My mother was many times the same way, although growing up she was, as she proudly proclaimed, “dirt poor”. She was the daughter of a boat corker and she grew up living in flats along with her two brothers and parents. My coming up was a bit easier, although being the daughter of a military man we didn’t have a ton- but we didn’t need it. I know I sure didn’t. We had the safety of a military base as my backyard and lived in military housing with all of the other families that had basically the same monthly household income as we did.
1970’s Style at its Finest
I distinctly remember sitting on the floor directly in front of our console tele and watching “The Price is Right” and “Wheel of Fortune” and was amazed at the pretty dresses the girls on TPIR wore. And Vanna White? She was the epitome of glamour to me in the 70’s. She never wore the same gown twice- and I still believe has continued the tradition to present day.
I also remember my mother’s house clothes. Looking back at photos, we used to laugh at the pattern and color combinations she chose. Heck, it was the 70’s after all and anything went. She was the one that had the biggest giggle of all, and she never refused to laugh at herself- one of the billions of reasons why everyone adored her.
This photo is the epitome of her house clothes. She was a quintessential house wife growing up: dinner on the table when my father came home from work and cleaning all day, everyday until her soaps came on, and only then would she take an hour or two for herself. When I was home sick (which was pretty often), she used to let me watch them with her. She often paired checks and stripes, polka dots and solids, and wrapped them into one awesome outfit. As a kid I never took notice, but again, looking back at pics we always got a hearty belly laugh at her “ensembles”.
Fast Forward to Present Day
Fast forward 35+ years to this morning. It’s cold and flu season and guess who is the only one in the family to fall ill? You guessed it. I’ve been dragging my legs around the house for three days, doing the absolute minimum to keep the house in order.
This morning I threw on a pair of pajama bottoms, grabbed a pair of socks from the drawer, and slipped my foot into my slippers. Mr. Locke had made me a cup of tea ( bless him!) and I sat on the couch feeling like death warmed up. And, with tea in hand, I looked at my feet propped up on the coffee table- and smiled.
Checks, polka dots, flowers, and fuzzy solids. I was my mother.
Smiling at the Thought
I smiled at the thought of being my mother, a woman that happily laughed at herself. And then it really hit me: she didn’t need the best of clothing and didn’t need to look like a million bucks all of the time. She had the confidence and attitude of a woman that had been raised by an affluent family and never once did she complain about what she had or didn’t have in those years that seem so long ago.
This image makes me smile more than you’ll ever know. If I can be only a teeny percent of the woman that she was, I know I’ve succeeded. If I can have her smile, her way of ensuring that all will be well for my daughter, I’ll have done my job. So, I’ll run down the steps to our mailbox in my pj bottoms, fuzzy socks, and slip-on shoes, I’ll drop The Kid off at events in sweatpants- and I’ll do it all with a smile. I know I’m not the only one. We do it for our kids and our home. I’ll do it for my Ma.
And I’ll do it proudly in checks and dots, flowers and solids.
This outfit’s for you, Ma.