Monday, November 06, 2006

Mom's Costume Fun Down Thru the Years

Mom always did like to dress up. And by dress up, I don't mean a pink princess confection. Or something boughten from the store. As a costume, that is. After all, the pieces of the hobo outfit above were bought at the Salvation Army store and doctored up for this year's Halloween party over at Las Fuentes.

I'm lucky enough to have a handful of pictures tracing Mom and her dress-up costumes through the years. Here she is ready for Kid's Day at her high school in Riverside California. Senior year.

Dressing up for picture taking was a favorite activity in a world without TV or radio. Mom is wearing a dress for a change in this musical interlude with her brother Edgar.

But usually, Mom wore pants or suits when she was in costume. Here, a pious parson.

And here, the opposite, a dissolute man-about-town (left). All the above pictures date back to 1919-21.

In the mid-30s, Mom and her sisters put on a big party for lady friends in Riverside. Invitees were to come as Hollywood stars. From the left, my Aunt Ione as Greta Garbo, one guest as Charlie Chaplin, another as big-mouthed Martha Raye, an unprepared cousin, and Mom in my uncle's tux as Robert Taylor. Mom made her sister's metallic bra from a couple of funnels. Planning and preparing a costume has always been a big part of her fun.

Here in the 60s, Mom and Pop put their heads into a prepared set of King Neptune and his queen at one of those Florida clear spring tourist attractions.

Ringing in the New Year down in Sun City AZ.

Since Mom has moved up to Las Fuentes here in Prescott, she's always dressed for the Halloween party. Her first year she looked at a pair of her PJs, noted that they had cats all over them and said, "I'll go as the cat's pajamas." I still have that mask, hanging up in my kitchen.

The following year, she and a buddy teamed up as mom and child, with my Mom wearing a bonnet as the baby (a wheel chair serving as the perambulator, of course -- lots of them where she lives!) The year after that, she borrowed a cowboy rig, including heavy replica Colts, from a friend who is a professional gun leather worker. Above, she's the 101-year-old biker babe. Her backward cap doesn't quite show up, but the language on the her Tshirt did shock one lady. Didn't bother Mom.

Last year, we were trying to figure what sort of a costume we could whip together and I remembered the beautiful patchwork skirt and vest that Mom once made for state occasions. She had passed it on to me. Aha! The Patchwork Girl of Oz. I don't know if Mom will be up to wearing a costume next year -- but it's been a great run.


Linda G. said...

Great pics of your Mom! I love the glimpse into her zany past. Hard to pick a favorite, but the pious parson is absolutely charming. Then there's the biker babe.... hummmm

k said...

It's so good to see someone who Knows How to Have Fun. Make her own fun, as opposed to the Take-Out variety.

I love that type of costuming too. I don't always get it together to do it, mind. But I sure love to dream them up.

You have a particularly fine Mom there. But I think you don't need me to tell you so.

catalyst said...

What a beautiful woman!

Anonymous said...

What a super mother you have. Now I know why you are such a super lady yourself.

kate said...

Oh! Those were some wonderful pics. What a lovely lady. :-)

coyoteradiotheater said...


I love the pictures of your mom in costume all these years. What a charming smile, too!

And, in the six degrees of Prescott category, I lived as a kid years ago in Redlands, isn't that funny?

lane said...

Made me all teary! I've seen all those photos before, but to put them together was very powerful! She looks great in this year's!

p.s. Please send them to me (again) so I can put them on my 'puter at work.

Walktopia said...

Thank you for the story in pictures. Your Mom looks terrific--the cat's pajamas is my fave. Please tell her she has a fan club!

Miss Cellania said...

I LOVE this post! These are wonderful pictures.

Judith said...

Wonderful collection, Granny J. And don't you get an especial pleasure from working with pictures of your mother's life through the years - a sort of "getting to know you better" process? I'm contemplating a collection of my mother's changing fashions - she didn't do fancy dress - but the pictures are not very clear from the 1920s. And I may do a collection of my own fancy dress outfits. I'm not much of a photographer myself so it's great that other bloggers enjoy the old pictures too.

Granny J said...

Judith -- talk of your mother's fashions and I am reminded that my Mom always loved to sew. To this day, she remembers particular dresses that she (or even her mother) made for a particular occasion. And, yes, a sequence of fashion pictures is a very neat idea. I also was thinking of collecting some family cars...

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