Thursday, May 7, 2015

Celebrating grandmothers and good friends!

Years ago I was  complaining to my Montana friend Kathy about the expectations placed upon women of our age (at the time we were in our late fifties).  We had to stay slim, show off our arm muscles and flat abs, wear cute clothes, color our hair, blah, blah, blah.
Our grandmothers, I explained, had it easy.  They let their hair go gray, wore it in permed curls, covered their expanding (and expected) girth in comfy house dresses, wore stockings up to their knees, comfy shoes and sat with their knees apart.
What was our generation doing wrong?  I wailed.  Why couldn’t we let ourselves go and not be judged?  Our grandmothers had been so smart!!!
I didn’t know my Kathy had absorbed this particular venting of mine until four years ago, when my daughter-in-law was pregnant with my first grandchild.  Kathy presented me with a gorgeous gift bag filled with…a house dress and knee-high stockings.
She admitted she bought herself one, too (at Walmart, where they are still sold) so nothing would do except to have a party and wear them.
Which we did, along with my Montana Kathi (not the same person as Montana Kathy) and my lifelong friend Ellen.  Kathi, easily the most stylish of our group, found a vintage house dress in an antique shop, but wasn’t quite sure if she wanted to be photographed in the darn thing.

We drank a lot of wine on the dock that afternoon.  We munched on gourmet appetizers, swam, laughed, told stories about our grandmothers.  And we sat with our knees apart, because our grandmothers did.
The following year we did it again, only this time we talked my friend Janou into wearing her aunt’s antique French house dress.  We even wore our grandmothers’ jewelry and brought old photos of them to share.
We drank a lot of margaritas on the dock.  And yes, there was gourmet food, swimming, stories and laughter.  We toasted the generations before us and ate dinner from my mother-in-law’s china.  And we sat with our knees apart.

The five of us are meeting for lunch here at the lake (where I am getting a head start on summer, having fled New England's nonexistent Spring) next Monday.  We will have lovely gourmet appetizers, drink wine, eat chocolate and tell stories about our grandmothers and our grandchildren.  It's a bit too chilly for house dresses, so we'll save that party for a hot August afternoon.
Happy Mother's Day to you!  What would you like your children and your grandchildren to remember about you?  And what were your best parties with your girlfriends?



23 comments:

  1. I absolutely adore this post, and the pictures!! All I can say is I have a picture of my late grandmother that looks EXACTLY like the lady in the green house dress. She sat just like that with knees apart and everything. She was the quintessential grandmother and she earned and deserved the right to wear a house dress and sit as comfortably as she wished. I'm not sure what's wrong with these current generations who expect people to stay young forever, I guess it's because they haven't experienced what it feels like to get old yet. Whatever the reason, I hope you and your friends keep up the tradition. I'd join your little party any day. ( :

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    1. If you are ever in Idaho, Laurie, bring your house dress!

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  2. What a fun post, Kristine! Thanks for the beautiful memories. My grandmothers and great-grandmothers (and Larry's, too) were just like that! Here's hoping your Thursday is wonderful!

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    1. Thanks, Loree. My grandmothers were very, very different from each other but both so important in my life.

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  3. LOL, I didn't know Walmart sold house dresses. My gramma wore them.

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    1. Yep. For about $12 you too can look gorgeous!

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  4. I loved this. What fun parties you must have!

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    1. We've been partying for 40 years together. :)

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  5. Kristine, love the post. It's really food for thought about the "good ol' days". When I grew up moms and grandmothers raised gardens, spent all day cooking it seemed, they spent hours in the hot summers canning and making jelly and jams. They wore aprons, too. Your housedresses are pretty stylish. And you guys are having way too much fun. I think that's really the difference between grandmoms today and back then---today they wear shorts, play golf and call for take-out sometimes. LOL, love it. You rock ladies.

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    1. Everyone but me has a serious garden, but I do love to can and make jam. My apron is X-rated, though. These friends of mine are world travelers and gourmet chefs, too.

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  6. I never met my mother's Mother. She died years before I was born. My dad never met her either, but he said that everyone he talked to always said she was a beautiful person. Very loving and giving. I did get to know my dad's Mother. She was a great lady, but we never got to visit much.I miss her too because she passed away on Christmas day om 2005.

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    1. I'm sorry, Gail. I hope you have pictures of both grandmothers so you can keep them close.

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  7. I loved the post, Kristine! My grandmother would have loved that I'm a writer. I still have the one and only manuscript she wrote - a romantic suspense on the cliffs above Monterey, CA.

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  8. What a wonderful, reminiscing post. Never had a grandmother but my husband's mother and all the aunts looked exactly like your photos! Except for the margaritas. lol.

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    1. Margaritas ease the embarrassment of wearing a house dress. :)

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  9. This post is a hoot! Too funny, Kristine. I never knew my paternal grandmother who died long before I was born. My grandfather remarried but I was a toddler then and don't remember much except his second wife was sweet and I loved her. My maternal grandmother died when my mom was only eight months old. Her stepmother was a career woman and a great role model. She only wore a housedress (or shorts) to work in her beautiful English-style garden. We had wonderful stay-over visits at her house where she treated me like a princess! Miss you, Grandma. How would I like to be remembered? One of my grandkids has always called me "the fun grandma." Have fun at your annual house-dress party.

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    1. There is no greater compliment than being the "fun grandma". You must have a ball with those kids!

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  10. This is a great post! It brings back many happy memories of my grandmothers. My mother-in-law however was the queen of the house dresses.
    How do I want to be remembered? I want my grandchildren not to remember me so much for what I wore as how much I loved them. I want them to remember climbing in my lap to read to them. I want them to remember making cookies with me. Mostly I want them to remember that I always had a hug for them and a kind ear.

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    1. Awww....this brought tears to my eyes. Makes me want to fly to Texas and hug my little grandson.

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  11. Your posts always make me smile, Kristine! I love it. I had one red-headed grandmother and one who went white. I have such fond memories of both of them. They were both nurses who spent much of their lives doing for others. I often wish they were here so I could ask more questions I didn't think to ask when I was younger. I wonder what they would have thought of me becoming a writer. I hope my kids stay close and I get to be an involved grandmother some day. My oldest turns 15 in a week, so I have some time (I hope!)

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    1. Thanks, Amy. Oh, the questions we would ask..... I dabble in genealogy and so wish I could have just 30 minutes with some of the ancestors!

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  12. I love this post! I think you hit the nail on the head :) I would also have to add that guys have it much easier then we do. They let themselves go so early lol. Looks like you girls had a great time!

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