AtoZ Letter Z~ Texas Oil Boom Zone...

Mother's Iowa Farmer Brothers and their families came for a visit in 1957.  It was definitely several days of Kodak moments for her...judging by the number of pictures taken as she took them on the 'Texas Oil Boom Zone' tour.

This group of 'Shoebox' photos also gives me the opportunity to include them as Letter Z...which is a bit of a reach, but nevertheless an interesting look at the Texas Mid-Century Oil & Drilling Bidnezz.

As indicated in this photo of my Uncles, having a 'Pump Jack' in your backyard was not all that unusual, and regardless of the warning signs and the threat of a whoppin',  kids of all ages could not resist climbing on the iron horse for a whooping good ride.

In the early 20th Century, the Texas oil boom, sometimes called the Gusher Age, was a time of dramatic change and economic growth in Texas.  After the Gushers, by the 1940's production stabilized in East Texas, and West Texas began to be more fully explored and the Permian Basin gradually became the top producing area of the state.  The Permian Basin became the Oil Service Capital of the nation as the influx of foreign oil depressed the price of oil and gas. 

Management of the petrochemical industry and the discovery of natural gas and it's bi-products of styrene, butadiene, polypropylene, benzene and quantities of synthetic rubber and ammonia kept the Oil Industry booming.  New installation Plants were built along the Gulf Coast and the Houston Shipping Channel.  The Odessa-Midland area was a hub of Oil Service Companies with branches throughout smaller communities like Monahans, Kermit, Ozona, Big Lake and others. 

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, my Dad was a Jack of All Trades and one of them was as a 'Roughneck' on 'Drilling Rigs'....like the one pictured bottom left.  On the 'Rig', he was a Jack of All Rig Jobs from Floor Hand to Derrick Hand...which was the one that caused Mother the most worry. 

In the bottom right picture, Dad and his brother MD are standing on a site where a 'Pulling Unit' is in operation.

 This piece of machinery was part of the 'Oilfield Service Industry', which flourished during the 1950's through the 1990's, and will again when the current Texas Oil Drilling Boom Rigs move to their next Drilling Sites.

As I look at these pictures of Dad as a 20th Mid-Century Texas Oilman, I wonder what he would think about the  21st Century Oil Bidnezz.  I imagine he would say,
"God Ahmighty, Thel, what will they think of next?
Thank-you Mom and Dad....I wouldn't change a thing...
Growing Up In The 1950's and 1960's


AtoZ Letter X & Y~ XOXO's From 1960's Yearbook...Part II

HEADLINE...First Female Elected President
The funny thing about being President is how it affected the rest of my life's interest in all things Presidental...including Politics.  First, my Presidential History list includes George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Lady Bird and The George Bushes.  Secondly, I never got or could follow Roberts Rules of Order and was more interested in banging the Gavel to END the meeting so we could get on with refreshments.  And finally, if ever you want to talk Politics with me, get ready for the most Politically Incorrect conversation you have ever had. 

Apparently my cabinet of fellow officers were not all that impressed with my leadership skills as Class President.  Not a one of them mentioned my high office in their XOXO comments...
~Vice President Luisa wrote...To a very sweet and cute girl which I have enjoyed being in the same room with.  Lots of Luck Always.
I don't know what I wrote in Luisa's book, but I hope I returned the 'sweet girl' and added how much I admired her brain....she was smart and without her...Roberts Rules would have gone right out the window.
~Secretary Treasure Nancy wrote...Dear Sue,  I would like to tell you what a sweet girl you have been.  We have had loads of fun this year.  Remember all those mean things we've done.
Did you notice that Nancy said she would like to tell me what a sweet girl I was, but in the next sentence reminded me about all the mean things I'd done?  At least she said we had fun!

Yearbook signing was a big deal in our small school where everyone from 1st Grade to 12th Grade was included in the Yearbook. 

Signing another's yearbook could take an hour or a couple of minutes, depending on how many times your picture was in the book and how much space was reserved for you as a VIP friend. 

Since I shared a book with my two siblings, space for XOXO's was limited to To a real sweet girl...Stay cute as you are...Best of Luck Always and right under that good wish my brother's XOXO message...NO LUCK, Tommy.  With that in mind, I chose this overly autographed basketball team photo to show why you should...
Be careful of the words you say.
Try and keep them clean and sweet.
For you never know from day to day
Which ones you will have to eat!

