What do you see out of your window today?


As a farm boy, my clothing was pretty limited. It consisted of one pair of shoes and some homemade trousers and shirts. Of course, for most of the time I was barefooted. I can remember having my shoes half soled, meaning no heel repair. The town cobbler did this for $0.25. My brother and I would always go together, with him paying the $0.50. My mother just didn’t trust me with money. During those early twenties, my mother made dresses for my five sisters. She would buy a large bolt of white cloth and sew and sew with that old Singer. I can remember her constantly dying clothes in a large outside vat. As they grew into the 1930’s they bought their dresses from catalogs and the mercantile store. Before entering high school I constantly wore overalls. Later I had leisure clothes with maybe two pairs of shoes. To play sports I was supplied with all clothes including knobbed football shoes. I do remember buying athletic shoes for basketball. For the next 5 years it was ROTC and the Army. Almost everything was provided for – off the base formal wear to combat boots. A couple of incidents come to mind: One. For one semester in college I had a roommate from the coal mines of West Virginia. He was on a football scholarship, but that was suspended because of war. He was not required to take ROTC for some strange reason. He had one pair of trousers which he never washed. Each night he would remove them and lay them across the seat of a chair. These trousers got dirtier, sweatier, and grimier each day. By the end of the semester they would actually stand on their own without any support. Two. After a couple of months in combat, my trousers became torn, tattered and almost ripped off of me. On one leg I had a cord tying all together. We captured the fortress of Metz where our enemy housed soldiers in underground barracks. In one dark, dingy room I found several foot lockers. Opening three I found a pair of trousers that fit me perfectly. They were made of a light brown wool cloth compared to our greenish ones, but who cared? Several months later I was wounded and was taken to a hospital in Metz. The nurse aide must have been puzzled when he removed such odd trousers and put on pajamas. My legacy to France was two old military trousers that were probably put in Metz’s land fill 68 years ago. For the 24 years I spent as an executive, I definitely had to be dressed with some form of coat and tie. I found Manhattan to be a bastion of formal wear. This wear consisted of heavy dress shoes which always had to shine and long thin dark socks held up with supporters. The trousers and coats had to be in suit form with matching neck ties. In the early fifties, starched white shirts were the order. And, of course, until early 1963 felt hats had to be worn by all men. In his inaugural address in January, 1963, Jack Kennedy did not wear a hat. We all wish to emulate our leaders. I could feel the freedom around my head. There was a revolution. The men’s hat business was dead. Of course, this was a crushing blow to Connecticut, which was the hat center of America. By the way, going back to our poor days in the twenties, there was a social world in this roaring time. Women wore skirts up to their knees. In a few years, in the heart of the Depression, those skirts dropped to below the ankle.

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 barefooted,Catalogs,felt hats,hemlines,mercantile store,overalls,Singer,suits
  Landrm, South Carolina
Jun 16 1930


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