Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/934864

Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 31, 2014

Rain bonnets, pocketbooks and overshoes

By Linda Wenger | Dec 07, 2012

I’m learning the hard way that people sometimes have to do things that may embarrass them.

When I was young and more calloused, usually out of ignorance, I used to feel embarrassed for people who were embarrassing themselves. The most vivid memory at the moment was of older and old women who used to wear pleated rain bonnets over their bouffant hairdos. I haven’t seen one for years. Women kept them in their pocketbooks. They were quite portable. Made of clear plastic, as if the darn transparent things wouldn’t be noticed, they were pleated so a woman could close them up into small items easily carried in a pocketbook.

Pocketbook is an old-fashioned word for purse. That I know this probably reveals my age. Pocketbooks had short handles that were worn on a wrist. They had a closing mechanism that made a satisfying secure clicking sound when a woman closed her pocketbook. Pocketbooks were small, especially compared to the size of totes used by women these days. My husband refers to my tote bag as a suitcase. Women used to embarrass themselves by using pocketbooks long after they fell out of fashion.

That reminds me of the ugly rubber boots that men and women wore over their shoes decades ago. They were appropriately called overshoes, in fact. I’ll never forget seeing my grandmother’s rain boots that zipped up to the top of her ankle. A ruff of fake fur was supposed to make them look pretty.

Of course, my parents made me wear overshoes in the winter especially. The overshoes young girls wore to school were nearly knee high. The tops snapped one’s legs and rubbed the skin nearly raw. It took me and every other little girl longer to walk to school on the days we had to wear the boots in order to tug our knee highs up in an effort to prevent them from painfully rubbing our skin.

Which reminds me that girls had to wear dresses to school when I was young. The hiking up of knee highs was more complicated on the cold winter days because girls in dresses were sometimes forced to wear slacks underneath their skirts in order to keep warm.

When mini skirts entered the fashion scene in the mid 1960s, I was in junior high. I risked frostbiting my knees rather than appear unfashionable. But I was not alone in any of this.

I am now of an age when the practical is far more important than fashion. I’ve discovered that when I’m breathing in cold air, air in the 30-degree and lower range, I become short of breath. So, I am burying my chin inside my funnel-necked fleece jacket. I am sure I will be wearing a scarf, or muffler as they used to be called, around the lower part of my face while outside. I think I’m going to look ridiculous to young and more calloused youth.

But the wonderful thing is — I don’t care! That’s one of the perks of getting older — I don’t care!

In fact, I might try to find a pleated rain bonnet, a pocketbook and rubber overshoes.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.