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  • January 13th, 2009 | 4:03 PM
Tuesday memory challenge

I have absolutely no idea where the inspiration for today's memory challenge came from unless it is from the mountain of laundry waiting for my attention. How two people generate so many dirty clothes is always a mystery to me.

But clothing is the thought for the day.

When I think about the clothes of my childhood I think of my grandmother because for many years she made most of my clothes. I remember a blue corduroy dress that had the best skirt for twirling, it would spin out around me like a cape.

Because we weren't allowed to wear pants to school she made me dresses and jumpers. Oh how I hated those boring jumpers - scoop neck in front and back, a button on each shoulder, a blouse underneath. They hung straight from the shoulder with no give for running or jumping or spinning. 

I remember needing special shoes when I was younger for some reason - I don't know why - but we got them at the Stride Rite shoe store.

I remember white lacy anklet socks that folded down with a ruffle around the edge. I was only allowed to wear them on Sundays when we went to church.

I remember dotted swiss, lots of dotted swiss for skirts and netting underneath to make the dress stick out from my sides (and made it tough to sit down.)

My grandmother would buy her patterns, material and thread from BeeDees store downtown. I can remember going with her to sit on the high stool while she looked through the pattern books. I looked too but my vote never counted. She was a fan of rick rack trim and I had it on more clothes than I care to remember.

In elementary school, when we did buy clothes, it was always from Rhodes department store. Every once in a while I got to pick out something fun.

I remember my Brownie uniform.

I remember in 7th grade we were finally allowed to wear pants and I got a pair of white jeans. Beautiful white jeans. I couldn't wait to wear them to school. Well you can imagine (at least if you are female I bet you can imagine) what happened to me the very first time I wore them. Sigh. They soaked in a bowl of bleach water after school.

I remember that for high school my mother and grandmother wouldn't let me have a navy pea coat, even though that was what EVERYONE was wearing. I got stuck with a nylon windbreaker with red and white stripes. Not even in the same comfort zone for warmth.

I remember once I started skating competitively that my grandmother was aghast at the skating outfits I wore.

She also wasn't too fond of my first day of high school outfit

nor the succession of mini skirts that followed.

But when I joined Little People, an offshoot of cheerleading, and needing a uniform in 24 hours, she whipped out that sewing machine and made it for me.

And I remember the bright green formal I wore for my first formal dance.

Your turn. What do you remember of clothes from your childhood?

There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 32 comments — Leave comment )
January 14th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
Oh - those boots were great!!

I really liked jumpers. I miss jumpers. *considers making some jumpers*
January 14th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)
I LOVED those boots. I kept them long after I should have. I got married right after high school and my then husband bought me a suede skirt and vest that matched the boots perfectly. My favorite dressup outfit for years.
(no subject) - boreal_owl - January 14th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
January 14th, 2009 03:20 am (UTC)
I was a boot fan through most of my childhood, cowboy boots, go go boots, marching boots, I didn't care.

I used to sing that Nancy Sinatra song while walking all over my cousin Mike, in my boots!
January 14th, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
I love those purple mini skirts! What a hottie!

Up through fifth grade, my mom made most of my clothes. She used to make my Velvet and Chrissy dolls clothes (and PJs!) that matched.

January 14th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
It was fun to look back. those were just the pics already scanned in the computer.

My grandmother would never make doll clothes for me but once my uncle bought me a giant chest of handmade Barbie clothes that I treasured.
January 14th, 2009 02:01 am (UTC)
I love the photos! The only real memory of clothes I have is two identical dresses that my mom bought me and my older sister, that I LOVED, and got to wear twice as long (with the hand-me-down.) Oh, yeah, and many miserable junior high minutes spent in a dressing room, trying to find the ONE pair of Dittos pants that sort of fit. Sigh.
January 14th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
Wow, I can't remember the brands of anything!
January 14th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
You looked fabulous!

January 14th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
Thanks. Of course I didn't post any of the crummy pics. LOL
January 14th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)
OMG! I loved seeing you from your younger days! And the outfits too! :) Thanks for sharing!
January 14th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
It was fun for me too!
January 14th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
great post! I'm an 80s kid...so I was decked out on rainbow jellies, swatch watches, tapered jeans with zippers up the ankles (in other words....what you find in the stores right now. Talk about flashbacks!)
January 14th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
Oh man... I remember those jeans! The big thing I remember was having to leave them unzipped to wear my boots underneath.

