Friday, August 17, 2012

Fifty Fridays - #3

Peering out from under the stack of copy for the newsletter, I see that it's Friday!  Already?  I have to catch up with everyone but I'll just share this photo.

This is my mother and her raccoon coat.  The facts?  It was taken outside the fourth house we lived in after moving to the west coast.  (It's the third that I actually remember.)  I turned six that winter but for some reason I'm cut out of the picture - only my leg is there.  I guess I wasn't the star that day.  I have to say there was nowhere to take those sleds - it was a very small yard. 

The memories it evokes are many.  But this is about  my mother's fur coat which is part of her love story.  When she and Dad married, so she told me, they made each other promises as young couples do.  She promised that he would never be hungry - and she certainly kept that promise.  And, he?  Well, he promised that she would never be cold.  They came from the Maritimes and the winters there were cold. Not so much here but I know that they were colder sixty years ago than they are now.

Dad kept his bride warm with a fur coat.  Mink was out of the question on his budget, but raccoon was doable.  I remember the long, soft hairs of this coat.  The soft, downy fur underneath.  I loved the wavy nature of the colors and the way they blended into each other.  It seems funny when raccoons roam through our neighborhoods now, but I had never seen a real raccoon then.  And, of course, now some would shudder to think of wearing the fur of those cute little yard bandits.

Mom took great care with her coat.  As soon as the weather became too warm to wear it, the coat went straight into the Eaton's fur storage.  It didn't reappear until fall chill deepened into winter.  I remember one year, being allowed to wear it to high school.  It was perishing cold and for some reason, Mom thought I needed to be extra warm.  I felt so grown-up and was sure the stares were envious.  Now, I'm not so sure of the envy.

In the 70's, Mom gave the coat to me and sad to say, I didn't give it the care that she had.  Eaton's no longer had summer storage and I couldn't have afforded it anyway.  But I do have two very clear memories of wearing it then.   One in the early days of coat ownership:  me with hair in long braids, wearing the coat while driving our bright, yellow Boss 302 Mustang in Vancouver.  Now you know where our money really went.  And, two, in the ealy 80's: dressing up as my favorite rock artist for a party at my sister's.  I chose Janis Joplin -I would still choose her today! - and the coat worked perfectly with the rose-colored glasses and the rest of the costume. 

Unfortunately, time and lack of care were not kind to the fur and it lived its last days in a trunk.  I salvaged the inner lining which was a lovely dark green wool plaid for my rug hooking but the fur was beyond help. 


Rudee said...

Not only was it likely warm, but she looked so stylish wearing that coat!

Pam Lofton said...

It's a good thing we have such wonderful memories to keep us warm when the coats wear out. Your mother was definitely stylin' in that coat! I'm sure you were too and that the stares were those of envy! :)

J.G. said...

Funny how times change. Fur is creepy to me now, but I remember when it was The Thing, back in the day. Now some wildlife foster programs accept old fur coats and use them to comfort the orphaned babies. At least those coats get to finish out their usefulness in service, not just vanity.

(Not that I blame you or your mom! Hope it doesn't sound like that.)

Mimi said...

Your Mum looks fab in that coat; if I hadn't been told, i would not have known that it was not mink.
Really enjoyed reading this coat story Stephanie, even with sad(ish) ending.
I'm sure you looked great wearing it too, and you certainly salvaged what you could of it, so it lives on.


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