You will notice that everyone who personally autographed their picture did so in 'Blue Ink' which was the accepted color to use.  The names in 'Red Ink' are all my handwriting.  It was my way of denoting which girls were 8th graders..blue.. and which ones were 7th graders...red.  As I look at this photo now, I am glad I put names to faces...otherwise I might not have remembered their names today.
Oh, I guess you would like to know why Deanna has a Big Red X on her face?
We swapped words that were not clean and sweet.
We met in Sunbeam Grocery's alley that day.
I was tall and skinny.  She was not.
We fought!
Basically, it was a draw, but I have to say
A mouthful of dirt was not fun to eat!
To a real sweet girl who I think a lot of.  Love ya, Deanna
(I think she must have forgot)


AtoZ Letter X & Y~ XOXO's From 1960's Yearbooks...Part I.

Almost as priceless as Mother's Shoebox Album and my Scrapbooks...are five school Yearbooks from 1960-1964. In a way, I am surprised not to find a receipt for them among Mother's papers.  They would have been an added expense to a very tight pay check to pay check budget.

Which was why the 'Three of Us' shared a Yearbook.  Shared the 'Autograph' pages.  Shared the photos, and the XOXO messages and signatures of our teachers and friends.

Tommy...Even though you are full of energy and you are usually in some sort of meanness, it has really been a pleasure for me to have you in class and athletics.  Keep that fire and energy but learn to control it.  Best of Luck to a really swell "little" guy...(like me...little, I mean, not swell).  Sincerely, Coach Reeves

To the runt of the football team.  Luck Always.  Willard

To one of my very best friends.  Joe

Tommy...It has been a swell experience knowing and working with a guy like you.  You're mean but I love you!  Wish you were my little brother.  Be nice and remember me.   Love, Doris

To a pretty tough football player.  Coach Moore

To a good friend and a good classmate.  Sammy

After reading a few of the XOXO messages from Tommy's page, you have probably guessed he was a pretty tough kid.  Unlike his year older, long legged, taller than all the boys sister...me...Tommy's growth spurt didn't happen until after he graduated from high school.  Back in the day he was known as 'Rough House'...today he is a grandfather and great grandfather of a passel of little 'Rough House' boys.  That mean look on #15's face...that was just for the picture...he's really is a 'Swell' guy and I'm glad he is my brother, but back in the day I would have gladly granted Doris' wish!

Sonja 'Monya' ...Won't ever forget my 'spark plug'.  It's been great fun this year.  Hope you will remember the 3rd grade with a little love.
Love you,
Mrs. Stillwell

Dear Sonja...You are a very sweet girl.  You are nice and polite.  Your friend, Donna

If I had a room full of girls as sweet as you it would be wonderful.  Love, Mrs. Stubblefield

Dear Sonja...You have been a great friend these last 9 months.  You have been nice to me.  Cindy

Sonja, you are a very nice girl.  Listen, Freddy wants your neclise and I can not help it if you are mad...sorry.  Lots of Love , Tranisha

Hi Sonja,  To a very sweet sister who I get very mad at times, but really LOVE all the time.  I know you will be a good basketball player and win Jr.High another trophy.  Love, Sue

After reading Sonja's XOXO messages, I am sure you can see how she was selected 'Class Favorite'.  What a cute girl, fun friend, and sweet sister.   My prediction of her becoming a good basketball player was close, but in the wrong sport.  Sonja became our 4-A high School's First Player ever to be named to the Texas University Interscholastic Leagues All State Volleyball Team.  She went on to be a highly regarded Collegiate player at Texas Tech University and then the Head Coach at a Class 5-A High School in West Texas.  Although she was known as the VB Court Barbie Doll, she was a fierce competitor, respected by her opponents and just like in the third grade...everyone's  'Class Favorite'.

XOXO's From 1960 Yearbooks...Part II
Sue's XOXO Yearbook Messages


AtoZ Letter W ~ What I Wore and What Ever!!!

 Really, Mother!  Where are my clothes?  I know you took this picture.  By the looks of the surroundings, it must have been a hot summer day....dead tree, dirt and weeds.  Definitely in Texas.  My next question should be obvious, but I'll ask it anyway....why am I posing in my Big Girl Panties? 

Let me guess...I couldn't hold it any longer, so I squatted behind the dead tree and wet my dress.

 I'll probably never know, but to this day I will hold it forever before squatting behind bushes and for sure not in the dirt behind a dead tree. 
I don't know what it is about parents taking pictures of their kids in their underwear, but I can promise you there will not be an updated version, or a repeat...and yes there were more in the 'Shoebox Album'.
In 1957 it is possible my Mother consulted a 'Saddler' for his opion on the ugliest, longest lasting shoes to put on a knobby knees, big foot ten year old.  (FYI...'Saddler...a saddle maker.)  My Dad knew several.

I don't know who else would have suggested 'Saddle' oxfords except maybe Tony Lama.  He custom made my Dad's boots because of the knot on the top of his foot.  Lucky me, another inherited Pittman curse. 

At least the Saddle Oxfords did not have to be laced tightly over the accursed knot. 

