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Monday, August 10, 2020

Fashions Come, Fashions Go

True story: I decorated the first house I rented on my own with chicken decor. My landlord indulged me (although I didn't wallpaper so there was no lasting damage to the place). I've watched the wallpaper fad come and go and that stuff is tedious to apply and even more tedious to remove. Fads come & go. And yes, I've raised chickens, cleaned the chicken coop (a nasty, dusty job), slaughtered chickens, gathered eggs, sold eggs, processed chicken, taken my chickens to the fair at two southwest North Dakota counties, and watched my beloved Mama Crook wring a chicken's neck in a flash. I like to eat chicken despite this. Wise friends say this all might be a good idea why one shouldn't name something one is going to eat. (Never did name the chickens that I can recall.) To this day, I'm an omnivore, but I did cry when the calves I'd bottle-raised died. E.B. White, I blame you and your book Charlotte's Web. I was a little girl and I also was beginning to understand that the death of the farm animals had an economic impact on my clan. And, yes, I embrace that knowledge about the best diet for humans evolves and that people are free to choose not to eat meat. I don't judge that -- or at least I try to not judge that. And, yes, I was very sad when our dog died last winter, but life moved on. Humans have a timeless link to the animals in the food chain and to their pets or service animals or hunting companions. Better writers than me with more time than I have today have thought about this and written about this for a good long while. (I have as a mother tried to get my children to eat vegetables all of their lives -- some days it works, some days it doesn't. Tastes change.)

Back to today: 

What was I thinking when I bought this hat? My trusted brother's (he, my almost twin in life's journey) acerbic and a jestful comment was "Is Hogwarts reopening?" Too many closets in Red Oak House might be the conclusion of today. Meanwhile, the hat might come in handy for some future event -- say the next "Womens' March" -- in this the time when many are remembering that women have only held the right to vote a very brief time in the history of the world.

Truth is I bought pictured hat (photo below by Jim Fuglie) for a "ball" held in the Medora Community Center to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt's arrival there from the east coast, on the train. I was on a date. There were some creative and even weird costumes worn at that event and some new friendships formed. I remember the woman who was at that time the Foundation Director for the State Historical Society of North Dakota wearing a huge black hat with a very large (and dead) black Corvid perched on the top. You can look all this up yourself. True story: I bought a wig for the event. Later I donated the dresses and the wig to the Dickinson State University costume department.

How hats such as these remain perched on the head is another story of perseverance and fashion history. Here's one good one: 8 World Famous Historical Hats

Hatpins were not only handy for keeping hat on the head but also (for starters) poking any number of things, including someone who might be invading personal space or bursting someone's bubble. Aside: can you tell that Alice Roosevelt Longworth is one of my many heroines? 

I'm a suffragette because I was raised by women who lived these realities and deeply influenced by people who have a visceral understanding of what this meant in their lives.

I like to wear a hat to keep my head warm, my hair off my face in the wind, and ....all the reasons humans wear hats. Unisex hats are my preference. And I get very irritated that "women's" clothing is more expensive in many cases than "men's" clothing and when someone's hat blocks my view for an event for which I bought a ticket with my hard-earned money. We are on to that fashion industry! Unisex clothing for the 21st century! 

Call this a screed if you wish but remember, this is my blog and you don't have to read it. But I do recommend some reading & viewing pleasure below for enlightenment. What is considered good is in the eye of the beholder. 

Watch "The Vote" by American Experience on PBS

Sweatpants Forever

I'll close with a couple of photos I took when I visited the United Kingdom last year at this time with my Google Pixel camera. All photo credits go to me. See if you can detect a theme in this random series of photos. 

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