I’ve found that today’s younger folks have no idea of the restrictive dress codes for women in place just a few decades ago.
Here are a couple of examples, from Marsha R., one from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond and one from Our Lady of the Lake hospital in Baton Rouge:
“SLU in the ’60s was a pants-free zone for coeds. Most of my dresses were riddled with acid holes from chemistry labs (we were learning precision but had not mastered it).
“One summer we petitioned the dean of women for permission to wear pants in our afternoon chemistry labs. She informed us that it was summer school, and nobody had classes in the afternoon. We informed her that desperate science majors did indeed slave in the laboratory dungeons on the hot afternoons and evenings.
“We convinced her by pointing out the holes in our clothes, and saying no one would see us, as the campus obviously was empty except for us.”
Here’s her story of “how uniform pants suits came to OLOL:”
“The nuns had strong and unyielding views on the propriety of nurses wearing pants.
“But the tide turned when mini-skirts arrived. Those dresses were really short — just long tunics sometimes.
“Sister Gertrude caught a glimpse of a nurse in one of those mini-skirted uniforms bending over a bed and had a shocking epiphany. She had to redefine propriety that day.”
Tying one on
Another “proper attire” story, from Faye Hoffman Talbot, of Jackson:
“When I went out with Dickie Browning in high school, he would usually wear a short-sleeved white shirt. After he pulled into my driveway, he would then proceed to put on his necktie.
“That made my daddy furious! He would say, ‘Can’t that boy put on his necktie before he gets here?’
“He would be shocked to see how teenagers go out today.”
With hurricane season winding down (I’m knocking on wood as I write this...), Mildred G. Noto, of Metairie, feels this is a proper time to recall a little ditty she wrote just after Hurricane Katrina, which she and some friends sing on each anniversary of the storm and flood. Here are a few verses:
“When we left for the evacuation,
We thought we’d have a three-day vacation.
But when we put on the news,
We had the Katrina Blues...
We sat down in shock, ‘Did they really care?’
I had only three sets of underwear.
My world now is of a different hue,
Sheetrock, painting and tarps of blue...
Well, if it was a Category Five,
We’re all lucky to be alive.
So, I’ll get a contractor and pay my dues,
And keep on singing the Katrina Blues.”
You can book it
Pat Hoth issues the annual reminder that the purple bins at Kean’s dry cleaning stores, where you can drop off books for Friends of the LSU Libraries, will be taken up on Saturday, Oct. 31, so volunteers can sort books to be sold at the Book Bazaar on March 3, 4, and 5.
Special People Dept.
Faye Hawkins, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 92nd birthday on Monday, Oct. 26.
Helen Headlee says, “My 4-year-old granddaughter, Addie, is a great juice lover, and is studying outer space in preschool.
“She was discussing with her father why he had to go out of town to work on a project for several weeks. He told her he had to make money to buy her juice.
“When he returned home three weeks later, they were snuggling in the recliner talking it over and she said, ‘Daddy, now that you have done all that work, you can buy me all the juice in the university!’”
McChord Carrico, of Covington, tells what may be the ultimate “wrong word” story:
“When I lived in Iowa, the utility company I worked for underwent about three weeks of hearings before a state regulatory body. After the hearings concluded, the participants, on the way home, stopped by a roadside produce stand next to an apple orchard.
“After sampling a particularly tasty variety of apple, I asked the high school-age young lady working at the stand what variety it was. She replied that it was a ‘Genital.’
“Using all of my lawyerly cross-examination skills, I asked her what varieties had been crossed to create this tasty apple. She responded that it was the result of crossing a Jonathan with a Delicious variety — in other words, a ‘Jonadel.’
“We then with straight faces proceeded to load up on the Jonadels, and enjoyed the memory each time we consumed one of them.”
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.