Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day ushers in summer

Pendleton wool skirt
It was 81º in Columbia, Mo., home of my alma mater  on the day before Memorial Day this week.  Forty five years ago my former roommate would still be following her private winter dress code.  Jane, raised in a more southern part of Missouri than I, was schooled to wear woolens until Memorial Day. Then she could switch out her wardrobe to lighter fabrics. 

Some May days, walking the three-quarters of a mile to class from our apartment, a young lady could work up a very unfeminine sweat if she was wearing a wool plaid A-line skirt, pantyhose, and a matching wool sweater. In fact, she'd smell decidedly doggy by the end of the day.

from etsy.com
Speaking of pantyhose, they first came out about 1970.  A tall co-ed in my dorm unwrapped her first package of them in front of a group of us, assembled to see what they were.  When she pulled out the crinkled, very short twin tubes attached to elastic panties, we fell on each other laughing. We were used to old-fashioned hosiery which came in various lengths with pre-shaped calves and sculpted feet. 

Back to Jane and her wool. We tried to reason with her. It's too hot for wool! You'll get a rash! Who cares if you're wearing cotton "too soon?" Aren't you a liberated woman? She smoked against her mother's wishes, but the family fiber rule held fast. 

It's not as if we were advocating for her to wear white before Memorial Day! We weren't ill-bred. But by golly, she was going to be proper even if it made her miserable. 

Yesterday, on Memorial Day I performed my own version of the seasonal switch. I changed out winter's fuzzy, cozy flannel sheets for summer's smooth percale. 

As I remade the bed and replaced the heavy comforter for my antique crocheted bed spread I wondered if Jane had shed her winter skin too. 

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