Treasures from My Mother’s Basement

I may have mentioned that recently I spent 5 days cleaning and organizing my mother’s basement. It’s one of those crusty basements that hold lots of mystery and treasure from 97 years of living. I do believe I found every roller shade that had ever been used on a window. All the moving boxes, neatly labeled and stacked for the next move, were folded and stored from 42 years ago. 1 million tea cups from both grandmothers were found. There were some wonderful treasures that I brought home. Costume jewelry from my Grandma Mabel. A beautiful liquor set my parents bought at auction. The bottle of perfume that I always thought was so elegant on my mother’s bureau.

grandma's pile of sparkly jewelrymy grandmas cameo earringspurple-liqueur-set

Madame Rochas Perfume

Being 14 in 1976

When I was a child I argued with my mother everyday about clothing. My memory is of never being happy with my appearance or comfortable in my own skin. My poor mother struggled to help me find outfits I could like and hair styles I could be happy about. She would allow me to select sewing patterns and fabric and would sew me beautiful pieces of which I wore almost none. She, I am sure, longed for me to just get dressed each morning. It was never easy. When I was in the 8th grade she put me on a clothing restriction. No new clothing for one year. I remember that I had one outfit to wear to church on Sundays. I can’t remember the everyday stuff. At the end of that summer I spent some time with my grandmother. I arrived at her house feeling very awkward and unattractive. She worked her magic on me and took me to get my hair cut. There is a photograph of me in her backyard wearing that same Sunday outfit but I look great! I felt great, too. My mother sewed up a storm before school started that fall and I had a number of really snazzy things to wear to high school (remember gauchos with matching vests?). I finally experienced some measure of confidence in my appearance.

awkward 13 year old from 1976

After spending a week with my grammie

I do believe if you were to look in my closet and drawers today you might find clothing very similar to these. Mercy! I hope I stand up straighter than this now.makeover in 1976

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