleep on her lap, saying that my grubby little hands would stain her good clothes that just came from the cleaners. Then she would lay my brother's suit jacket on her lap and invite me to rest my big head. She's a classy broad.

What music did she listen to? My mom loves some Motown and is known to break out in a little song and dance and say that other people don't know real music. She loses her mind when Marvin Gaye or Smokey Robinson sing. My obsession for all things Diana Ross comes from her, as Mahogany was the first movie she ever rented. On the flipside, she's always humming a church hymn or a gospel song. Back in the day we had a bunch of eight-tracks and records, she would bump '70s gospel on a Friday night. Her theme song would either be Diana Ross's "Do you Know Where You're Going To" or Walter Hawkins' "Jesus Christ is The Way."

What would she say? Does she have a fave phrase or saying? Something anecdote-ey. I was an insanely wild and rude child, My mom would always say "Don't touch your father's head!" In Trinidadian dialect this loosely translates to "Cut it out or else I will pinch you. Hard." Needless to say, I heard this about ten times a day. As trying as I was, she was always patient and would save the pinch as a last resort. My mom also has a very distinct way of clearing her throat. Said throat-clearing can be heard by her children from at least twenty feet away. When I would get lost in Macy's, which was every time we went, that's how I found my way back to her loving arms.

Ma, You Be Killin ‘Em: June Dyer