The same problem happened with 'Dress Shoes'.  The strap on my Mary Janes buckled right over the top of the knot.

It must have been okay when walking, but when standing still made me stand on the side of my foot.  Just look at that leg...all bowed out.  No wonder I've been prone to sprained ankles and my feet are a mess today.  Guess I'll never get to wear sexy stilettos.  There's something so not sexy about bunion bandaids and ace wrapped ankles.
I always liked wearing dresses and from the collection of photos it is apparent Mother liked dressing me in them.  She made most of my clothes and enjoyed making ruffles, using rick rack and bias tape.  Her favorite patterns were for summer dresses. 

A photo shoot usually followed the finishing of an outfit so she could send my grandmother a photo of her newest creation.  This is what she wrote on the back of the first photo, "Here's our little lady Sue in the sun dress I made."  Somehow, I doubt if she sent the second photo.  First she had her finger in the way and secondly, she may have taught me the lady like way to stand, but sitting...not so lady like! 
Yup...real lady like!
If I wasn't standing on the side of my feet, I was standing on my head!
No wonder my Dad called me 'Knot Head'


AtoZ Letter V ~ Variety of Vision Wear

"I swear, Mother, the whole chart was blurry. I could barely see the 'Big E'.  The school nurse could not believe how bad my eyes were.  Here's the notice that you have to take me to a real eye doctor." 

Boy, I really wanted to wear glasses.  Lots of my friends were wearing them, and well, they just looked so cool...and that was before 'cool' was even cool.  I would have said 'groovy', but I hadn't heard that word yet.

It wasn't that I needed them to see 'far off'...like I told the eye doctor, I'm farsighted, I can spot an eagle a mile away."  He raised one eyebrow and winked at my Mother which made her feel better about thinking I couldn't see my hand in front of my face.  Surely she didn't know that 'far off' was actually called nearsighted or if you were the eye doctor...myopia. 

So, on that first visit to the 'real eye doctor' where I proved my eagle eye far off vision was better than 20/20...whatever that meant...by reading his Big E which from across the hall was clear as a bell.  However, my Mother's feeling of relief at being a remiss parent was short lived.  The 'real eye doctor' confirmed I could not see my hand in front of my face.

The good news was that I needed glasses to correct my farsightedness/hyperopia. That didn't make sense to me.  Didn't I just tell him I could see fine far off...it was 'up close' or near that everything was blurry....even the lines on my palm. 

At any rate, I got to pick out a pair of those cute 'cat eye' glasses in brown with little dodads on the corner and ear piece.  The eye doctor told my Mother I would need them only for reading and we could pick them up in a week.

During that week I noticed that a lot more of my classmates wore glasses than I realized.  In fact, just about everybody wore glasses...all the time.  The clincher was seeing the Most Beautiful and Most Handsome students wearing glasses.

By the time we got back to Odessa and the Texas State Optical Bldg....which was about 55 miles away, and took over an hour at the 50 miles per hour speed limit...I had made up my mind to wear those 'cat eyes' every minute of every day.  Never mind what the doctor said. 

Wow...everything was so BIG!  I looked in the mirror and my eyeballs were as big as saucers.  The first clue those glasses were full blown magnifiers was when I stepped off the curb and fell flat on my face.  It was weird how the street was so much farther down than it looked, but I picked myself up, straightened up my cat eyes and we hit the road.

The hour drive home was like a taking a ride on the Ferris Wheel and then getting on the Tilt-A-Whirl and then going into the House of Mirrors.   As soon as I stepped out of the car, I threw up!    That was clue number two, and all it took for those cute cat eyes to stay safely in the case until I needed to read.  I was over wanting glasses!

It was many years later before I figured out those 'cat eyes' should have been bifocals in order for them to be worn all the time.  Even then, I doubt if I would have worn them...cat eyes or not, bifocals were for 'Old Cats'.

So live, learn and wear 'Readers' around your neck, on top of your head, and on the end of your nose until your 'Eagle Eye Far-Off' vision puts your Farsightedness and Nearsidedness in a pair of glasses you wear all the time without falling on your face and throwing up!  That's what I've been doing, although I still get 'far off' and 'up close' mixed up.  I do not explain that to my real eye doctor.
Did you know that Cat Eye Glasses are back in style? 
My real eye doctor has a Variety of Cat Eye Vision Wear!
However, he says I won't need them after I have my 'Cat ar acts' removed!
Go figure!


AtoZ Letter U~Useless vs Useful Scraps of Information...

...of an Underclassman.
Sandra Sue Pittman
Room 8-A Jr. High
Having written my name and location on the inside of the cover of my first scrapbook was probably the most useful piece of information in the whole book.

