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Aunty Ethel’s skirt

 

 

 

I was dressed in Aunty
Ethel’s wine colored corduroy skirt. It was long, way too long
for me really it came right down over my gumboots. The skirt was a
hand me down and I loved it. Aunty Ethel lived in Auckland city and we
lived on a farm. I believed that any clothing that had been bought in
a shop was important. Our Mum made all our clothes, everything, every
single thing apart from our bloomers and singlets. Even my
brother’s trousers she made and carefully lined them with flour
bag material. If you turned John’s pants inside out you would
see the red brand stamp of where the flour had come from.

 

 

My younger sister Clare and I
were always dressed alike. Every summer and every winter we had two
new dresses each. They would be identical. Both cut from the same
piece of material. Mum said it was the best way to do it, the most
economical; she could get two dresses made with less fabric that way.
This was a common practice in 1950’s New Zealand. Sisters were
always dressed alike. In our house Mum even made both dresses at the
same time. I don’t remember ever having my new dress finished
first before Clare’s, or vice a versa.

 

Usually any hand me downs that
Aunty Ethel sent to us were cut up by Mum and transformed into clothes
more suitable for children on a farm. Somehow the skirt had escaped
this treatment and I now possessed it intact. It even still had the
label sewn into the back of the waist band that said “La Femme
Fashions “

 

The fact that it was far too
big, so I had to use a safety pin to hold it on my skinny frame and so
long it would get tangled between my legs when I ran, didn’t
matter one bit to me. In fact I quite liked holding it up in front
when I was running and I was always running, because then it billowed
out a bit at the back which I was sure made me look very grand. Aunty
Ethel’s skirt that once she must have worn going into the city
riding on the tram was now mine.  

 

This day I was wearing the
skirt and I was chasing sheep along the road to the shearing shed. I
was happy, wearing that skirt made me feel I was all grown up, perhaps
I even looked like a town girl and I forgot I was trailing along
behind a mob of dirty sheep. Then I heard someone laughing at me.
Right in front of me was a strange car full of people. It wasn’t
anyone from our valley, I knew everyone who lived in Ahuroa. They were
probably people from town. As these thoughts scrambled through my head
the man wound down the driver’s window

 “Where, DID you
come from  ?” he said as he drove his car past me.

Jilleen,


I LOVED this piece!  Do you still live in New Zealand?   Please write more about your time in New Zealand.   You bring me right to your front door with how you express yourself.  I'm there with you on the farm.  I'm running beside you with the sheep and wishing I had a wine colored corduroy skirt too.  I'm jealous...of your skirt and of the way your write!!!  Tell me more!!


Jan

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re: Aunty Ethel's Skirt

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Aunty Ethel’s skirt

 

 

 

I was dressed in Aunty
Ethel’s wine colored corduroy skirt. It was long, way too long
for me really it came right down over my gumboots. The skirt was a
hand me down and I loved it. Aunty Ethel lived in Auckland city and we
lived on a farm. I believed that any clothing that had been bought in
a shop was important. Our Mum made all our clothes, everything, every
single thing apart from our bloomers and singlets. Even my
brother’s trousers she made and carefully lined them with flour
bag material. If you turned John’s pants inside out you would
see the red brand stamp of where the flour had come from.

 

 

My younger sister Clare and I
were always dressed alike. Every summer and every winter we had two
new dresses each. They would be identical. Both cut from the same
piece of material. Mum said it was the best way to do it, the most
economical; she could get two dresses made with less fabric that way.
This was a common practice in 1950’s New Zealand. Sisters were
always dressed alike. In our house Mum even made both dresses at the
same time. I don’t remember ever having my new dress finished
first before Clare’s, or vice a versa.

 

Usually any hand me downs that
Aunty Ethel sent to us were cut up by Mum and transformed into clothes
more suitable for children on a farm. Somehow the skirt had escaped
this treatment and I now possessed it intact. It even still had the
label sewn into the back of the waist band that said “La Femme
Fashions “

 

The fact that it was far too
big, so I had to use a safety pin to hold it on my skinny frame and so
long it would get tangled between my legs when I ran, didn’t
matter one bit to me. In fact I quite liked holding it up in front
when I was running and I was always running, because then it billowed
out a bit at the back which I was sure made me look very grand. Aunty
Ethel’s skirt that once she must have worn going into the city
riding on the tram was now mine.  

