Before my parents married in 1966 my mother had purchased an outlandish 1960s bright yellow hat, which more closely resembled a shower cap or a wig than a hat. This so-called hat (which I had always thought of as a wig) rested upon a Styrofoam display that was made in the size and shape of a woman’s head. I called her Wig Head, because that was her name.
When I was either four or five years of age I had a dream which featured Wig Head. My dream, as I remember it, from 1972 or 1973, occurred as follows:
I was sleeping in my bed, awoke and got up out to look out my bedroom window. Instead of seeing the front yard, which was the real-life view from my window, I observed that a tiny little room had been added to the house – my window being the entrance to the room.
I opened the window and climbed into this strange little room, which was just a tad bit larger than my clothes closet.
There were only two things worth mentioning in this room. The first item was directly to the right as I climbed through the window. It was a counter top that ran the length of the room – all four to five feet of it. The second item I observed was Wig Head.
I stood in this strange new room and wondered why Wig Head was here when she should have been in Mom’s room sitting atop the gray marble slab where she belonged.
As if she had read my mind, she spoke to me telling me, “I’m here for you. You can talk to me about anything. I’m your friend.”
Wig Head told me that she knew that my father had been hurting me in my waking life and she knew I had no one to talk to for fear that my father’s threats would come true. She told me I could talk to her any time I wanted and she would always listen and keep my secrets.
I honestly don’t remember everything we discussed. This dream occurred more than 40 years ago now, but I do remember the dream feeling so utterly real. Before the dream’s end I told Wig Head that I loved her and wanted her to promise me that she would continue to converse with me in like manner in my waking life. All she said before I awoke was, “You can always talk to me. You can always trust me.”
When I awoke from this dream, it was still dark out. I immediately got out of bed and went to the window and looked out, only to see the normal view of the yard.
I was heartbroken!
As silly as it may seem now, that dream was so terribly real to me that I truly expected to find the little room and Wig Head on the other side of my window.
I was terrified of everything as a child. I was concerned that monsters lived under my bed at night and that I could only be safe by remaining in bed. On the occasions that I needed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I would crouch on my bed and jump as far as I could so the monsters couldn’t reach my ankles when my feet hit the floor.
Then, because I imagined the house was watching me – that there were unseen eyes watching every move I made – I would run from my bedroom door to the bathroom, hoping I was fast enough that the house spies would miss me.
The bathroom came with its own unique threats. I feared flushing the toilet at night because, in my mind, flushing would wake up Count Dracula (a.k.a. Count Chocula) who would rise from the bowels of the toilet once the water had been flushed. Sometimes I wouldn’t flush at all – I would simply run back to my bedroom hoping the house spies didn’t see me. Other times I would remember how upset Mom would get when I didn’t flush and would stand as far away from the toilet as possible, while still able to reach the handle, and would quickly flush and run as fast as I could to my bedroom, taking a giant leap into my bed to avoid the grabby hands of the monsters.
After my dream about Wig Head, I wanted nothing more than to go retrieve her from my parents bedroom, but this would have to be done so quietly. Not only did I have to worry about the house spies, I also had to worry about the possibility that Count Chocula may be in his second favorite spot – just outside my parent’s door. I also had to worry about waking up my parents – especially my father, who might return with me to my room.
I crept through the house as stealthily as a five-year-old can manage, while my heart raced with terror. I managed to get through the dark house, liberate Wig Head and return to bed without being caught by the monsters, Count Chocula or the house spies. My return trip wasn’t nearly as scary, however. There was something about having Wig Head in my arms that made me feel brave.
I slept with Wig Head that night, talking to her as I drifted off to sleep. I was very upset that she didn’t talk back to me as she had in my dream, but she was a comfort nonetheless.
I talked to Wig Head a great deal after that dream but after several months the novelty started to wear off. The fact that she no longer spoke to me was a huge disappointment. My visits with Wig Head gradually tapered off … until the night she reappeared in a dream – in that little room outside my window.
During my second dream about Wig Head she explained to me that she was real but only had the ability to talk in my dreams. She assured me that she still listened to me in my waking life but she simply couldn’t respond. She told me I was her best friend and asked that I continue to keep her company.
That’s when I had the brilliant idea to bring her back through the window into my real world. I explained to her that if I held her without letting go – from dream to waking life – she could be real while I was awake, too! She insisted it couldn’t be done. Just as I reached out to pick her up, I awoke, never having had the chance to bring her back with me.
Throughout my childhood my father worked the second shift, meaning he was gone from shortly after noon until around midnight each night. Sometimes, during the evening, I would sit with Mom as she watched TV in her bedroom and would try to catch Wig Head looking at me. I suspected she watched TV with us and would sometimes try to send me quiet little signals that Mom wouldn’t detect. Occasionally I was convinced that I’d catch her winking at me. Sometimes Mom would allow me take her down from the marble slab she rested upon, and would let me hold Wig Head in my lap as we watched TV.
I never told anybody about Wig Head during my childhood. I knew our friendship was a secret and felt it would be a betrayal to reveal the story of how we grew so close. I’m sure there was also that small part of me that lived in reality and knew that my friendship with a Styrofoam head wasn’t exactly normal.
Wig Head and I were secret friends for a couple of years. I didn’t completely give up on her after that those two years, but I suppose as I grew a little older and developed more coping mechanisms, I didn’t need her as much. But I shall forever remain fond of the memory of Wig Head. For a brief period of my childhood, I had a trusted confidante who I could trust with all my worries, which were more than I was able to handle by myself.
Wig Head came to my rescue when I needed her most and stayed until I was able to go on without her. She was my savior, in a way – a wise woman who came to my rescue when I couldn’t deal with the torment of the sexual abuse by myself but had no other available options.
I shall always cherish the memory of my little Styrofoam friend.