Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Books and corsets

Another day reading to the kids yesterday.  I picked some of their favorites this time.
Henny was born with arms.  This made her decidedly different from the other chicks and her life wasn't easy because of it but in some circumstances she was at a distinct advantage. The pictures are quite funny when you realize you're looking at a chicken with arms.

 This one was meant for Adelaide's class but when Elizabeth saw it in the tote she pulled it out and said she wanted me to read it to the second graders because she looovvved it.  It's told completely in dialogue and amazing pictures, no narration at all.  Fish comes to find snail in the storybook they live in with the exciting news there is another book with a whole ocean and big adventure waiting for them. Snail is too timid to leave and likes to read stories about kitties, not pirates.  Fish leaves for big adventure without him.  Well, it's not so much fun alone and snail takes the brave plunge to adventure.
 This is a really interesting story about a guinea fowl without spots. She knows she is different and just wants to fit in so she sends away for spots and they arrive in a box.  But some are too big, some too shiny, some too small, some not fit for a guinea fowl, some not spots at all.  In the end she finds some that are just the right fit for her.  The last line makes the whole point "So the best spots to choose if it's friends that you seek, are the spots that you find put a smile on your beak."  Wonderful!
 March is Reading Month and it's also Women's History month and it was always my habit to read books about strong, brave and smart girls during March.  Fiona's Luck was a good choice because it was also St. Patrick's Day.  Luck abounded in Ireland before the big people came.  In order to savae the luck for themselves, the king of Leprechauns gathered all the luck and locked it away for safe keeping.  But his act meant that there was NO luck to be found in Ireland. People went hungry, crops failed.  Fiona found a way to trick the King into letting the luck out and restoring it to the land.  She used her wits!

 Same with Beatrice.  She and her mother live in the northern lumber camps in Michigan and they are down to their last bowl of porridge.  Beatrice's mother tells her there are only two ways to make a living there, lumbering or outsmarting the giant that lives over the hills and unfortunately Beatrice was too small for either. Beatrice asks her mother if the Giant is smart.  "You don't have to be smart if you are rich," her mother tells her. Ha! Beatrice uses her wits and outsmarts the giant with great skill.  Just a clever little girl.

"If, of thy mortal goods, thou art bereft, And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left, Sell one & from the dole, Buy Hyacinths to feed the soulMuslihuddin Sadi

After I left school I stopped for a program my daughter was hosting at the Lowell Historical Museum.  We were treated to an understanding of women's clothing in Victorian times. The speaker arrived in her nightgown and proceeded, after a lively presentation of exactly what it took for women to be fashionable from Civil War to the 1890s, to get dressed.  You can see on the table behind her she brought many examples.  It was a fascinating and very interesting afternoon.

First thing after taking off your gown you begin with the underwear.  A word that was never, ever uttered.

The undies were open in the crotch.  There was no "seat" because once you got all those hoops, petticoats and skirts on you could no way maneuver them up over your hips to sit and relieve yourself.  So, the crotch area was open for the breeze.
  First after the undies, the stockings because if you didn't put them on first, you would never be able to bend over in the corset later.
then the shoes
the corset with metal stays that absorbed your sweat and stayed wet and rusted
unlike on television, you could pull the laces on your own corset

for this day's purposes she wore just one petticoat but women wore many. The more petticoats, the more oomph to your skirt.
camisole to hide the corset
and jacket.  
I had to leave and get back home so I didn't see the hat and reticule. This outfit was one of many for the day.  Morning dress, going out for a walk dress (this one),  accepting callers dress, dinner and/or evening dress.  Women were tortured.  Can you imagine this in your heat, Australia friends?  We need to all thank Amelia Bloomer, the woman who was brave enough to wear a split skirt, gathered at the ankles and calf length. 

Please, please, please, someone who uses blogger tell me how to do the picture on the title so it goes all across the page?

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