 

This day I was wearing the
skirt and I was chasing sheep along the road to the shearing shed. I
was happy, wearing that skirt made me feel I was all grown up, perhaps
I even looked like a town girl and I forgot I was trailing along
behind a mob of dirty sheep. Then I heard someone laughing at me.
Right in front of me was a strange car full of people. It wasn’t
anyone from our valley, I knew everyone who lived in Ahuroa. They were
probably people from town. As these thoughts scrambled through my head
the man wound down the driver’s window

 “Where, DID you
come from  ?” he said as he drove his car past me.



You awakened my
mind and I could see you chase the sheep in Aunty Ethel's
skirt.  Well done!!!!!




Nikki 

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  Hello Rocky MountainGirl


I like your photo ...it matches your title.! I'm glad I could
give you a giggle. I have flown over your mountains many times
going back and forth to New Zealand, but I have not yet had the
pleasure of seeing them up close and personal......I intend to do
so one day....to see a wild bear, a wolf, a buffalo and maybe a
moose..though I'm not certain if they are in your region or
not?...all dreams of mine. I love the wild natural world. Living here
near Washington DC for the past couple of years I have appreciated the
birdlife ...I'm a feeder addict. The chipmunk and squirrel populations
have trebled as well....Rick, my husband says...they can get anything
they want at Jilly's restaurant.......


  You could definitely see the bear, the buffalo and the moose
if you visit Colorado but I'm not sure about the wolf. Although, there
are stories in my journals about my experience with wolves in the
Rockies. Come to think of it I'll have to post the story about my
close encounter with a black bear too. Your chipmunk and squirrel
friends sound so harmless! 

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Hello Jileen,  This
was so perfect, I wonder how many of us had the same cut form
the same material.  I do believe it was common practice in
the 1950's USA as well.  As sisters' we  enjoyed
wearing the same and loved it when people would ask if we were
twins.  Your memiors of you and your store bought "La
Femme Fashions" skirt I am sure brought back wonderful
memories for each of us.  You not only painted the picture,
you used very vivid colors as well.  I thank you for your
words and the wonderful bright picture.   Your Friend....RaeDi


  Hello Rae


Thank you for your comments.......gosh you must have been a better
match with your sister than I was with mine....I didnt like anyone
thinking we were twins...though we do look alike...I always thought
she was the pretty one....she had nice blonde hair  and mine
was  gingery brown. Once not long ago we talked about these
things and Clare said she always thought I was the smart one......that
was because I read every thing I could lay my hands on...I said "
Oh God was I a Smart Alec ?"....and she said no, but you just
knew EVERYTHING. !........sisters.

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Wonderful story, I can just picture it. Thanks for the giggle
this morning! 


  Hello Rocky MountainGirl


I like your photo ...it matches your title.! I'm glad I could
give you a giggle. I have flown over your mountains many times
going back and forth to New Zealand, but I have not yet had the
pleasure of seeing them up close and personal......I intend to do
so one day....to see a wild bear, a wolf, a buffalo and maybe a
moose..though I'm not certain if they are in your region or
not?...all dreams of mine. I love the wild natural world. Living here
near Washington DC for the past couple of years I have appreciated the
birdlife ...I'm a feeder addict. The chipmunk and squirrel populations
have trebled as well....Rick, my husband says...they can get anything
they want at Jilly's restaurant.......

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re: Aunty Ethel's Skirt

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Message 6 of 15
In Response to Aunty Ethel's Skirt
:

  


Aunty Ethel’s skirt

 

 

 

I was dressed in Aunty
Ethel’s wine colored corduroy skirt. It was long, way too long
for me really it came right down over my gumboots. The skirt was a
hand me down and I loved it. Aunty Ethel lived in Auckland city and we
lived on a farm. I believed that any clothing that had been bought in
a shop was important. Our Mum made all our clothes, everything, every
single thing apart from our bloomers and singlets. Even my
brother’s trousers she made and carefully lined them with flour
bag material. If you turned John’s pants inside out you would
see the red brand stamp of where the flour had come from.

