Russ and I were in Petaluma for our Sunday Della Fattoria fix. Besides their photographic cappuccinos, they have a lemon currant scone that begs to see me once a week. I oblige when I can!
The town was hopping and parking was tough. Turns out we walked into the huge Petaluma Antique Faire. It happens twice a year. It comes around again on the last Sunday in April (mark your calendars now!).
I’ve talked about Uber Optics and my buddies there at my favorite eyewear store in Petaluma. I noticed they were open on Sunday (they usually aren’t) so I stuck my head in to say hi. Elizabeth was there and she had her daughter, Alexis, with her. I hadn’t met her before and what a treat! She was so adorable in her pink top and her pink shorts with white lace overlay. Look at that smile. Is she the cutest? Her mommy lets her wear lipstick on the weekends.
I left Uber Optics and right there next door was another mommy and daughter sitting on the bench eating pizza in their cowgirl boots. The little girl’s tee shirt dress is in a horse print. Okay, total cuteness!
Of course, I am a woman who had a fashion-loving mommy. But I also grew up on a farm, not in town. We didn’t shop at the mall. We drove thirty miles to the nearest store and we didn’t do it often. I grew up with three brothers. They were noisy, rambunctious, and not that interested in a sister. I fought hard to be included in their sports and games. Did they want me there? No! It was a hard sell but I never gave up trying.
Here’s what growing up with my brothers meant that we didn’t do: we didn’t share clothes, talk about clothes, or fight about clothes. There was no going to the mall and spending Saturdays shopping. There was no “fashion show” in our house–oohing and aahing over new purchases. There were no mounds of clothes on bedroom floors to stumble over. There was no landscape of pink, lace ruffles, or sparkly shoes. If I wanted to talk to someone near my age about clothes, I’d have to call Brenda Jo on the phone and ask her what she was wearing to school tomorrow. There just wasn’t a lot of fashion talk!
Then I grew up, got married and had a family. My first born is Trevor. When he was born I was in very familiar territory. I get boys! I understand boys! I can keep up with boy conversations. I was so totally comfortable when Trevor and his friends would pile in the car and I’d take them to places. They their jabbing, jostling and horsing around and they didn’t even realize I was there. It was so normal!
When Erin was born it was a novelty. Wow, a girl! Weird! Mother would send girlie outfits to me in California. I’d pull them out of the boxes, hold them up and scrunch up my nose. Really, Mom? They were colors and prints that I wasn’t used to seeing.
Caitlin arrived nearly three years after Erin showed up and then there were two girls! Extremely weird. Many more daughters than I ever expected to have. It was a learn-as-you-go kind of experience for me. It was voyeuristic on my part. They probably didn’t notice me studying them as if I was Margaret Mead, the anthropologist.
There was a lot of colorful language around our house between the two of them. And it was nearly always over clothes. One had taken something without asking. Horrors when a friend of one of them showed up at our house in the other one’s clothes. Criminal!
I recently asked my son, Trevor, What it was like growing up with sisters? “There was a lot of talk about clothes,” he said. “That’s not something I sit around with my guy friends and talk about.”
Now that they are in their 30s, all of them, I can give you this report: Trevor still doesn’t talk about clothes much but will comment when asked. The girls? Lots of talk about clothes! For the last few years, Erin has been my assistant with my client appointments so it’s becoming more than a conversation. It’s becoming a profession. Who knew? And Caitlin is my office manager on Office Tuesdays every week. I’m still on the adventure of learning about girls and sisterhood.
Did you have sisters? Was there a lot of talk about clothes? Fighting over them? Educate me!
Katherine CramerOctober 12, 2015 at 12:49 pm
My mother was an only child. There was only a 20 year difference with her mother turned seamstress, after Mom was age 11 and her parents divorced. Their bond was strong and had a core of a love of clothing. Within my mother’s marriage, she was thrilled to have two sons–she studied so that she would understand boys. When I arrived third, I must have completed some circle of completeness. I would ask for a sister yet it was never addressed with any serious intention.
I was set-up to love fashion. Dolls were important to me and both grandmothers made clothing for Barbie. I had matching dresses made for me and Chatty Kathy as well as my mother trying her hand at sewing matching sheath dresses with her young daughter. The Bon Marché and Frederick & Nelson Seattle department stores had fashion show luncheons that were childhood treats that made me feel so grown-up.
The love of fashion and dressing with flare was a theme throughout my life. Recently, Mom died at age 90. I miss her love of fashion that continued to her last days. She said she would miss going shopping with me when she explored life’s pleasures.
I have no children to pass on my family’s shopping gene. Distilled appreciation of Life does not usually include a love of fashion. It may seem unimportant, yet it is a spark that is representative of what is part of my gift. Charlie Rose will often ask, “What is your gift?” when he interviews interesting people. I would include this spark as it adds so much to my enjoyment of being alive.
BrendaOctober 12, 2015 at 1:03 pm
I just love your thoughtfulness and your connection to fashion. It’s like a sociology lesson at the same time and I do think those two things go together well. Oh golly, I can well imagine you missing your mom and her love of fashion. But clearly, the two of you shared that, explored it, and expressed it so very very well. You will always be a living tribute to her as you continue to share that “spark” that comes from a body well-dressed.
Katherine CramerOctober 12, 2015 at 4:58 pm
Thank you Brenda,
I love your blog and photographs on this theme. Family extends to more than our conventional loved ones. I have so much gratitude for this spark and knowing it is shared, contemplated, expressed and nurtured by so many.
BrendaOctober 12, 2015 at 7:39 pm
Thanks, Katherine, you’re so right about how our family extends beyond blood relations. I’m soaking that thought in right now!
Elizabeth AguilarOctober 15, 2015 at 10:08 am
Thank you for putting a smile on my face! My Alexis is my little mini me and glad you met her. She is definitely a little fashion Diva. I so look forward to having her as my shopping buddy as she gets older. Thank you for your kind words! You are truly the best! XOXO
BrendaOctober 15, 2015 at 10:37 am
Alexis was a true inspiration that day! She OWNED that pink lipstick and those lace shorts. Such a doll. I can see the two of you in the future! Very cute!
BrendaOctober 30, 2015 at 8:42 pm
Oh yes, she sure is! Just a doll! Can’t wait to see her again!