It survived mostly due to the cover being a heavier weight paper than the rest of the pages which have yellowed and deteriorated.  Scotch tape, Elmers glue and manila paper were not Acid Free.  I don't think Acid Free was invented yet, and if it was it wasn't free. 

Being as it was my first scrapbook and being an 8th grader with little to no momentous scraps of information to paste on the pages about myself, I proceeded to cut and paste pictures and articles from the school newspaper about Upperclassmen.

For instance on the first page the headline read...
G-R Sweethearts Crowned September 2: Crouch, Warner Receive Honors
Irma was crowned Band Sweetheart and Charlotte was crowned Football Sweetheart during the half-time of the first football game.
Now I ask you, of what use would that information from September 1960 be at the time...everybody got the school paper and were at the football game to witness the crowning and watch the Cowboys Brand the Longhorns In The Season Opener

Useless Information... Until....Charlotte's sister Sharon became my sister-in-law then it became a Useful bit of family trivia when reminiscing about the good ole days over Thanksgiving dinner at Tommy and Sharon's with Charlotte sitting across the table.

As I look at this newspaper photo of my brother and his Grand Champion Crossbred Lamb, I have no doubt I considered it worth saving and pasting in my Scrapbook.  He was not a scrapbook kind of guy, and I felt sure the day would come when this...at the time...Useless Information would become Useful.  Now is the time....
Hi Tommy...Here's your chance to be useful.  First, what category of crossbreed was your Grand Champion?  Second, what ever happened to Bud Allcorn?  Lastly, please ask Sharon if we beat Borden County for Bi-District in Andrews. 
I have saved this clipping and these pictures, but cannot find the clipping to know if we advanced to Regionals.  She will probably remember since the article lists her name before mine as starting forwards, and her cousin Lea was mentioned as a starting guard after Nancy.  (FYI...Sharon and Lea were Sophs...my friend Nancy and I were Fish...it was Upperclassmen vs Underclassman)
Picture #1...back row l-r...Sophia, Irma, TLee, Sue: front row l-r...Charlotte, Sharon and Nancy...Varsity Basketball Team 1961
Picture #2...l-r...Sharon, Lea, Sue, Nancy and Manuela...Starters for Bi-District game in Andrews.
Usually, I like to tie all the loose ends together with something profound if not down right prophetic.  In this instance I may have already covered the prophetic part way back in 1960-61...who would have guessed my brother would marry the Upperclassman who could pass a basketball so hard and accurately that my fingers spent the better part of the season in splints.  Who could have known that Queen Charlotte would one day be a part of my family holidays. 
No one would have ever predicted that Guard Lea...who threw my clothes in the girls locker room shower on a daily basis and forced me to walk home looking like a 'drowned rat'...would someday become a fun and friendly cousin-in-law.  I forgave her for the locker room shenanigans, but I'm still working on the 'SNAKE' that slithered out of my locker!
As for the profound...There is no such thing as USELESS information!!!


AtoZ Letter T ~ Tryouts & Trials of a Twirler & Tootie

There were two school activities that every student was required encouraged to Tryout for...Athletics and Band. 

The age requirement for UIL Athletics was 7th grade, and all boys and girls were highly recruited regardless of their size, athletic abilities or academics. 

Warm bodies were needed to fill a rooster of players, managers, water boys, and score keepers with no prior experience.

To be a member of the Marching Band...well, you just had to be big enough to fit in a uniform...which could be altered...be able to put one foot in front of the other, and be able to carry an instrument...no playing of said instrument or music background required. 

So was the way of a small Class B School in West Texas, and the way my sister Tootie was able to be in the Marching Band as a 5th Grader.  As a 9th grader, I had two years of playing the clarinet and marching under my Plummed Band Hat.  Yes, I said clarinet!  Tryouts in the 7th Grade were brutal with 12 of the 15 girls trying out to play the same instrument.  There was an over abundance of reed suckers which led to some of us 'carrying' a Saxophone with instructions not to blow...just concentrate on marching. 

Tootie got one of the last small sized uniforms which obviously had been altered for someone smaller, and because she could walk and chew gum at the same time, she got to beat a snare drum.  The hat?  Lucky for her she had thick hair and the hat had a strap.

  Traumatized!  That was me after Trying Out for Twirler my Freshman year.  I didn't make it!  That had never happened in all of my 15 years of being #1....and after assuring my mother that spending $20 for boots and tassel making stuff would be a good investment.  I planned on a four year career high stepping and twirling out in front of our marching band.  I had to settle for First Substitute Stepper...at least I was first...not to mention the only substitute.
I got lucky that first year of being First Substitute.  One of the three Tryout Picked Twirlers was nominated for Homecoming Queen for the First Football Game of the season.  So good to be FIRST!

