Born in the Wrong Era? McMakeup and McMansions

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Born in the Wrong Era? McMakeup and McMansions

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Photo–flexdreams.deviantart.com

I don’t really care for the bright warm sunshine, and I seem to be the happiest at the sign of a gloomy cool day.  I also love my dark Gothic home and the thick huge curtains that keep out the sunshine.  There’s no better way to learn about your favourite era than by hearing about it from someone who lived then and realize you’ve been poppin’ vintage clothing since high school. Unfortunately, there is no one around from the Victorian age anymore- not that I know of.:)

No matter how many times my Grandmother shooed me outside to play when I was a child I would find some cubby hole to hide in and read. I can count the fingers on one hand the times I have had a burn tan. I have been told my skin is so white I literally glow in the dark. They would be 100% correct! Some have told me I was born in the wrong era– and they were probably right!

The Victorians were my kind of folks, and they loved pale skin. It was a sign of nobility and it meant women were well-off, and could afford not to spend hours working outdoors in the gardens or fields, which would inevitably result in a burn tan.

 

Woman with Parasol in front of the Baptist Church Bridge Street Carleton Place

 

The Victorians painted their faces with zinc oxide, a white mineral powder. It was much safer, and whitened skin well  and those who didn’t like Zinc, simply avoided the sun and fresh hair. When they ventured outdoors, they’d carry parasols to protect their skin from the sun and some even drank vinegar. Apparently, they thought that, somehow, it’d prevent a tan and they wanted their skin to be so pale that it was “translucent,” as in you could see the veins in their faces. Victorians had an obsession with death and actually thought that it was attractive for women to look sickly or dead. They would even paint some very fine blue lines on their skin to make it look more translucent, as if the veins underneath were showing.

What I found interesting was poisonous belladonna was also dropped into the eyes causing the pupils to dilate, creating a luminous glow, but clouding vision. People with cataracts were prescribed belladonna. People were prescribed belladonna in small amounts as medicine, sometimes mixed with opium. I couldn’t find a clear record but it’s probably safe to surmise many died of overdoses. Coroners generally labelled this as death by misadventure. A woman could have easily self administered a fatal dose from her cosmetics kit and, as long as no suicide note surfaced, no one would have known why she died and there would still be interment on holy ground. Then, with the Burial Act of 1823, even known suicides had the right to lie in consecrated ground as long as the body was interred between nine o’clock in the evening and midnight, and with no performance of rites.

 

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None so pervades and dominates the haunted visual Victorian landscape as their homes house that seemed to go along hand and hand with their make up and clothing. Victorian architecture wasn’t considered particularly sinister until around the 1930s, when popular magazines began to present this style of building as something to be hated. There was a most intense fear and loathing of the Victorian style during that period. In the 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, that was the McMansion, and it came to be identified with vulgar, excessive, conspicuous consumption.

It made sense that people began associating ornate Victorian houses, where perhaps their grandparents had lived, as old, decaying, spiderweb-filled messes. Plus, before the advent of disposable Ikea furniture, Victorian homes could be dark places–people used heavy curtains to protect their rugs and furniture from being bleached by the sun.

My, we have come so far……

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My study…

 

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About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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