Hair piled high, gin and tonic and a smoke in hand; my Nanny was a force to be reckoned with. When I think of her what comes to mind are her snarky sense of humor, her laugh, her coral lipstick and her fabulous rhinestone cat eye glasses.
Hell on wheels in her 1975 Cadillac, rocking a fur, she WAS Auntie Mame. If you have never read the book or seen the 1958 movie, do yourself a favor and read or watch ASAP. Nanny was a proper lady with an edge; a Flapper in the 20’s, a photographer for the Army during WWII, had a dresser drawer full of white gloves, dressed to the nines to match her luggage when she flew and NEVER wore white after Labor Day.
When I was a kid, my Grandparents had a pool which was the hub of neighborhood activity in the summers. I was completely obsessed with the lady’s bathing ensembles. This was the early to mid-1970’s and many of the ladies were still sporting bathing attire from as far back as the 50’s. Beaded and rubber floral bathing caps, highwaisted 2 piece Bark Cloth bikinis, flowy chiffon robes, all kinds of head wraps and huge sunglasses, Dashikis and amazing beaded and bejeweled sandals(with heels of course). I loved nothing more than to play dress up with them while the ladies swam and drank.
Sadly, I lost her when I was 11. She made a huge impact on me in that small amount of time and not a single day has gone by since that I haven’t thought about her or missed her. She was, what she often referred to others as, a “character.” She taught me to pin curl, set and pick out her hair; I later attended beauty school and can turn out a wicked mean roller set. She fostered my imagination, it was one of her favorite words, and encouraged me to always be myself.
My most cherished possessions are my photos of her going back to 1927, my black and white silent films of her from the late 40’s donning a cotton crop top, high waisted shorts and milkmaid braids. Fabulous. Flawless. Missed.
Until next time,
-Morgan and her husband own Fredonia – Provisions for Women at 1421 Market St, Chattanooga, TN. Morgan keeps her store stocked with tons of treasures and is great to ask about styling advice. Go visit Morgan and the best little boutique in town!