It’s CyberMonday; the day we’re supposed to shop on-line. Since that’s the ONLY way to get copies of Tangerine Tango Women Writers Share Slices of Life , here’s your chance to be part of the national marketing craze, support a good cause, and get some perfect little gifts.
For this week’s tiny taste of Tangerine Tango, I selected excerpts from essays about parents. Though I didn’t give the writers any themes, many wrote about lessons and advice received from their mothers and fathers.
From Donna K. Barry’s “Tending: A Daughter’s Tale”
…From the time I was old enough to walk I spent my early days following Daddy around the yard. Each summer evening after supper, he’d leave the inside work behind and tend the flowers and garden. Never mind that he’d just spent all day working in someone else’s greenhouse – this was the work he loved. We’d putter in the yard together. I’d follow along while he carried buckets of water, sifted composted soil and scattered pink fertilizer around the stems of young tomato plants. I learned the names of every kind of petunia, marigold and tomato. Big Boy, Early Girl, beefsteak, and cherry tomatoes, all went into the garden behind our greenhouse. Tiny tomato sprigs that Daddy had painstakingly started in our cellar from seeds back in March were now brave little plants that grew into bushes under our care. At the end of our gardening, there would always be time for a wheelbarrow ride, then sitting in Daddy’s lap in the cool darkness of the porch until bedtime.
Today, I no longer grow tomatoes, but I have flowers. …
From my “Fashion Advice from Our Mothers”
I pulled my white skirt from the closet, thinking I better wear it now; I only have a couple more days to do so. My mother always said not to wear white after Labor Day. That got me remembering some of mom’s other fashion advice like be sure to wear clean underwear and don’t use safety pins to fix your bra (sew it!).
I thought how everyone’s mother must have done the same thing: volunteering opinions, praise, and criticism. I know I’ve done my share. I asked about 50 women of all ages and backgrounds to recall what their mothers said about fashion.
In the essay, I divided the responses into categories. Here’s what various mothers said about underwear.
“Make sure your underwear is not only clean, but not torn. Don’t want to wind up in an emergency room with shabby underwear. Don’t want to wind up in an emergency room period.”~ MOM
“Mom said “Make sure you don’t have holes in your socks when you go to the doctor.” ~ Adeena
“My Aunt Elaine always told us: Your underwear MUST match. God forbid if you get in an accident and become unconscious, you will be treated better if your underwear matches. The MD/EMTs will assume that you have insurance!”~ Robin
“Be sure your bra strap doesn’t show! Now it’s a fashion statement to show your cool, thin, colorful (or not) bra straps!” Nancy K.
“Growing up in the ’60’s my mom was thrilled if I just covered all the “important” parts and wore a bra.” ~Nancy J.
“Wear a girdle; a jiggly booty is unbecoming. If you have a sheer-ish skirt, a slip is necessary and appropriate. Something I actually still adhere to today.”~ Lisa P.
One friend offered the advice she gives her twenty-something daughters: “Always wear something sexy underneath even if no one is going to see it. You will feel fab. Wear a thong, you don’t want panty lines.”~Sharon
There’s comments about wearing stockings and condition of shoes, wearing hats, hair, patterns and styles, body shapes, and being ladylike.
From Chris Rosen’s “The Flapper,” a tribute to her mother.
Born in 1908, Gertrude Smith was a flapper. Barely 5’2” tall, her blonde hair was neatly combed into a Marcel wave ending just below her ear. She told me once or twice, that when she was young she was a “rebel.” Her ancestors were Irish coal-miners, who settled in Scranton, PA. She was widowed three times. Although I wasn’t actually raised by my birth Mother, I visited her often and eventually at the age of eleven moved into her home. I was her last child, and these are some of the things she taught me.
“Signs are for sheep.” My Mother could always find her way in, around, over or under a problem. She encouraged us to think for ourselves, never to take “No” for an answer, and to always hit back harder when faced with a bully. She did not suffer fools at all. When Nell (who was my Foster Mother) and my Mother first met as teens, she was sporting a black eye. When asked how she got it, Nell said, “Your Mother could swear like a sailor.” They didn’t know then that both women would become my mothers…