Sunday, August 16, 2009

Off The Top of My Head

As the stifling heat in D.C. continues, I'm reluctant to go outdoors so I have too much time to ponder life.
Our house in northern Illinois had no air conditioning. About this time of year, I started sleeping on the floor of my bedroom because it was cooler than lying in bed. Not comfortable, but cooler. When my younger sister, Patty moved in with me, I envied her ability sleep in her bed despite the heat. There were many things about both of my sisters that I envied. For one thing, both were blessed with beautiful, true blonde hair. I was stuck with Dad's dirty dishwater blonde color. Not only did Patty have golden hair, but she got Mom's curls as well. When she was a baby, her hair fell into natural golden ringlets that encircled her cherubic, smiling little kisser. ARGH! On the other hand, Janet was blessed with great facial bones AND truly blonde hair. She also got Mom's petite stature. Being the youngest and so darned cute, she had Dad wrapped around her little finger in no time flat. When she was 4 or 5 he brought her an adorable, embroidered dress with matching apron from Sachs Fifth Avenue -- in NYC no less! [Obviously, I don't shop at Saks!] On the other hand, Mom made most of my little girl dresses. I remember one, particularly glamorous one. It was navy blue organza -- a sheer, stiff fabric. In those days, fashionable little girls' dresses were smocked. [For those too young to know about smocking, it was a hand-sewn design of tiny tucks and decorative stitches on a dress bodice.] Mom was a real pro at smocking. I just wish she had saved some of her creations. Like her maternity clothes, my dresses were passed along to friends to be recycled over and over again. By the time my younger sisters came long, styles had changed, so they didn't have a chance to wear Mom's smocked dresses. Besides, they had already been outgrown by me and friends' daughters and passed along yet again. I sometimes wonder what happened to all my lovely dresses. I hope their subsequent wearers appreciated them as much as I did. The picture is the only one I've found of me wearing one of Mom's creations. That's my very young looking Dad on whose lap I'm perched.


Mark said...

What a great photo, and great memories. I too remember those August nights outside Phila in our house with no AC. Sleeping on the floor was cooler.
A few years later, my parents bedroom had a window unit, and on rare occations, we were allowed to crash on their floor. I remember it feeling like an ice box in there....soooo good.
Its nice you have that pic of you on your dads lap.

Foilwoman said...

Smocking! My Mormor (mother's mother) used to make smocked dresses for my sisters and me (three of a kind) and I still have some that my daughters have worn (not often though, as they are rather hard on clothes). I like to sew and knit and have never mastered smocking. Alas. Great picture.

dcpeg said...

Mark: I often wished my parents would get a window AC, but even if they had, we wouldn't be allowed to sleep in their room -- it was sacred ground! ;-)

Foilwoman: So glad you knew what I was talking about. I even had slings to match my smocked dresses when I broke my wrist at age 4. I was quite the fashion horse in junior kindergarten! LOL