Dig the Threads

1970 was an ugly time to be too young to control your own wardrobe.

That's me in the white shirt. Although the striped pants are ghastly, I am positively stylish compared to the two in plaid. They both seem to have a problem with hem length - perhaps they should trade.

I'm not sure why I am posting these pics. I guess it is some sort of tribute to my grandmother. These pics and many hundreds of others were all in her collection. When she died this past summer, many of the boxes from her home In North Carolina came to live at my mother's place in California. During the Christmas break my sister and I were supposed to go through them and sort the wheat from the chaff, but we didn't get very far. Mixed in with the bric-a-brac of nearly 90 years of living we found countless envelopes and boxes and bundles of photos. They brought the sorting to a halt, and we just burned the afternoon in a binge of remembrance.

Many were ancient black and whites from World War II, when Nanny served with the WACs. She always complained that she never got to go overseas during the war. Grandpa Bill got to go to France, and she was really jealous, as she badly wanted to see Europe. Instead, she took a lot of pictures of her duty station in Desmoines, Iowa. There was even one of her sunbathing on base - she was probably about 25 at the time. In all the pics from that era she has dark hair, and her own teeth; it was sort of startling to us, as her hair had passed into a platinum white and she wore dentures for as long as my sister and I can remember.

There were pictures of my grandfather also, earnest and handsome in his uniform. I can see why Nanny fell for him; he was attractive, but in a decent, dependable sort of way. He died when my mother was only 13. The look on his face makes it clear that no one was more shocked by his early departure from this plane than he was.

Their wedding photos were in there as well. She loved to tell the story of how her commanding officer had purchased her wedding dress for her. The pics were very tattered and worn - I figure that Nanny must have looked at them often during the 40+ years that she was a widow.

She fervently believed in heaven. The simple sort of heaven where you get to walk the streets of gold with everyone you ever loved who went on ahead. She knew in her heart that Grandpa Bill would be waiting there for her, and they would be young and happy and together forever. The wedding photos of the two of them, embarking on the marriage journey with their heads held high is sort of like a glimpse into that heaven. He's there, looking sharp in his uniform, and she is dark-haired and 25 again. I hope he gets to show her around Europe.


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