Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis

My Grandma never wore pants

Turns out it is spring break for Seattle schools and that's why everything is relatively people-free. Since getting home from the pool was not going to be a problem anyway, I decided to go to the big Safeway (which takes longer to get to) where I scored on several items that I was hoping they had (that the other Safeway doesn't) - like already sliced radishes and way better cheese selection and other good stuff. And then, I remembered to get gas! AND there's a Safeway gas right there. So I got cheap gas as I had built up Safeway gas point. I was proud.

As I was getting into my car, I watched a Mom and her probably 8 year old daughter get out of theirs and head into the store. The Mom was a regular looking Mom in jeans and I was struck, once again, by how very different the world of people born in this century is from the world I grew up in. I was in my 40s before I ever saw my own Mom in jeans.

Oh she wasn't a fancy dresser. She wore shorts and, most humiliating for me, she wore a lot of tennis dresses. She played tennis every single day except when it snowed. (She had been Oklahoma State Champion in college and played until her knees finally turned on her at age 75.) And this was when tennis = white and there was NO NO NO variation (lord, I do remember the outrage and vitriol when tennis players added colored trim to the white pants under their white dresses). She always had on those really embarrassing tennis dresses as she dropped me off here and there which was bad enough but sometimes she even came into school to bring me something on the way to the courts and everyone saw her. OMG (we didn't have OMG back then but we sure should have).

When she wasn't wearing shorts or those tennis dresses, she wore what were called house dresses. She always word a dress to the grocery and a fancier dress and stockings to do other shopping. I remember when Winston-Salem got its first shopping center. She was gleeful and explained "Now I can go buy thread or even bread in my Bermuda shorts!!!" Long after I left home, she got a pair of jeans. And wore them pretty regularly and it always seemed incongruous to me.

Both my grandmothers lived until I was an adult. I never ever saw either of them in pants of any kind - short or long - and would have been shocked if I had. Even as I type this right now, I try to add tasteful, tailored nice looking pants to my memory of how they looked and it just won't work.

When I went to college in 1967, girls were not allowed to wear pants except on weekends. That changed, I think, by at least my junior year or maybe even sophomore. But still, even then jeans were still not yet as unremarkable and common.

Different times, different styles. Funny to think that people approaching middle age today won't have any memory of them. And I'm guessing my Mom thought the same thing about her century. I am not sorry I don't have first hand memory of that dust bowl!
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