One of the greatest pleasures in my life is having a daughter. I still remember when she was born. I secretly wanted a daughter, though I would have never said it out loud! Many of you will understand how that "secret preference" thing goes. She was born in the seventies. Those of us who came of age in the crazy sixties were determined to raise our girls as strong women who would have careers and the possibility of being president and our boys as sensitive souls who knew "it's all right to cry, crying gets the sad out. (Remember "Free To Be, You and Me"?). Katie* was dressed in overalls and very, very rarely in pink frills, in hopes of creating this perfect androgynous child.
Well, as many of us learned despite our lofty thoughts, there is something to say for "boys are boys and girls are girls." When it came to clothing, I got a more of a girly girl, definitely a girl with her own sense of style. Too quickly, her clothing decisions were made by her. Her favorite early outfits were old flower girl outfits we bought at rummage sales ("No, Katie, you can't wear that flower girl outfit to kindergarten.")
When Katie became a teen, we gave her a clothing allowance, trying not to produce a Spoiled Only Child (also known as an "S.O.C."). We carefully figured out what she would need for coats and boots and summer and winter clothes and gave her a rather small amount. Well, my daughter discovered Estate Sales. I should say, we discovered Estate Sales. She quickly learned that she could get a really outstanding original outfit for a fraction of what she paid at the mall and thriftily gain a very large wardrobe. I will never forget the day she got three cashmere cardigans, beautifully embroidered and embellished, for a dollar each Thus began a lifetime of fun for both of us. Katie, being slim like the Reaney side of the family, could fit into many of these old treasures. Me, being on the chunky side, like the Gillis side of the family, could get a strange vicarious pleasure out of watching my daughter look so pretty in these vintage fashions. I started to call this "dressing my doll."
When we were in South Dakota, Jud, his sisters and mom, went through some of his their old family belongings. Katie and I headed for the antique stores, of which there are many. At the Yankton Mall, Katie found this darling rayon dress. It fit her like it was made for her and I not only enjoyed seeing her look so cute but also wanted to take pictures of her. So we came home and I made her try it on once again.
"Oh, dear. Not that come-hither look!" (You are, after all, only thirty-one!).
"OK. Look sweet!"
"Ah, yes. Good shot." What a cute dress. Perfect shape. Great detail. Darling peplum waist that is a little hard to see and a black mesh insert at the neck. Twenty dollars! She can wear it to work! (Yes, she is intelligent and capable, too!)
This old pattern is so adorable. Roses and love letters!
Sigh. It is such a pleasure being the mother of a daughter!
* Katie is "Kat" now. The Kat in Katsui. One of my favorite adults. But as hard as I try, she will always be Katie to me!