 

 

My younger sister Clare and I
were always dressed alike. Every summer and every winter we had two
new dresses each. They would be identical. Both cut from the same
piece of material. Mum said it was the best way to do it, the most
economical; she could get two dresses made with less fabric that way.
This was a common practice in 1950’s New Zealand. Sisters were
always dressed alike. In our house Mum even made both dresses at the
same time. I don’t remember ever having my new dress finished
first before Clare’s, or vice a versa.

 

Usually any hand me downs that
Aunty Ethel sent to us were cut up by Mum and transformed into clothes
more suitable for children on a farm. Somehow the skirt had escaped
this treatment and I now possessed it intact. It even still had the
label sewn into the back of the waist band that said “La Femme
Fashions “

 

The fact that it was far too
big, so I had to use a safety pin to hold it on my skinny frame and so
long it would get tangled between my legs when I ran, didn’t
matter one bit to me. In fact I quite liked holding it up in front
when I was running and I was always running, because then it billowed
out a bit at the back which I was sure made me look very grand. Aunty
Ethel’s skirt that once she must have worn going into the city
riding on the tram was now mine.  

 

This day I was wearing the
skirt and I was chasing sheep along the road to the shearing shed. I
was happy, wearing that skirt made me feel I was all grown up, perhaps
I even looked like a town girl and I forgot I was trailing along
behind a mob of dirty sheep. Then I heard someone laughing at me.
Right in front of me was a strange car full of people. It wasn’t
anyone from our valley, I knew everyone who lived in Ahuroa. They were
probably people from town. As these thoughts scrambled through my head
the man wound down the driver’s window

 “Where, DID you
come from  ?” he said as he drove his car past me.

 

Hello Jileen,  This
was so perfect, I wonder how many of us had the same cut form
the same material.  I do believe it was common practice in
the 1950's USA as well.  As sisters' we  enjoyed
wearing the same and loved it when people would ask if we were
twins.  Your memiors of you and your store bought "La
Femme Fashions" skirt I am sure brought back wonderful
memories for each of us.  You not only painted the picture,
you used very vivid colors as well.  I thank you for your
words and the wonderful bright picture.   Your Friend....RaeDi

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re: Aunty Ethel's Skirt

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Message 7 of 15
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Lovely story!  Very
good side with my morning coffee.  I understand that little
girl very well, and would have thought you were
lovely.  My mom made my clothes as well, but they always
had a big sash on them tied in a bow.  The boys loved
grabbing that sash at recess, causing the lovely bow to be a horse
halter and calling "whoa mule" pretending I was
their horse.  I eventually ended up with one torn off, but we
had fun.


 




Sasebone


  Thank you for your comment  ..I know those ties at the
back only too well.....and what boys liked to do to them !

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Message 8 of 15
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  As a fellow wearer of  just alike sister dresses and hand
downs I can identify with this.  I had an older sister who liked
it alot less then I did. Plus, I had her hand downs as well.


  Thank you for your comment......I was the older sister.....I
understnad about the younger getting the extra hand me
downs.......luckiy my sister didnt have many of mine...I wrecked most
of my clothes, being a bit of a Tom Boy..... 

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 I love this. you were at the
AARP convention, weren't you? This is really great, it gives us such
a flavor of your life, those times, and a different world from
mine--except the similarities, your being certain the skirt
billowing out behind made you look very grand. I've had those
wonderful illusions of glamour. (I remember going to Europe once ina
blue velvet cape my grandmother made for me, and feeling quite the
thing until somebody reached over and tucked back in my collar the
tag that had my name and address in case I got lost.) Ah,
that was back in the day when we got dressed up to go on a plane...



I love the detail in the second
sentence that the skirt was so long it came down over your gumboots.
That certainly sets the stage. What a good time you must have had,
the town folk notwithstanding.



