One of the Snow Road pictures for the Family Summer Photos
1940’s stone house (Richards Castle. With the Lahey/Regan family.–Noreen Tyers
The Beautiful Hand Smocked Dresses–From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth
During the war things were not easy to obtain, and one waited a good long time to have the money or find what they wanted. My Mother being the resourceful woman she was waited patiently. There was one thing for sure and that was she was a proud woman and liked her children to look nice and well dressed. To obtain something that was a bit different than was available was her aim.
Mom had obtained some beautiful material to make dresses for both my sister and myself. She had no sewing machine and if she was lucky she might just get the use of Grandma’s Machine. You have to remember that this was a item not everyone had and you did protect your goods. Grandma’s machine was well taken care of and Grandpa would check to see everything was in running order and oiled it when it was needed.
Mom cut out the dresses and if memory serves me right mine was blue colour and Sister’s pink. Once the dresses were cut out the bodice was pressed and then the pattern put on them to smock. This was a painstaking chore and was hard to see with the lighting in those days so this chore was done during the day when there was daylight.
She then purchased the different colour embroidery silk to do the smocking. She worked painlessly for days getting this done. There were two dresses so they had to be done at the same time. God forbid should one get their dress before the other. Whew that was done next was getting these dresses sewn together.
After many hours of work the sewing was done then it needed to be rinsed out and pressed. My mother was the type of person that there was a lot of hand sewing on collars and hems. Oh are they not just so beautiful such a labour of love and finished in time. Both my sister and I had long hair and there was natural curl in our hair. Mind you my hair was braided in french braids and sister got the ringlets. On most occasions there would be hair bands or bows to go in the hair to complete the outfit.
These dress were sure the Sunday Dresses and might be worn on special occasions. We would also get a new pair of socks to go with the outfit. OH WE WERE SPECIAL. The reason for the new outfits were for Easter Sunday and Church. Mom was really pleased with her handiwork and so she should have been, so much hard work and the hours spent doing this, a labour of love.
Come Easter off to church we went, now parents were very proud and compliments were coming from everywhere. Oh what beautiful dresses, now where did you get them. My mother was so proud and you could tell when she said Oh I Made Them. She was puffed up with pride.
We had our lunch after church and we were going to Grandparents for Dinner. There was going to be extended family there and that was special..
After lunch we asked if we could go out and play, that’s fine but don’t get dirty. Well off we went on our adventures, both my sister and I loved to climb tree and kinda hang on the branches by our legs, knees bent over the branch. Oh wasn’t this fun, maybe not lady like and more like a tomboy but just so fun. I would say that maybe we were on a sugar fix from Easter treats.
Getting down from the tree OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH we caught our new dresses, all I could hear was the sound of ripping material. Oh What to Do, What to do. Needless to say we had no choice, dress ripped, dirty, some pulls we sure got some talking to. Easter or no Easter I do not think the language was to HOLY.
We both went to our Grandparents with old clothes and had to explain why. Needless to say the dresses were never worn again, and they could not be passed down either. After All That Work, Mom had done.
All I can say is we were lucky, as my mother usually sent us for own switch to be spanked with. Mind you we did have experience in picking our switch and you soon learned to bring a bigger branch as it would not be used, and the small young switches did sting.
From the Pen
May 3, 2018
Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)