I never got jellies though.
(no subject) - susanwrites - January 14th, 2009 03:23 am (UTC) - Expand
January 14th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
Hmm clothes.

I was, in clothes as all things, very different from my sisters. They liked pretty dresses and frilly, girly things and I liked... jeans. Jeans. And more jeans.

I was always very "utilitarian" in my clothing choices (and still am, though, now I understand that dressing up isn't that bad). If I couldn't spend my whole day in it and get my stuff done, I didn't see the point. Why should I put on one outfit to do this, and another to do this, and another to do this?!

Sundays were different. I usually didn't complain (much) about wearing nice things to church, but once home I wanted out of them!

When I got trampled (are you sick of these stories yet?) I was very disappointed. All of a sudden, I couldn't wear jeans. I had to wear skirts. Long skirts to cover my casts/various braces. My mother would not allow me to wear shorts.

Once released from that hell, my mother thought I'd gotten used to skirts and would follow on with that. Yeah... no. First afternoon I was allowed to, my one elder brother (Mike) took me to the store and bought me about ten pairs of jeans, a jean jacket, and combat boots. He was on, I think, his third pay from the Marines, and had saved them to take me shopping.

Mom was not amused when we returned home.

Even these days, I tend to go for "comfortable utility" rather than anything else. Most days I'm around the house and have no one to impress. So, jeans, t-shirts of various degrees of rattiness.
January 14th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
Please tell me you're working on your own memoir! You have such great stories.

Nowadays I am all about comfort. Sweats/legging and t-shirts. Jeans when I go out. I haven't worn a dress since my wedding almost 10 years ago.
January 14th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
So what was the skating rink called where you skated? Ours was The Skate Palace! I had a friend who competed like you did. I just liked to go and skate for fun. And watch the cute guys. :)

GREAT pics! When I was in first grade, my great grandma made me a dress that I thought was the cutest thing ever. I believe I'm wearing it for my school pictures that year. I should see if my mom has a copy of the photo. I just remember how that dress made me SO happy.
January 14th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
Our rink was Skate Haven. When I started there they had the old wood floors and I would get splinters in my nylons when I fell.

I remember being so sad when they tore it down for a gas station.

Oh you should see if you have a picture of you in a happy dress.
January 14th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Great pictures!!
I remember mostly having dresses, some of which my mom made... two very cool Scandinavian knit sweaters she knitted(wow)...
and polyester doubleknit slacks.
Lots of them.

January 14th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
Oh my mother had a closet full of polyester doubleknit pantsuits. That was her thing. After I had been married a few years and took the kids up to see her I looked in her closet. She was still wearing all the same clothes she had worn all through my high school.
January 14th, 2009 05:19 am (UTC)
January 14th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
I'm wondering if any additional material could have possibly been added to that formal.

It looks like reams and reams of fabric. :)
(no subject) - susanwrites - January 14th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
January 14th, 2009 05:19 am (UTC)

The roller skating outfits. Wow, those pictures look like they're from magazines or something! What a great post!
January 14th, 2009 08:56 am (UTC)
Nice pics! Look at you all sassy in your skating outfits. What I remember is that as a young kid I absolutely hated wearing pants or tennis shoes. I had one pair of yellow pants with a Raggedy Ann applique sewn on the pocket, and that was it for the pants. It was all dresses, tights, and Mary Janes for me. I always had a sweater on (thanks, Chinese mom!) even if it was super hot outside. Elementary school onward was uniforms: green plaid jumper (K - 6) and white middy sailor shirts and blue pleated skirts (7 - 12). In the 80's I was all over the bright colors, oversized bat-wing sweatshirts, and stirrup leggings. What was I thinking?
January 14th, 2009 09:07 am (UTC)
What you wore on your first day of high school?? THAT WAS MARCIA BRADY!!!
Here's the story of a lovely writer!

WOW! THOSE CLOTHES ARE FAR OUT! You were hip, Susan! I'm impressed!

Where were you growing up? Where did you live?

-Pamela, misses my Huckapoo shirts, Faded Glory two-toned jeans, Kork-Ease, wedgie heels....
January 14th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
Yep, totally Marcia Brady. hahaha

I grew up in Concord CA, about halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento.
January 14th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
Every Picture Tells a STORY...
...and here you've posted VOLUMES!

January 14th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Every Picture Tells a STORY...
it was a fun trip down memory lane.
I must say... - slatts - January 14th, 2009 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I must say... - susanwrites - January 15th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC) - Expand
( 32 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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