“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

When I went to get the papers, I was surprised by how warm it is, 43˚, which feels tropical compared to the last few days. The dusting of snow disappeared last night when the rain started. It was a heavy rain, and I loved hearing it on the roof. Today is still, not even the slightest breeze. Winter is on a bit of a hiatus again.

When I was a kid, most warm winter days didn’t entice me to go out and play. The dark came too early. I’d get home from school, change out of my school clothes and usually turn on TV. The walk to and from school was enough. The cold sapped my energy. I swear I shivered all the way home despite the layers.

When I watch the old comedies like Leave It to Beaver, I notice their dinner tables always include bread, but not the rolls or baguettes or Italian bread I sometimes put on the table when I have guests. It was good old white bread. I’m guessing it was Wonder Bread. I never saw a single character eat the bread.

When I lived in Ghana, I wore dresses every day. Peace Corps had warned us ahead of time so my mother and I went shopping. I remember the lilac colored shift as that was the one I wore the most. I think I have several pictures of me wearing it. They are from early on during my first year. After that, I bought cloth and had dresses made. The seamstress charged about 3 cedis, roughly translated into $3.00, for each dress. I bought the cloth in the market. I never wore anything else but those dresses. I don’t know what happened to my lilac shift. I hope I gave it to someone who wore it until the end of it.

When I went back to Ghana, pants were acceptable. A few of my former students even wore jeans. I had brought one dress with me that first trip. I even wore it, once. While there I had a couple of blouses made from the Ghanaian cloth I had bought in Makola Market. On my second trip, I had a dress made but mostly I wore pants. I do miss all the beautiful outfits Ghanaian women wore. Each was made with brightly colored and patterned cloth. I have a couple of those dresses. One was a gift from Grace. It is traditional, in three pieces: a top, a bottom and a matching piece of cloth to tie around the waist. The cloth is beautiful. It is Ghana.

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4 Comments on ““Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.””

  1. Bob Cohen Says:

    Hi Kat,

    When we moved from NYC to Dallas in 1953 the only bread available in grocery stores was soft white bread made by local bakeries exactly like and including, ‘Wonder Bread’. My family was used to Rye Bread, Pumpernickel, French Baguettes, Bagles and many other varieties that were common in an immigrant filled city like New York. We only ate the white bread stuff for toast at breakfast or in our school lunch sandwiches.

    Dallas back then was a backwater of culinary styles. The locals ate things like Chicken Fried Steak, Steak, burgers, meatloaf, Barbecue, fried chicken and Tex-Mex style Mexican food. Corn or flour tortillas were served in Mexican restaurants. If I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner or lunch they always had a plate stacked high with Wonder bread on the table. Even the few Chinese restaurants served white bread along with the chow mein. 🙂

    You and I grew up in coastal cities influenced by the breads of the world. TV shows back then were modeled after and aimed at an audience of the majority of people living in the great hinterlands in places like Dallas, WASPs. When I was in college in 1966 the first bagel baker moved here from NYC and opened a bagel bakery. My WASP college roommate was amazed and delighted when he ate his first bagel at age 18. One Christmas vacation he and I drive to NYC and he was flabagasted by the crowds of people and the variety of foods he had never even heard of in his parents home. Thankfully, through globalization places like Dallas are filled with people from every corner of the globe and the varieties of food available in grocery stores reflects that variety.

    Another sunny day with temperatures in the mid 60s. Winter temperatures are supposed to arrive tomorrow.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      We always ate Wonder Bread unless we went out to eat. Our Chinese restaurant always served chunks of baguette with every order, even take home. That’s when I found out how good real bread is. My mother started buying different breads when we were older. The first was Scali bread. We all loved it. My mother’s grand bread experiment passed the test. After that we ate most every sort of bread. Marbled rye is one of my favorites.

      I wish we had had access to different food. Italian and Chinese were the only sorts of restaurants close to my town when I was growing up. I thought them ethnic. It wasn’t until Ghana that I tasted all sorts of foods. The Lebanese restaurants were favorites. They were cheap, always important to a Peace Corps volunteer with a limited living allowance. I came to love hummus, falafel, baba ghannoush and pita bread. I ate Indian food, still a love of mine. I remember the first Indian restaurant where I ate looked like what I imagined an Indian restaurant would look. I ordered without knowing. I wasn’t disappointed.

      I love seafood, except for oysters. Clams in any form are the perfect food. My clam dip is killer!

      With all my travels, I have eaten a wide variety of foods. I am willing to try anything no matter how bad it looks. IU’m glad for that!!

      • Bob Cohen Says:

        I had an aunt and uncle who lived in the Brookline neighborhood of Boston. Whenever they visited my grandmother in NYC they brought a loaf of marble rye bread. Marble rye bread was not available to my knowledge in NYC in the 1950s and 1960s.

        Both Italian and Chinese restaurants in the U.S. in those days were very Americanized. It’s only been in the last 20 or so years that truly authentic restaurants opened here in the Dallas Ft. Worth area.

        I enjoy middle eastern food but Indian food, except for Naan bread, makes me nauseous. When I flew to Hong Kong a few years ago on Cathy Pacific airlines there were a large number of south Asians going to India. They all ordered special Indian meals. When they all opened up the top of their meals the odor of the food made me nauseous. 🙁

      • katry Says:

        Brookline is one of the towns bordering Boston’s neighborhoods. It is one of the richest. Tom Brady lives in Brookline.

        All the Brookline squares have the most varied restaurants. When I went to Boston more often, I’d meet friends in Brookline.

        Brookline has always had bagel shops. It has a large Jewish population so you can get all sorts of food not so available anywhere else.

        I love Indian food and haven’t noticed the odor even in the restaurants.

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