Whether it’s cool or not, folks are folks

In the middle of my feelings of superiority, a parade of images from my past floated across my sight line.

During a recent warm spell, I checked out our living room window to see what folks were wearing, a reasonably reliable weather gage. Nearly all were without jackets and hats and some were in shorts and sandals. One adult stood right out and skewed my calculations. He wore a summer T-shirt, shorts, flip-flops and a woolen winter cap pulled down over his ears and forehead. I allowed myself a few private moments of sanctimoniousness, wondering why on earth anyone would want to look so foolish in public.

In the middle of my feelings of superiority, a parade of images from my past floated across my sight line. Back combed, lacquered hairdos and greasy ducktails, platform shoes, disco roller skates (the strap-on kind with ball bearings in the wheels), bell bottom pants, ponchos and, heaven help us, that poor creature known as Twiggy who was all head and stick limbs but who looked “great” in mod clothes.

Then it became personal as I slid back into the fifties. My mother was always elegantly clothed, done-up and coiffed. She put on her make-up to take out the garbage. Seriously. My friends from Jubilee Avenue were in awe of her, telling me a few too many times that she looked like a movie star. I believe she despaired of me ever becoming a lady and she pretty much nailed it. In my pre-adolescent naivety, I longed for a felt skirt, saddle shoes with fluorescent shoe laces and bobby socks.

I must explain the felt skirt, also known as a poodle skirt, named for the giant appliquéd poodle images around the hemline. These skirts were cut out in a circle so that they flared impressively when the wearer danced, particularly during an energetic jive session. No matter that I despised dancing. I have always had two left feet that behave like they belong to someone else and that I am only borrowing them.

My poor mother tried to talk me out of my longing but finally gave in. I wore my felt skirt several times but began to notice a weird phenomenon. The bias parts began to stretch and the poodles staggered drunkenly around the uneven waves of the hemline. My bemused mother would trim the stretched bits for me but soon the poodles were in mortal danger of leg amputation as some sunk slowly into the waves of bias. I can’t say what happened to the skirt but I do know I wore the shoes until winter came and that is when the next wardrobe folly emerged.

In the fifties in Winnipeg, there were bizarre regulations involving clothing for school children. We were to wear uniforms three days a week. The other two days were our own choice. Having moved the year before from the Wild West of Calgary where anything went, I found the idea very cool before it was cool to be “cool”! The girls’ uniforms consisted of a long sleeved white cotton shirt worn with cufflinks, a black tunic and sash and black tights. We were also not allowed to wear pants of any kind. This meant that when the temperature was -30f. we had to pull on ski pants over our uniforms for the walk to school. They would then be removed once we were inside. You can see the hassle of all this. The fashion statement of felt-lined leather moccasins, ski pants and jacket over a smart black and white uniform didn’t wash with many of us so we usually chose to nearly freeze to death without the ski pants etc., on our daily walk.

Oh, and I forgot to add that hats were definitely not cool in those days. By now you may imagine I’m blushing over my hasty condemnation of the fellow in the summer clothes and winter hat pulled down over his ears and you’d be right. It is a harmless quirk compared to the chances we took with serious frostbite and hypothermia. It’s a wee bit comforting to know that folks are folks no matter what the times.

Now if I can just remember whatever happened to my James Dean jacket…

 

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read