It’s hard to imagine Dolly Parton without high heels. It’s not like Dolly Parton has ever been conventional; her candor is well-known. But this time, she really caught everyone by surprise.
A Quilting Needle
When 71-year old Dolly Parton recently appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, the two discussed the usual topics. What he probably didn’t expect was the following story.
As the 11-time Grammy winner recalled it, “I was probably about six or seven. I had jumped across the fence onto a broken mason jar and cut three of my toes, just my little toes on my right foot, almost off, and they were just kind of hanging there.”
However, her parents were quite poor and didn’t have the financial means to procure medical help. So her mother, Avie Lee Owens, simply took matters into her own hands.
“So they grabbed me up and all my dad and my brothers, they had to hold me down. Momma, she put cornmeal — now, you’re a doctor, you might know, I think the cornmeal was to absorb the blood. They put kerosene on it for antiseptic, and momma took her sewing needles — she used to make our quilts and stuff, and she literally had to sew my toes back on. But they worked and they healed, and I’m still walking on them.”
One can only imagine the pain of kerosene in an open wound, as well as having toes sewn back without anesthesia. However, it was one of the realities of growing up in such abject poverty.
A mother’s love
Parton’s mother passed away in 2003. She was 79. More than a decade later, Parton would share her childhood, and her mother, with the world.
Coat of Many Colors, the story of her childhood, released in 2015. Dolly shared her thoughts with People about the film. “It brought us back together as family and made us miss mama and daddy a lot. They’re gone now, but we get a chance to see our brothers and sisters again and when we were little, and think of mama and daddy and all that they meant to us.”
It seems she has her mother’s love to thank for many things in her life even her toes.