Wednesday, November 16, 2005

When girls had hope chests

The date on my "Wonder Art Needlework Free Instruction Catalog Fall Season" is 1952, and this dresser scarf, embroidered by my oldest sister is pictured in it, as No. F599-52 "Priscilla". I would have been about 12 years old and she was 16, and preparing her "hope chest." That's what young ladies did in the 1950s. I think it was a custom going out of style, and was not taken seriously like an earlier era, because table linens, guest towels, doilies and dresser scarves were readily available in the stores, even in our little town. But because she was doing it, I started embroidering too, because I wanted to be grown up too. My dresser scarf, stitched about the same time and stored in the same bag (yard sale rejects) has very colorful parakeets. Neither of us finished our scarves, and I've tried several times to sell them in yard sales along with other embroidery items, like Coats & Clark's six strand floss labeled 5 cents. Often the 50 year old catalogs and accessories go for more than the actual pieces, but no one wanted these and they went back into the box, back into the basement. Her stitches are dainty and even.

Boy, do they smell ripe! Too many years in storage.

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