Secrets of My Blue Madras Dress

Did you wear a madras dress? Did it bleed?

Popular in the USA in the 1960s this cool summer fabric originated in Madras, India. Loosely woven cotton threads created a plaid patchwork of soft fabric that didn’t cling to the body during sweltering summer days. Some madras was made with dyes that “ran” when the fabric was washed, creating a trendy washed-out look, known as bleeding madras, according to this article in the Chicago Tribune.

I bought into the fad then with a blue madras dress, smocked, sleeveless and zippered down the back. With no cinched belt, the dress felt light and airy – cool. After it was no longer in vogue and looked worn, I used it for home painting jobs.

BlueMadrasDress

Before we move into our next home, we want to do some interior painting. Whether I will wield the brush or ask/hire someone else to do the job remains to be seen.

Soon the paint-spattered madras dress will fade into history. I will recycle it.

* * *

The Secret: 

In July 1992 daughter Crista took a time-delay shot of herself wearing my blue madras dress to complete an assignment for her Photography 101 course. “Make sure you are in the picture,” the professor had said. So, with a 35 mm camera poised on a tripod, she snapped a black and white self-portrait in our back yard. Obviously, she didn’t need my assistance, and I didn’t know about the photo until she had it developed in the photo lab dark-room. A selfie before the era of smart phone selfies.

I made one of the prints into a book mark shown here. On the reverse side, I printed a verse from III John 1:4  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. ~ Dorothea Lange
Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.   ~ Dorothea Lange

 

It’s no secret that I have paraded a lot of (treasured) stuff on the pages of these posts, evidence that I keep things. With a move imminent, I’m in the mood now though to discard, digitize, or recycle.

When it comes to STUFF, are you a hoarder or a “throw-away-er”? Maybe you fit a different category? Do you have a dress with secrets?

 

Your opinions are always welcome here. So are your stories.

Thank you!

 

Coming next: Paring Down and Tidying Up

 

Help! Vintage Photo Needs Caption, II

Every week, The New Yorker magazine features a Cartoon Caption Contest, inviting readers to submit a caption for consideration. After three finalists are chosen, readers vote for the winning caption. You can view my first attempt at a similiar contest here on this blog with family members on a Sunday outing.

When we sorted through our mother’s things after her passing, I found a large photo likely from the 1970s taken by Ken Smith Photographs from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. The photographer snapped my Grandma Fannie Longenecker with bonnet and neck scarf and my dad, facing her away from the camera. Apparently they are in line at a breakfast buffet likely at a farm equipment convention. Others in the line are unknown. All seem intent on filling their plates, some more than others.

DaddyGrandmaBusBreakfast1970

“What was going on here?” I ask. Everyone in the photograph registers a similar band-width on the emotional scale, except for the couple on the left.

This photo begs a caption.

* * *

What’s going on here?

  • Invent a caption.
  • Guess at the scarario.
  • Supply a two-line dialogue between the couple on the left.
  • Imagine the photographer’s motive.
  • Reminisce about an awkward moment you recall.

O, wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us / To see oursels as others’ see us!      “To a Louse”  

Robert Burns 1786

    (On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church)

 


Coming next: Moments of Extreme Emotion: Where’s My Spyglass?

Memorial Day Snaps: A Truck and a Quilt

Catchy caption needed. Your suggestions please!

Just as every issue of The New Yorker features a cartoon in need of a caption, today’s post offers a photo calling for your input. There’s one below to get your wheels turning, but I think there are other possibilities.

Even eighteen wheelers have patriotic ties.
Even eighteen wheelers have patriotic ties.

 

The back story: This photo was taken in 2005 when Cliff was in the Chicago area doing his art/music shows. Most likely our son Joel, who was in graduate school in the city at the time, was driving as Cliff snapped the picture of this truck on the Interstate.

*  *  *

Carl Stoneseifer was one of my dad’s best employees at Longenecker Farm Supply in Rheems, PA. He was both personable and competent, as my dad would say, a “crack” mechanic. I remember how sad Daddy felt when Carl moved on.

His wife Helen was a talented quilter. On May 20, 1976 Helen’s picture and write-up appeared in our hometown newspaper, The Elizabethtown Chronicle. The quilt, in honor of the American bicentennial, was a cooperative effort by her sister, her daughter-in-law, and another friend. However, the designs featuring various patriotic symbols were her own.

1976_0520_The Chronicle_Elizabethtown_Bicentennial Quilt

Memorial Day is a time to remember all those who sacrificed for our country. This weekend also heralds the first official holiday weekend of summer.

How do you observe it?

Can you provide a caption for the photo? I’m excited to see your suggestions!

Coming next: Purple Passages: Secrets of the Grimké House, Charleston