All in all, being First Substitute worked out for the best.  For the next year Tryouts, I was the only returning Twirler...albeit 1st Sub.  I already had Tasseled Majorette Boots and got first pick of a better fitting Uniform, and I got to go to Summer Twirling Camp.

I was a year ahead on practicing the figure eight, palm spin, behind the back catches and high tosses which was so noted by the Tryout Judges.  I must thank my parents for encouraging me even after the tosses wrecked the ceiling and the palm spins spun out of control...it was only our first black and white TV and Rabbit Ears were easily replaced...TV...not so much.

Twirling remained a part of my skills for many years, and I could catch a spin behind my back well into my...well, let's just say my last years of teaching Elementary PE.  Lucky for everyone we practiced in a high ceiling gym where High Tosses and out of control Palm Spins caused minimal damage. 
Those little Wannabe Majorettes were pretty impressed that I still had my
Baton and Boots from my First Twirler Tryouts. 
See, Mother, I told you they would be a good investment! 
In fact, if I had them today, they would be priceless!


AtoZ Letter S~Sister's Sears Crib and The Swinging Ring Test

It's the first thing to get ready for the arrival of a new member of the family.
Unless....that Sweet Baby arrives before the Crib!
Then a Dresser Drawer is where you keep that Sweet Baby warm!
Such was the case when my Baby Sister was born in September 1957.   I was ten years old and even though I was a TomBoy, I did love baby dolls and was quite excited that a real baby was on the way.  It didn't matter if it was a boy or a girl....back then it was always a surprise...unless of course you believed in the 'Swinging Ring Test'.  Here's how it was done...
...take off your wedding ring, tie it to a piece of string, and hang it over your belly. 
If it swings in a circle, you are promised a boy;  back and forth indicates a girl. 
I remember my Grandmother Minnie making the trip from Iowa to be with my Mother for the birth of my third sibling.  I already had a younger brother and sister...yes, I was #1....so it really didn't matter to me if the new baby wore pink or blue. 
 Mother was prepared for either one with saved baby clothes from us first three, and new baby things were yellow.  After three babies and twice that many moves,  the first crib didn't make it for baby number four.  A new Crib was on order from the Sears catalog.  It was late and 'Baby Sister' was early.  
Thankfully, Grandmother Minnie's solution of a Dresser Drawer worked out perfectly.  Especially when you wanted to muffle the crying baby...close the drawer...just kidding!  She didn't cry all that much, and when she did I was right there. 
Here we are 56 years later...and I'm still right there...playing dress-up and keeping her CRIB warm with Quilts.  Thank-you Minnie for this memory, and Mother...I'm so glad your 'Swinging Ring' swung back and forth.


AtoZ Letter R~Read Any Good Books Lately?

I would have to answer that question with a big NO...back in May 1959.  It was the last month of school, and I was ready for summer and a break from school work and reading. 

I must admit, I was not a avid reader in school until my Junior year of high school.  I have an English Literature teacher to thank for that.  He introduced me to historical novels and tried his best to get me to search within for at least a stanza or two that rhymed.   

My Mother was a reader.  We didn't have a lot of what I would call Classic Literature reading material at home.  More like the newspaper, paperback novels and westerns...Zane Grey was my Dad's favorite author.  Even at 35 cents, Better Homes and Gardens would have been a luxury coffee table piece of literature in 1959.  I can just imagine my Mother's gasp of shock at my paying $5 for this copy to add to my collection of Magazine Ephemera.

When I came across Better Homes and Garden's  'Feature' book review of recently published books in 1959, I was surprised by several of the titles. 

I for one would not have come close to reading Doctor Zhivago as an eighth grader in 1959, but I had several friends that probably did read Charlotte's Web and The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters.  They were avid readers.  While they were reading those current reads, I had my nose buried in anything written about Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

As I read the 'Feature', I was struck by the timelessness of these words written in 1959..."The great ease with which books are turned out these days, for all that might be said for it, imposes on the casual reader an almost insurmountable task of selection.

Not so long ago, a man had time to read most of those volumes that pleased him, or at least the ones his salary could afford.  Today, with a busier society and a more exhaustive and inexpensive choice, he has trouble keeping up with the reviews, let alone the books to which they lead."

I am only 56 years late in reading Gordon Greer's Review of Doctor Zhivago, Charlotte's Web and The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, but read them I did.  About Doctor Zhivago he wrote...Boris Pasternak, the latest Nobel award winner, was kept from making an acceptance speech when the Soviet Government forced him to reject the prize.  A partly autobiographical, largely disenchanted study of Russia during the author's lifetime, Doctor Zhivago represents one man's willingness to stand up and be counted.  It is not an easy book.  It is a good one, though, written with great eloquence, and deserves everyone's attention.

