Dressing Up: Times Past


© irene waters 2016

Last month’s prompt Collections certainly showed that some collections were common over generations and geographical differences whilst other remembered collections have become un/less acceptable to collect now with our greater knowledge of the world. My favourite collection however had to be the collection of writing that Jules had kept since her first piece at the age of 10. I’d love to have even one piece of writing from my youth.

This month’s prompt is going back to childhood and play. It can be yours, your childrens or grandchildren specifically looking at dress up play. Who did you dress up as? I’m sure you did it as did probably every child through time, although I could be wrong. Perhaps in some cultures this is not a common thing to do. Would love to find out. I am guessing that with this prompt we will find huge differences between generations. For the silent generation, without television, who did they try to emulate by wearing a similar costume. Did their hero’s come from the picture theatre or perhaps books or maybe they simply wanted to be like their mother and dress up in the high heels.

As a young child we didn’t have television despite it being available to the Baby Boomer generation. I lived in rural Australia and perhaps we didn’t own one because there was no transmission although I can remember standing in the main street watching the televisions playing in the shop windows. I did see television when I went to visit my Grandmother for the Xmas holidays and it was probably there that our love of playing cowboys and Indians came.

I dressed up as Annie Oakley. My brother was always just a cowboy. Most of our games did not need costumes as we could shoot people with our two fingers no matter how we dressed.  I can remember tottering on my mother’s high heels but the more I ponder the less I think that dressing up played a large part in our lives. We did go to the odd fancy dress party and we had some pretty odd costumes but one that seemed to recur for me was Little Bo Peep, and I am the most unlikely little Bo Peep going.

Unlike my nephews, both European city dwellers of the Gen Z group, who dress up all the time. They have costumes for all occasions, including play. It would appear to me that all the characters they dress as are movie characters that have a huge life outside the screen such as star wars and of course Spider man.

Hope you join in, telling your own, your children’s or grandchildren’s dressing up  habits, even if only in the comments. For rules see here.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
This entry was posted in Memoir, Past Challenge, photography, Times Past and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Dressing Up: Times Past

  1. With me you have to go back to the 40’s and 50’s. Belonging to a poor family there were no cowboy or cowgirl costumes. Almost every kid on the block dressed up as a bum or a ghost every year. In those days we used to get money pennies, nickels and dimes as a treat. Believe this or not, we also used to go around on Thanksgiving dressed like beggars, knock on doors and say; “Anything for Thanksgiving”? We received money then as well. That stopped when I was about ten or eleven. Now that you are up to speed about the olden days, I can fast forward to my own children.
    They dressed as Bat Man, Superman, Spiderman, Bums, Mummy’s and several other characters. My daughter for some reason went as a Punk Rocker for about four years in a row. It was probably because it was the only time I let her spray her hair purple. By that time candy was the treat. They are all in their late 30’s and 40’s now and my grand children have taken over the trick or treating. However their parents or a group of designated parents always accompanies the children. When I went trick or treating it was just the kids, no parents and we stayed out until nine pm. and if it was a Friday or Saturday even later. We all made it home safely.
    I have recorded about 68 years of trick or treating. I hope you enjoyed it. :o)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for taking us through trick or treating. Halloween didn’t feature in my childhood at all and has really only come to Australia in the last few years, this year for some reason it was non-existent. At least where I live. I laughed at you trying the same for Thanksgiving. My husband did the same at Christmas in England with carols and would get paid and so at other times of the year when he needed money for the bus fare home he would try his luck carol singing. Having heard his voice I’m sure they paid him to go away.
      The saddest change between the generations is probably the safety aspect. In your day it was safe but parents now are not prepared to risk their children as it seems that there is more crime against children happening on our streets and you can’t take the risk. The same applies here. Thanks for that 68 years it was wonderful to read your halloween story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. noelleg44 says:

    Do love Little Bo Peep! We had no money for costumes, so we were invariably hobos, ghosts, witches, or cowboys. We took our just walking son out for his first Halloween wearing a cowboy hat and a brown paper bag vest. It crinkled and rustled so we told everyone he was a rustler! Candy went to my husband’s office!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a USA Baby Boomer the first thing that came to mind was Halloween. Unfortunately I don’t have any of our childhood Halloween photos but I can share with you our current Halloween Costumes. I don’t really remember dressing up for any other Holiday. Also when I was in Elementary School every Wednesday was Assembly where boys wore white shirts, ties and black or navy blue pants, girls wore white blouses and usually navy blue or black skirts. There one of the teachers would lead us in patriotic songs like My Eyes have seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord, John Henry was a Steel Driving Man or inspirational songs like I’ve Got High Hopes. I guess more or less cultural indoctrination!!

