Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mamma don't let your girls give up their overalls!

Mamma don't let your girls give up their overalls!

Here I am with my prize overalls later ruined by chicken chasing with brussel sprouts as my cheerleader's baton, having a lovely time at our local market, 

Cotton Mill Farmers Market, Carrollton, GA

Overalls or even work jeans, my Aunts and grandmother never wore them.  The following were done in dresses. Sometimes accessories included kerosene rags wrapped around their ankles, handmade bonnets & aprons with large pockets.  This is how I remember them as They:

  • milked the cows,

  • chopped firewood and wood for the wood stove, 

  • planted gardens,  

  • hand cranked out the clean clothes out of primitive washers and hung them up 

  • hand plowed behind a mule, 

  • delivered calves

  • drudged in the woods to rescue calves or to call in the younguns from wild blackberry picking  

  • And any other farm activity.

Sometimes in boots that were for men folks but claimed by the women folk....I never really understood whose boots they were but they were never new to the women....Never boots tried on and fit for them.....The oldest generation of farmer men relatives went to Church in stiffly starched overalls with a very stiff and very pressed white shirt. Menfolks knew about overalls.  Now some of my younger male relatives say born in my generation or maybe just one before wore suits or a nice shirt and a pair of pants... But the older and earlier men wore Overalls and always there was the best overall reserved for revivals, church meetings and the occasional going into town. I remember funerals where the best overall was worn by my relative.  It did NOT seem strange to me at all....But this is a story of girls and wanna be women and women who lost part of their farm roots but then found them again...

I loved overalls as a child...I owned none in the city home I grew up  - Atlanta. They were NOT allowed in the house.  Mother grew up on that farm, worked her way through College and there was no way her daughters would suffer through all that.   She never said that but in her actions I knew that she wanted for us an easier life, not knowing that in my blood, I had inherited the need to farm...  In fact, DIRT was not allowed in Mother's home...Dad may have been king of some decisions but there were no dust bunnies in mother's house, but that's another story. Smile...

But I digress.... within 5 minutes of arriving at Granny's, first of course smothering myself in her wonderful hug and smelling all the scents in her old apron from cooking all morning, grabbing a tea cake, running to the old cedar chest with the broken hinge, I found the old worn out pair that was mine while in the Country, soft as a 1000 thread sheets, smoothed my hands over it and sighed, I was home, the smell and feel spoke of times to come covered with possibilities of love and fun and adventures and probably a little danger from poison ivy and snakes and more! ...For the longest, I thought the overalls were spelled and pronounced overhauls, because certainly my spirit felt completed overhauled when I was in them!  My symbolic I'm a country girl not only clothed me but embraced me with the love from the country. All the predictability of life in the city disappeared and all that it meant to me lifted as I held those overalls and breathed in the air of the country still held in them - well that and a heady dose of mothballs.

Sadly, there came a magic age and it must have been say around 11 or 12 when my girl cousins quit wearing overalls, work jeans, woods exploring clothes...  Being the impressionable, favor seeking, following, idolizing cousin that I was, I left my overalls and all my other boy clothes behind. Looking back now, it was too early but I did it anyway...Cousin peer pressure is real... And called them boy stuff.   I tried to join in the reading of magazines, painting of face, burning of skin to get tan,  listening to the swooning records of that time - mostly 45's and the finger and toe nail painting contests with the girl cousins.

But deep inside me I wanted my wornout boots and my overalls ........Decades later I'm back in my overalls and worn out jeans.   I still love the broken in jeans the best...I won't buy new, I like my clothes worn out and at the point of no return, They bend and fit the best!  I now have my own old straw hat, which I treasure.   It's not quite broken in as it is only 14 years old. I'm so glad to be wearing overalls, they fit me to a "t"!