Collected by Jo Ann Rife
Transcribed by James Lee
Conversation between Jo Ann
Rife and Mrs Lillian B . Sears
Elm Springs, Arkansas
December 29, 1955
Reel 237 Item 12
JAR: Well, what did the older women wear? I believe you told
me about your aunts when they were ready to go somewhere.
LBS: Well, like Bob Burns says, I had one working grandmother,
and the other one dressed. I'll tell you about the one
that dressed. She had a sister in Texas, and when she
and the girls, as she called them— my aunts— got ready
to go to Texas, they made special garments for travel.
In case of a train wreck or something. You know, people
back then always got ready for an accident and they nearly
always had it. They made bloomers that buttoned— fastened
snugly around the ankles— and they were made out of
what they used to call drilling— about as heavy as the
cloth they make overalls, as jeans are made of. Itwas just
white jeans was what it was. And they put on extra petticoats
and things. One of my aunts ontime took a ride
and she had hoops and four petticoats and a long riding
skirt. Well, her escort went to help her down off the
horse and she went to slip down— the used a side saddle--
as she went to slip down so he— into his hand so he
could help her off the horse— all of those skirts caught
on the saddle horn, and she slipped down all right, but
all of the clothes stayed up.
JAR: Well I hope she had on some of those garments they wore
to Texas. Well, how did the young girls-- what kind of
cosmetics did they have? Did they like to be suntanned
like we do now?
LBS: Well, suntan wasn't popular in those days. The whiter you
were the more popular you were. I have seen sister May
go to bed many times with thinly sliced large cucumbers
bound to her neck, and with bandages dipped in butter
wrapped around her arms; and you'd sleep in gloves with
buttermilk on the inside of them to keep yourself white.
You had to be white.
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