I wholeheartedly agree with Greer's review on Doctor Zhivago...it was not easy.  I won't read it again, but I may download The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters.  Greer describes it as a robust novel of a journey from Kentucky to California taken in 1849 by Sardius McPheeters and his 14 year old son Jamie.  Right down my history reading alley!!!

FYI...The Travels of Jamie McPheeters in 1959...$4.50   Today on Amazon Kindle $14.39/paperback $21.69.  I am on my way to the public library.  I'd rather turn pages! 
How about you?
Read any good books lately?


AtoZ Letter Q~Queens Crown...Not For My Quaff

I should clarify a few things about the one 'Q' word and how it's definition and use has changed from 1963 to 2015. 

 'Quaff' which back in 1963 was not remotely on my list of 'Q' words, but was on Websters and defined as...quaff \kwaf\ vb[origin unknown] : to drink deeply or repeatedly-quaff er n. 
So not in my vocabulary back then...drinking deeply...we called that 'chug-a-luggling'.
However, in today's 'Urban Dictionary', Quaff has a new and relevant definition as...Ginormous HAIR of epic proportions.
Back then we just called it Big Hair, Ya'll.  But, not everyone had the hair for such a Ginormous Do!  A perfect example is Queen Lea.  Can you imagine that crown being jammed down on my Bouffant Flip?  I am sure that is the reason she was crowned and I was not.
Truth be told, I knew from the get go I did not have to worry about my ratted, Aqua Net sprayed Quaff getting squashed with that Tinsel Pipe Cleaner, Be-Sequined Tear-aira.  It always went to a flat haired upper classman....I had no idea that was a pre-requisite...otherwise I could have sported my 'drowned rat do'.  (seen Here)
At any rate there were greater challenges to be met in vying for the Bouffant Bling.
Bless her heart, my dear mother, had her hands full to transform her 'NoBosom-NoButt/Skinny Armed' daughter into a Quaffed Queen capable of wearing a strapless dress and keeping elbow length formal gloves from looking like welders work gloves.
She began with the DRESS...my first ever and unforgettable formal...the 'Red Net Dress'.  It worked with it's built in and up Playtex bra augmented with a box of Kleenex and layers of stiff red net.  That pretty much took care of the no bosoms issue of wearing a strapless dress.
The no butt was a no brainer with the Big Red Net Bustle, but the gloves...now that was a big problem..as in sizing for big hands and skinny arms.

The smaller size that stayed up above the elbow cut off the circulation to my fingers, so we went with extra large, which mind you was not easy to find in white formal wear.  We tried rubber bands to hold them up, but that made my whole arm numb. 

In the end, as you see, I simply let them puddle around the wrist in what BackThen, was the 'Green Grass/Wood Siding/Cedar Curtained' back drop, but today is known as  Red Carpet, HollyWood, Celebrity Coiffured .... 'Here's looking pointing at You, Babe'.


AtoZ Letter P ~ Patterns, Predictions and Perspectives

"Sue, to be a seamstress you must learn to use and read  pattern instructions."

Those words from my Mother and Homemaking Teacher usually had me putting the pattern and instruction guide back in the pattern envelope.  I was a 'Visual Learner'. 

Show me once and I've got it.  Give me a 'Step by Step' picture guide, and I can do it.  I think it all goes back to doing Math Word Problems which I talked about in Letter I-Iowa Test~Not My IQ.  In a nutshell  my brain interpreted written instructions and math word problems like this:  If you have 10 ice cubes and you have 11 apples, how many pancakes will fit on a roof?

As a first born, I was a parent and teacher pleaser, (Child Psych 101) therefore, I worked very hard to make ice cubes, apples and pancakes translate in to Dresses, PJ's, and Pants.

Sewing was my favorite part of Home Economics, and often the teacher, an excellent cook and so so sewist, would have me demonstrate how to put in a zipper, or my short cut technique of putting in sleeves... with an emphasis on 'this is not the way the pattern instructions show how to do it'.

At home...I completely took over Mother's sewing machine and sewed dresses, skirts, blouses and pajamas for my two younger sisters and myself.  I did not have a problem with being one of those girls who admitted to "making all my own clothes". 

My Teacher said, "Sue, knowing about Fabrics, Patterns, Sewing Machines, and all that goes with being a Seamstress can lead to a career."  She did not mention Culinary School.
My Coach said, "Sue, being able to read and draw basketball plays along with knowing how to shoot a right and left hook shot will make you a better basketball coach." He forgot to mention the after school days and hours, pay and parents.
My Mother said, "Sue, you can't play basketball forever, but you can sew for the rest of your life." 
Thanks Coach...you gave me so much more than basketball plays and how to shoot a hook shot.  So many life lessons learned on and off the court carried me through a Teaching/Coaching Career.

