While I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, my grandmother Ethel was an important part of my young life. By the time I knew her, she was a bastion of middle class respectability known for keeping an immaculate house and still wearing her corset. She was never one to let standards slip. In fact, as a child when I was lucky enough to get to go for a sleepover with Grandma, she would let me build tents in her living room, and after plying me with home-made sugar cookies, we would sit down to watch Lawrence Welk. She would fall asleep in her chair while I stood behind her and brushed her hair. Eventually, the show ended and she woke up, and then came my favorite part of the whole visit – I would get to watch while Grandma would take out her false teeth and set them in a glass on the bathroom sink. Her whole face would change and she would talk funny. I loved it. It was better than the circus. In fact, I wanted to take her to school for show-and-tell so all of my friends could watch her take her teeth out, but for some strange reason my mother nixed the idea.
As I look back on those days with Grandma Ethel, I think more and more of the stories she told about life when she was growing up. Grooming was always important to her, and yet she told how, when she was a teenager, she and her sisters would only wash their hair about once a month. Really?! That sounds completely disgusting to me today, and yet it was a very common, even sensible practice well over a hundred years ago when there was no central heating, rooms were drafty, and winters were long and cold. It serves as a constant reminder to me that times change, and standards change based on the services that are available and the resources we have access to. Above is a picture of Grandma Ethel in her finest. I think the picture was taken in the early 1900’s, and she would have been around 15. Everything was handmade, but that was no excuse for not doing your very best work. Below are her sisters Ada and Nora. I love the hats especially. There is something exuberant about them that says fashion matters. My grandmother taught me to value my appearance and to do the best with whatever talents and abilities God had given me. Slacking was never an option. And if times were tough, you just needed to work that much harder.
We know that for many, times are tough today. We look for ways one dress can be re-purposed to work at multiple events without looking like the same dress. If you have special needs or considerations, don’t hesitate to contact us. Maybe we will be able to help with suggestions and ideas. We all want to look our best and enjoy life, and if Grandma Ethel was here, she would quickly say, “Well, get on with it!”