Mary Is Growing Up 1905-1917


Mary was growing up. She was beginning to formulate her own sense of values and expectations--influenced not only by her family but by her friends as well. Several of her friends were from families with a higher income and few children.

Mary knew the financial limitations of our family and did extraordinarily well in adjusting but there were times when I felt sorry for her. In those days our underwear were made by either Ma or Grandma from bleached muslin feed or flour bags. They were functional but not pretty. Mary made her own underwear and spent hours (late at night) embroidering and crocheting lace on the edges. It was these additions that made her Mother Hubbard underwear special. At times I too was anxious to learn how to crochet, so that I might do the same.

A1l young ladies need clothes and Mary was no exception. She wasn't satisfied with the sameness of the clothes created by Ma all from the same pattern. She found she could make blouses from our older brothers shirts. Periodically, and only after much deliberation my mother would purchase material from the traveling hucksters (stores on wheels). From these remnants Mary learned to make skirts. These hand made clothes had to compete with the store bought clothes of her two best friends Della and Sara Vee. Sara was 16 and two years older than Della who was the same age as Mary. I'm sure Mary felt like an orphan (as I did) when we were with them. Our homemade dresses and boys' shoes compared very poorly with their store bought creations. Much to our dismay, all our girls had to wear boys shoes since it was our parents decision that they would last longer.

But Mary had an air about her. She was good looking and always meticulously clean and well groomed. She had long auburn hair which she wore in a long braid. She was bright, sensible, and liked by all.