An excerpt from Mama’s book I Remember:
Did you ever try to walk without putting your feet out in front of you? Well I remember one time I did.
When I was 12 years old we were moving from northern Missouri to a farm near Lansing, Kansas and had stopped in Kansas City to visit relatives. I wanted to go out to our old neighborhood where we lived before we move to northern Missouri, so Dad took me out to 13th and Quindaro to visit.
I was walking down the street with a girl who used to live next door to us. All at once I became very conscious of her good clothes and the holes in the toes of my shoes. I was terribly embarrassed and left as soon as I could.
Mama told me that the main reason she quit school after 8th grade (about the time of this story) was that she was embarrassed by her clothes and shoes.
Because of that story, I am especially touched when I recall the following story about my older sisters which I heard many times, even though it isn’t included in her book.
Betty Rose, Martha Lou and Jean Marie
They don’t look like washing dishes is their favorite thing to do, do they? But, the dresses they are wearing are the real reason I’m showing you this picture.
When my three older sisters were in grade school, at the beginning of each school year Mama would make each of them five dresses, sometimes out of printed feed sacks! (What a great idea by the feed sack manufacturers to put feed in sacks made of material that could be reused. Let’s not ever kid ourselves that “recycling” is a recent idea!) And she said she made a pair of underpants (she called them underpants but I picture them more like bloomers) to match each dress, with a little pocket on the side so that a hanky could be kept in it.
It was important to Mama for her girls to have new dresses for the start of school, but there was no way she and Daddy could afford all those dresses. So she lovingly made each of her daughters five dresses, with matching underpants, sometimes out of “recycled” feed sacks.
Mama and Daddy didn’t always have alot of money, especially when my older siblings were little, but they worked very hard to keep their children from feeling poor.
Their circumstances were much better by the time I came along, so I never wore shoes with holes in the toes. But, even when the others were little and times were hard, I know Mama would have done everything she could to made sure they didn’t either.