Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rebel in pants!

Part of our Family Dinner Nights is story telling. Usually they are stories that involve incidents with the cousins when they were babies. Sometimes they are stories by Patrick of life growing up on an Irish farm in the 1950's. Occasionally there is even a story or two about Auntie Peggy and I as children!

One of the stories that has had requests for repeated retelling is the "How Mom and Aunt Peggy Were Rebels in Pants". Short version...we were born in the early sixties...very early sixties...okay I was born only THREE months into 1960!!! In the late 1960's and early 1970's, in suburban Chicagoland, girls did NOT wear pants to school PERIOD! As a matter of fact, in our school district it was against the 'Dress Code'.

What, you may ask, about our brutal Midwest winters? Can you say snow pants???? Ugly, stirrup legged, scratchy wool things that you had to try and gracefully pull off from under your dress as soon as you can in the building and recess and final bell there was the gyrations trying to pull them back up without flashing anyone!! Well one particularly frigid winter week when I was in 6th grade, my mother had had enough and she sat down at her sewing machine and made Auntie Peggy and I each a rockin' stylish wool plaid JUMPSUIT!!! The morning after they were finished we found them laid out with darling new turtleneck sweaters waiting to be put on for school. Even though we were both excited to have a new outfit there was some bit of trepidation at the thought of being 'rule breakers'................okay, so Peggy had the trepidation and I was ALL IN for the ensuing confrontation!!!

Funny thing happened that day. Two other girls from my class showed up in pants as well! Now you would suspect a parental conspiracy....except they were the two 'popular' girls one of which was my arch-rival for academic supremacy of the grade. We were all called into the hall by the principal and I could detect Peggy's near nervous breakdown. So once told that we were NEVER to show up in pants again I boldly said, "My mother said to wear this and she is in charge of what I do so you will need to call her to discuss this matter."

I was always a bit cheeky.

You might even say bold.

Exclusively related to my insanely competitive nature, of course! I've known for ages that I got that from my Mom. She took the principal head on.

The dress code....well let's just say I wore pants everyday from there on....(-;

So, I'm over at my Mom's last night putting away groceries and I come across this picture laying on her kitchen counter.............

This would be my grandmother in the middle, my Aunt Vonnie on the right, and YES...that would be my mother on the left in her navy inspired ensemble!!! She's guessing about 1941 ish. Wearing the 1940's....on an outing to downtown Chicago...the ORIGINAL rebel in pants I guess??


  1. I LOVE the REBEL girls in their pants! So cool to see those genetics passed down. I would have been with aunt Peggy, scared but loved to speak my mind like you. I remember in school first or second grade, they still spanked you at that school and the principal came in with the paddle to show you what would happen if you were naughty. I raised my hand (see at least I raised my hand) and told them they would not be spanking me, they asked why and I told them my mom did now believe in spanking.
    of course I was never bad anyway just had problems being quiet and not talking, a whole lot like Maya does now.

  2. what a wonderful story, taking you back to those school girl days. I love the old photo, and there is quite a resemblance betweenn your mom and her mother, and you look like them both, as well!