Thank you for this.


  Dear Abigail


Yes I was at the AARP convention I came there to listen to you !
Having the chance to have you coment on this little exercise was a
fantastic bonus ...thank you. I had read Thinking About
Memoir....about 6 times in a week...and was busy doing the prompts to
keep myself motivated as I have been trying to put together a Memoir
of my childhood for some time. I also ran out a nd bought Three Dog
Life and now I have Safekeeping on order at Borders. I really
like the way you disregard the chronolgy thing....oh my.... a real
writer who thinks like me .... maybe I'm not too far off the
planet afterall ! 


I have also struggled with that stupid ..NOT ENTITLED thing...not
worthy because at 17  did  have an amazing opportunity as a
journalist and I ruined it by becoming pregnant. If I wanted to keep
my baby I had to marry and then I was a wife...not a career
girl. My mother said " You made your bed Miss and you
lie in it ."  ...


Thank you for the encouragement ....traveller in a blue cape...I
love the image.


Jilleen 


 

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Message 10 of 15
In Response to Aunty Ethel's Skirt
:

  


Aunty Ethel’s skirt

 

 

 

I was dressed in Aunty
Ethel’s wine colored corduroy skirt. It was long, way too long
for me really it came right down over my gumboots. The skirt was a
hand me down and I loved it. Aunty Ethel lived in Auckland city and we
lived on a farm. I believed that any clothing that had been bought in
a shop was important. Our Mum made all our clothes, everything, every
single thing apart from our bloomers and singlets. Even my
brother’s trousers she made and carefully lined them with flour
bag material. If you turned John’s pants inside out you would
see the red brand stamp of where the flour had come from.

 

 

My younger sister Clare and I
were always dressed alike. Every summer and every winter we had two
new dresses each. They would be identical. Both cut from the same
piece of material. Mum said it was the best way to do it, the most
economical; she could get two dresses made with less fabric that way.
This was a common practice in 1950’s New Zealand. Sisters were
always dressed alike. In our house Mum even made both dresses at the
same time. I don’t remember ever having my new dress finished
first before Clare’s, or vice a versa.

 

Usually any hand me downs that
Aunty Ethel sent to us were cut up by Mum and transformed into clothes
more suitable for children on a farm. Somehow the skirt had escaped
this treatment and I now possessed it intact. It even still had the
label sewn into the back of the waist band that said “La Femme
Fashions “

 

The fact that it was far too
big, so I had to use a safety pin to hold it on my skinny frame and so
long it would get tangled between my legs when I ran, didn’t
matter one bit to me. In fact I quite liked holding it up in front
when I was running and I was always running, because then it billowed
out a bit at the back which I was sure made me look very grand. Aunty
Ethel’s skirt that once she must have worn going into the city
riding on the tram was now mine.  

 

This day I was wearing the
skirt and I was chasing sheep along the road to the shearing shed. I
was happy, wearing that skirt made me feel I was all grown up, perhaps
I even looked like a town girl and I forgot I was trailing along
behind a mob of dirty sheep. Then I heard someone laughing at me.
Right in front of me was a strange car full of people. It wasn’t
anyone from our valley, I knew everyone who lived in Ahuroa. They were
probably people from town. As these thoughts scrambled through my head
the man wound down the driver’s window

 “Where, DID you
come from  ?” he said as he drove his car past me.

 I love this. you were at the
AARP convention, weren't you? This is really great, it gives us such
a flavor of your life, those times, and a different world from
mine--except the similarities, your being certain the skirt
billowing out behind made you look very grand. I've had those
wonderful illusions of glamour. (I remember going to Europe once ina
blue velvet cape my grandmother made for me, and feeling quite the
thing until somebody reached over and tucked back in my collar the
tag that had my name and address in case I got lost.) Ah,
that was back in the day when we got dressed up to go on a plane...



I love the detail in the second
sentence that the skirt was so long it came down over your gumboots.
That certainly sets the stage. What a good time you must have had,
the town folk notwithstanding.



Thank you for this.

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