Monday, November 23, 2009

Immigrant Daugther #5

In the 8th grade we had to make our graduation dresses in sewing class on a treadle sewing machine.  I was sort of handicapped, not having my mother around to help me.  What I am about to tell you made me cry at the time but now it seems kind of funny.

One of my sisters took me to buy the material and I picked white pique.  It seemed heavy enough to take a lot of tearing out of seams because I did not like doing this without help at home.

The first instruction from the teacher was to shink the material first.  I did this and hung it on the line and it hung pretty low to the ground.  The dog we had pulled it off the line and drug it all around!  Four yards made quite a banner for him to run with and drag it on the ground.  I was crushed because there wasn't any money to buy new, and I had to go to school with damp material because it did not have enough time to dry.  After a long year of struggle making this dress, the picture above is what I looked like.  A perm in my hair helped.

I finally made it to high school and was so glad.  I knew I did not want home economics after that dress I had to make, so I chose the college course because most of my friends were in that course.  In September of 1944 we had a hurricane that uprooted the tree in front of our house.

My brother Tommy joined the Navy so we took a picture of it to send him.

In high school I played field hockey and basketball.  I guess I was in good physical shape because I was on the varsity squad in the second year of high school.  My brother, Andrew, played football and basket ball and Dad used to come and watch him play both sports.  Andy was short but wiry and played really well.  He had all the girls chasing him.

When I graduated high school my dad who was a town councileman and on the Board of Education, had the privilege of handing the seniors their diplomas.  What an honor for me!  Here is a man who taught himself to read and write in the most beautiful script penmanship, and he was my father!  Now I was the one who was proud.

The senior class spent three days in Washington D.C. and for me to go I had to borrow some of my sisters' clothes.  Oh, I had some clothes because by that time Dad was giving me a salary of $15.00 per month; and needless to say, as a girl I spent most of it on clothes.  I can remember my first pair of high-heeled shoes.  They were brown suede platform ankle straps.  I remember learning to walk in them.  I must have given everyone a good laugh watching me walk to church.  I will tell more on myself next time.

I am Immigrant Daugther.


  1. I had to laugh out loud the first time I read about the dog pulling your material of the line! Bet it wasn't funny at the time (and white!!). C

  2. Little Immigrant Daughter, Those photos of yourself are just stunning. How pretty you look. People would kill (so to speak) for legs like that. Oh I bet your dog didn't understand what would've happened to him if you caught up with him!! Waiting for the next chapter, patiently. Kind regards, Anita.

  3. When I was ten and begging to learn to sew, my mother thought her aunt's treadle machine would be a safe learning machine for me...I ran through my finger, nail and all! Needless to say, I was never too keen on machine sewing after my first dress either. :)

    I love your photos!

  4. This is fascinating. I love the pictures. I loved the story about the dog and the material.

  5. We must be close in age because my schoopl sewing class sounded just like yours. Loved the pictures, I have a few myself.

    Even though I write a lot of humerous stuff my heart is my great-grandparents who homesteaded in Washington state in the late 1800's

    Love your post


  6. I am so happy to have "discovered" your blog. Love it!

  7. I'm so thankful that StickHorseCowGirls urged us to read your blog. I will visit again & again. Thank you for all the wonderful stories. In fact I'll urge my daughters to follow you as well (SaySeeJane & Always A Photographer Never A Bride(Stanton Photography).
    Here's wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving from Nashville, Tennessee!

  8. Brilliant writing... I have loved reading every word... will check back often to see what else you have to tell us...
    Cath Ü

  9. Hello beautiful lady. I remember my 8th grade sewing experiences. My mother and grandmother were seamstresses and I naturally learned to sew early and still am sewing. I came over from C's blog and am delighted to read your story. I had bilateral knee replacements about 5 years ago and went through hell to get back on solid ground. Come over and visit with another southern girl. My ancestry is Irish and English. I see we share a love of John Grisham books. I have read them all.Welcome to Blogland.Blessings

  10. HI! Mom,

    Great stories. I love reading them.
    Keep up the writing!



  11. Oh, how funny, and sad that the dog got your material! From the photo, it looks like it turned out well! Loved reading your words. blessings,Kathleen