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Smelly Rebel

Keep it Real Wednesday

June 19, 2019

The Smelly Rebel

I have often wondered how my mother can recall so many stories from her childhood.  It’s like her mind is a wealth of Dewey decimal system file drawers – each drawer containing hundreds of cards – each with their own set of memories.    

As her time on earth winds down, she is finding it more important to open those drawers and purge…. I must say, this last story was one to test my senses…

Rosemary went to an all-girls Catholic High School in Cleveland.  She said each student was issued one school uniform at the start of the year– a drab blue grey serge material dress.  They were also issued 3 white collars to wear over the uniform.  The starched clean white collar was like a façade to what laid underneath.

The drab blue serge dress school uniform was only washed once per year as required by the school.   Yes, once per year.  In a current world where we wash clothes after each wearing, can you imagine wearing a serge (wool like) dress for an entire 7 months without washing it?  

I asked it if smelled and she said “Sure, it smelled – we all smelled – we were a smelly bunch”

I started asking about things like bathing… how often did people bathe?  She answered twice a week in a bath.  What about deodorant?  She said it was a paste in jar that you would put under your arms and then the twice a week bath would help remove the cracked and pungent paste.

The conversation was getting worse….

What about physical education?  She said “Well, we really didn’t sweat in PE class”.  “We were taught delicate hand and arm movements so there really wasn’t a lot of perspiring”. Delicate hand and arm movements?   Rosemary then demonstrated her graceful queen wave, and a pass the salt arm extension.

Before the conversation ended, she did add one tidbit with a twinkle in her eye.   She said “Well, we did get a little exercise at school when we would sneak over to the corner drug store at lunch, put money in the jukebox and dance together!”

My Mother, the smelly rebel….

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