While I spend much of the year these days in Florida, I haven’t forgotten those cumbersome, itchy winter clothes of the past.
In my arsenal of winterwear photos, the earliest ones are of my mother as a little girl. There’s no date on them; however, Mom was born in 1909 and looks about 5, so you get the vintage. But they ARE labeled in my mom’s customary style. Scrawled at the bottom of the picture, in red ink, is written “Dad and Me." I swear, my mom ruined every photo of herself with that darned red pen. At least this time she didn’t write across her chest, as she frequently did!
There she stands, bundled up like a little czarina headed to the frozen tundra. Mother was my grandmother’s only living child, after losing three other children, so she wanted to make SURE this kid didn’t catch cold.
Mom is dressed in long, dark stockings, wearing a lovely fur-trimmed coat, while a fur hat hugs her head. The piece de resistance is a huge fur muff encasing her little hands. I see no boots on her feet, unneeded in an inch of snow?
Fast forward to my own winter pictures. On Dec. 23, 1948, I am holding a snow shovel and beaming at the camera in a rigged-up outfit, with too-big pants and jacket, all matted with snow. I’m thinking that’s probably the only white Christmas we had in southern Indiana and I was too young to remember it.
Mother took more formal shots in the next two years. This time, she really got serious about my attire.
As a four-year-old in January, I’m sun-blinded and not happy. I’m wearing a double-breasted winter coat with covered buttons matching the color of my dark leggings (no kin to what we know today) while my clipped mittens dangle from the coat sleeves.
My head is trapped in a hat matching my dark pants, with a fussy bow on the top, while the outfit is completed by earmuffs. No need for boots; it’s probably 50 degrees outside.
In the last photo, dated Dec. 31, 1950, I look much happier. Maybe it’s the snappy, black velvet trimmed coat, with matching checked pants and hat. Or maybe because this coat looks lighter by at least 20 pounds.
Sometimes I wonder how I and thousands of Old Schoolers like me, ever managed to waddle around in that heavy garb.