Thanks Mrs. B and Mrs. P...I can not imagine my life without Sewing and Needlework.  Not only did I learn to read Patterns, but became a Quilt Pattern Designer.  To you I owe my lifetime interest in the Textile Industry...which led to a second career after Coaching...Sue's Quilt Shop, Sewing Machine Dealership and Machine Quilting Services.

Thank-you Mother...for everything!


AtoZ Letter O ~ Operator..."It's a Comb Not a Wand"

"I'm a Beautician Not a Magician".  I get a kick out of todays phrases about Beauty Operators....that's what we called them Back In The Day!  "Don't Worry...it will Grow Back!"  I can't tell you how many times I FELT like saying that when I was a student at McBride-Davis School of Hair Design.
By the time I received this Diploma on November 15, 1968, I had been married for almost three years, been to one semester of college, worked as a waitress and while attending 'Beauty School' part time was a secretary at Texas Tech.
I felt right at home going to Beauty School.  I had been giving hair cuts and perms for years....at home.  Aqua Net, Dippity Do, New Dawn Color, Toni, Lilt and VO5 were staples at our house.  I have to say though, giving perms at the Beauty School/Shop was a lot less messy and easier.  The Shampoo Bowl sure beat hanging your head over the kitchen sink with stinky perm solutions running down your neck and over your face.

Beauty School was not just about fixing hair.  There was Theory Class with studies in Skin Care, Nails and Makeup Artistry.  I learned a lot...especially about Skin Care.

My experience had been a good face washing ordered by my Dad who disagreed with Maybelline on the amount of eye makeup and lipstick girls should wear. 

As for Nails, I had no clue, and was shocked that long fingernails did not have to grow out of your fingers.  You could glue them right on and paint them as red as Mae West's.  Pedicure...who knew feet could be so pretty...or so ugly.  Then there was Makeup Artistry.  I became a Revlon, CoverGirl, Maybelline Makeup Queen.  A mascara, lipstick and fake eyelash wearer.  All the while remembering my Dad's words, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and pretty is as pretty does".  It was a reminder to wash my face!

Besides learning to give a Superb Sassoon Sculpture Haircut and Commendable Color Coiffure...remarks on my State Boards...learning about Wigs, Wiglets, and Falls turned out to be the second most important aspect of becoming a Hair Designer.

After receiving my 'Operators' license, I went to work for McBrides Beauty Shop.  A job offered to the two top graduates from their school. 

In the years that followed working as a Hairdresser was an easy hire wherever we moved in Texas.

It was in 1969-70 that the training in Wigs, Wiglets and Falls kept me in the Operator/Hair Design business when we moved to Maryland.  Without a Maryland Operators License, I could not touch a hair on their Yankee head, but instead became known as the 'Wig, Wiglet and Fall Gal' from Big Hair Texas. 

Oh, by the way....my hair was really, really short in 1968. 

I should have had this button!


AtoZ Letter M-N ~ Mimeograph Paper & Newspaper

The paper is yellowed.  The worksheets are mimeographed.  The Good Housekeeping Pamphlets are OhSoRetro! 

Can you guess the years I am 'trippin' through?  Maybe you, too have memorabilia and memories from the 1960's.   Do you have a HOMEMAKING II Notebook/Scrapbook?  I DO!!!

I'm so glad I saved all of those mimeographed Homemaking assignments, all of the pamphlets distributed by Betty Crocker, Home Service Company's like the Edison Electric Company and Good Housekeeping.  The Improvised Equipment Assignment gave me some insight about being a life long improviser.  It began way back when I learned to make a paper cup out of a sheet of mimeograph paper.  The cup was stapled to the assignment...I won't test it for holding water...it's 51 years old.   

 The best find in the assignment was the improvised waste paper bag made from The San Angelo Standard Times Morning Edition, May 9, 1964.  I'm going to plug in my Presto Percolator, grab my favorite cup, Elsie's Cream and a teaspoon of Imperial.  Won't you join me in a cup of Folgers and the morning paper....
Are you curious about what happened to Winnie Winkle and Brenda Starr?   I was. 
*Winnie Winkle was published from 1920-1996 in more than 100 newspapers.  Stories and artwork by Martin Branner.  Winnie Winkle was one of the first comic strips about working women and served as a reflection of the changing role of women in society.  (read more HERE)
*Brenda Starr was created in 1940 by Dale Messick.  Brenda Starr was portrayed as a glamorous, adventurous reporter, and at the height of the strips popularity it appeared in 250 newspapers.  The final strip was published on January 2, 2011.  (read more HERE)

PS...just in case you don't go back that far...Presto Percolator=Mr. Coffee...Elsie's Cream=Coffeemate...Imperial=Real Sugar.