    Now like most kids growing up during the 1960s in America I did have my Easter Bonnet and a nice outfit for Easter mainly because we went to church!! Mostly as a little girl I jumped rope, played House, Hopscotch, tag, Red Light ~~ Green Light, rode bikes, ran races none of which required me to dress up.






    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing all these wonderful memories Deborah. We sang today at my mother’s concert the Battle hymn of the republic. It was a rousing song. I had no idea it was such a moving song. I had learnt different words to the music but the music itself never failed to stir. Like you most of our games didn’t need dressing up.


  4. colinmathers says:

    As the parent of Gen Z boys, I remember a Halloween party when my oldest was three and went as Spiderman. I still clearly remember my amusement to see more than half a dozen 3 year old Spidermen all sitting in a circle. THe girls were a little more varied, fairies, witches of various types, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. colinmathers says:

    Did I ever show you the movie of Alex at the age of less than 2 after he had been bitten by a radioactive spider?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You were an adorable model for all your costumes. Did your mom make them? They are individually beautiful.

    I made my own costumes which probably looked better in my imagination than on me . My favorite costume was one my mom made for me. I was a bride, dressed in a white satin gown decorated with rhinestones around a sweetheart neckline. Mom covered a brown velvet hat in white satin pieces for a gorgeous headpiece. I wore it for two year and have no idea what happened to the costume. No photos, my parents took very few photos of me ever. The costume is memorable for a few reasons. My mother and I had a miserable relationship. That she made this costume for me was a miracle. She couldn’t sew and didn’t have a machine; I think a friend helped her. It was the only white bridal gown I ever wore, as I wore a pink patterned dress that I made for my wedding.

    I designed and sewed my sons’ costumes until they grew out of the whole event. When little kids they were: a court jester with a tri-corn hat, Captain Hook (made from a pajama pattern that I altered), space explorers with shiny lame outfits, safari hunters, and one year my youngest had to be a toucan. I have no idea where he got that idea but nothing else would do, so somehow I made him a toucan costume. Someplace we have a few photos but who knows where?

    Now my grands go out in costume, some of them made by their moms. The holiday has gotten so commercial but the kids still have fun. That’s the most important.

    Thanks for a fun prompt, Irene.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No Mum didn’t make the Annie Oakley but she may have made the others. I don’t remember. What a lovely memory of your mother. So important especially if your relationship was a bit fraught. You are so clever being able to sew. I resisted learning at school and hated my mother trying to teach me. As a consequence I still give stuff to Mum for sewing. The toucan costume sounds like fun, as do all the others, with a little challenge thrown in.
      Thanks for sharing your memories Sharon.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Weekend Coffee Share 6th November 2016 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  8. Pingback: Times Past: Dressing Up | Musings of a Retiring Person

  9. macmsue says:

    I always enjoy reading others’ posts so thanks for providing the topics. My contribution is here http://wp.me/p4d8rD-iV

    Liked by 1 person

  10. julespaige says:

    While I like to ‘dress’ up in costumes…it isn’t so much a delight for my family.
    I like this prompt and will expand more on it soon.
    Thanks again for providing a theme and place for us to explore our memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: (nf) Dressing Up/ Roaring 20’s (11.19) | Jules in Flashy Fiction

  12. julespaige says:

    Dressing Up/ Roaring 20’s

    I’m not having luck with photos or links… I hope this works.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it did. A great lot of dressing up going on in your family. I can understand some of your family’s reluctance if you sent them out as a preying mantis or frog. Thanks for joining in Jules.

      Liked by 1 person

      • julespaige says:

        I sent you a photo…I think I was impatient and didn’t wait for all of my ‘adjustments’ on the photo…so it wouldn’t drag correctly from the word doc I put it in – I’ll have to try again. (all over again) I don’t have mac…and I think I need a ‘photo geek’. One of these days. 🙂
        Thanks for trying to help.

        It was one of my children who wanted to be a preying mantis…and basically we dressed him all in green and added extra legs to his hips…plus. I was the frog – difficult to be at a party and eat and drink when your hands are covered with green panty-hose – maybe thin green gloves would have been better.

        The grand wanted to be the construction truck, his daddy made that work. I’d like to see that!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the photo. It was great. Loved how you edited your face ( a skill you could teach me). I will respond via email.

        Liked by 1 person

      • julespaige says:

        Oh…for what I did. Most of my photos are just on my hard drive. I just used the edit option that came up when I clicked on the photo. It had different tip widths, and several color choices. You could erase and do some other stuff too. Maybe the same as some other photo apps. But I don’t have any at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have never tried editing – one day I might try playing around with them.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. My very first dress-up was for a Christmas show when I was in Grade one. I was something black – a crow, I think, in the background during one of the Christmas carols.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Xmas Trees:Times Past | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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