Oh, and what about Mickey Mantel?  As you read, he was hitting home runs for the Yankees and continued to do so for four more years after this article was printed in 1964.  Known as the greatest switch hitter of all time, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.  (read more HERE)  I was a Mickey Mantle Fan...what a fun find after all these years!
Now, how about a Folgers re-fill...cream and sugar?


AtoZ Letter L~Lovely Long Locks...Not Likely!

Three out of the five of us were blessed with our Mothers full, thick, coarse and lovely head of hair.  Two of us inherited our father's half, thin, fine, male pattern baldness receding hairline, sideburns, uni-brow and facial hair.  It looked fine on my brother...he's a guy.

Not so much on ME!!!!

The Uni-brow was plucked away at age 13....right after the shaving of hairy legs and arm pits. 

Thank God for female hormones that prevented the inheritance of Dad's hairy chest.  More there than on his head.  Worked fine for my brother...he's a guy.

What genetic goof up causes hair follicles to sprout in all the wrong places? 

As you may have guessed, my hair issues have been around since, well...since the beginning.  Yep, I was born with a full head of long, baby fine, straight as string cat hair. 

Over the years my mother bobbed, permed, spit, braided, gooed, and cried over her first borns pitiful Pittman hair.  I was, after all, my fathers fault.

The second born was our fathers fault, too.  He was as bald as I was hairy.  When he reached his teens, his Uni-Brow was fully furrowed and his receding hair line was right in style with 77 Sunset Strip Star Kookie...aka Ed Byrnes.  Again...worked for him...not so much for me.

What did work for me was tweezers, rat tail combs, Aqua Net, Dippity Do, Lilt Perms, upperlip depilatory and the 1960's BIG HAIR-DO!  Who would have guessed that purposefully tangling, packing and frizzing one's hair would be the answer to looking like a Brunette Dolly Parton...from the neck up...paternal genes, again!  You won't be surprised to learn that all that 'Hair Care' eventually led me to a 'Hair Calling'.  I'll fill you in on the Letter 'O's post....'Operator'~It's A Comb Not a Wand!

By the time child number three came along the Pitiful Pittman Hair curse must have been broken.  My sister got all the right stuff for a lifetime of long, lovely locks.  I referenced her perfect pigtails and full bangs in Letter B's post...Bathing Beauty Bombs.

While her 'Maternal Folicles' grew and grew, mine didn't.  I had Long Length Folicle Failure'.  One hundred brush strokes a day will make your hair shine and stimulate growth.  Ha! That's bunk!  I lost chunks! 

I could go on and on with quips about extra body and volume shampoos that didn't work on my hair or my body.  Even though #3 child didn't need it for her hair, she used it anyway.  She got the extra body all right...on her thighs. 

She didn't heed the Do Not Use in the Shower warning!   I suggested she use Dawn on her long locks, thighs and legs.  It's label clearly states "dissolves fat that is otherwise difficult to remove." She threw her hairless brush at me.  I ducked...brother didn't...funny thing...after all those hundred strokes it never shined my hair like it shined his eye.

Three Blessed Heads on the left.  Two Not Likely Heads on the right.


AtoZ Letter K ~ Kitchen Bests

If ever there was a kitchen quote that best described Mother's Kitchen, this is the one.  For one thing, if we had guests...there was not a "No Matter Where"...it was the Kitchen, and as you might guess, they did like Mother's Kitchen Best!  The rest of us non-guests had no choice in the matter of where we ate...it was at the kitchen table.

There was no TV watching during meal time...we didn't have one.  There was little or no talking except for please pass the gravy or from Dad, "Sue, eat your okra."  Boiled okra was the one thing I could not even look at much less eat.  I would wash dishes every night for the next kabillion years to not have to eat that snotty, slimey stuff.  Which I did...wash dishes forever...after spewing the slime all over the dinner table.

Mother's kitchen was a Waste Not...PayDay's a Week Away kinda kitchen. She could stretch a 'Fryer' farther than the road from here to Dallas...and that was a long way from our kitchen. 

Fried Chicken was a Sunday Special with mashed potatoes and cream gravy, corn bread and banana pudding.  Every item on that menu was a result of some part of that Stretched Fryer...except for the pudding.  If you are from that era of 'Waste Not...Want Not' then you know what I'm talkin' about.

For instance...The Fryer...it was the Whole Chicken...bagged with skin, layers of globby fat and guts...pretty much everything but the head, feet and feathers.  I know you are dying to know how I know so much about Fryers.  Let's just say, I was the butcher!  I can still hear Mama sayin', "Sue, you are butcherin' that Fryer.  Pick it up off the floor and hold onto the leg.  It's a knife, not a saw...here's a bandaid!"