Friday, April 10, 2009

the uniform

I’m down in southern Oregon, where I grew up. My mother no longer lives in the same knotty pine cabin on Dark Hollow Road, but it’s still great to come down here for a visit. Slowly she’s giving me things she’s held on to a lifetime and yesterday I received her American Airlines stewardess uniform from 1953! In the photo here, found online, it drapes loosely across the mannequin. On me it’s tight as hell, but that’s not terrible. Beautiful navy gabardine, I have coveted this garment, hung in the back of a closet, my entire life. It even has the original wings.

15 comments:

Sean Casey said...

So can we expect a photo of you wearing it in your next post?

CAP said...

We're getting into weird territory here.

It's like the the start of a Richard Brautigan story or something...

harold hollingsworth said...

I sense Halloween might be fun this year...

ivan007 said...

I know this covetesness. I coveted my father's tools from the first moment I encountered them. I now have almost all of them, as he is too frail to use his workshop any more.
You know your parents are ageing when they start giving you back things you have given them ...

Richard Schemmerer said...

yeah
it's like
"if dresses could talk"
I have a few pieces from my father like nice leather gloves

we could do an exhibit just displaying momentos from our families

my mother is funny
she wants a ring I have and she strongly believes that she will outlive me
I can see a conceptual art piece in the making with you inter-acting with the uniform and than changing personality becoming your..... to be continued

Eva said...

At some point I'll wear + photograph the jacket. Harold, you might be surprised at how - well, unHalloween-like it is. It could be an Armani or Lauren, it is that smooth and the shoulders are not exaggerated at all. Unfortunately the skirt is way too tight so the real "uniform" I won't be able to pull off.

And ivan007, the suit is the tip of the iceberg. She also showed me all her old boxes and cases of oil paints, much of the paint still soft in the old tubes. I remember them so well. And the smell!

CAP - would like to hear what you mean. Our histories are complicated to say the least. I've written some of it here, bits and pieces. Even the Lana Turner story, it's almost chilling how many similaries there were.

CAP said...

Don't get me wrong, I like it. And for me a lot of the charm of your blog comes from your forthright dealing with personal sources for your work and attitudes toward art. You always come across as such a nice person!

It's a pleasure to read such direct and concise prose about your material and history.

It's just the thing of measuring yourself so closely, or literally, against your mother seems maybe a little obsessive - when we get to fitting on an old air hostess uniform. you know....

For some reason Psycho or Brautigan's surreal tales of characters veering off on weird trajectories comes to mind.

Although air hostesses, are certainly one of those glamorous roles, your source material would draw on. I just wonder at this stage of your life about getting a little too 'into it'.

BTW, there wasn't a little pillbox hat to go with the uniform, was there?

Then again maybe I'm missing the humor to all this.

Sheree Rensel said...

Eva! That uniform is so COOL! Wow! Look at the style! They don't design things like that anymore. It is so funny because I think I must have seen one of your "tweets" about a stewardess uniform or maybe it was here. I thought you were joking! I can see the attraction. I would love to see a pic of you wearing this! Nice! Very nice!

Eva said...

Well, there are several interesting aspects to the unifrom.

First off, I always wore (+ sold) vintage clothes. Even as recently as 2003, I was selling old clothes at Keep Em Flying on NW 21st. I loved vintage before it was called vintage, around the same time I got into "nostalgia" as a teenager. So you see, CAP, I just always liked that uniform of Mom's. If it was not hers, I would still have liked it. Even today I still have jackets from the 1940s that I bought in the 80s for a couple of bucks and they are not only beautiful but indestructible. And those jackets (as with this) look great with jeans. You mix the styles. It's not about going back to the 50s literally.

This may be hard to explain in a quick way, but to receive this uniform - and indeed to examine these kinds of "glamour" aspects that mom's generation handed to me - has been a slow heal for me, a realigning of messages. And a bit of a healing between me and my mother. I rejected so many things and then came back 'round to them. To receive her uniform from her, to hear about it and what it meant to her - that was like a retrieval of her past, the one which was lovely before everything got fucked up, when all was still bright and beautiful. No, she didn't say those words at all and wouldn't speak that language, but I know that it's so.

It was not just a glamour thing you see. It was her bit of independance, her foray into being a young working woman before everything changed.

namastenancy said...

The mother/daughter relationship is so fraught with emotion. I respect you for being able to write about it. It seems like there's a lot of affection between you and your mother, inspite of what may or may not have happened in the past. And uniforms - WOW! Meanings on so many different levels.

Anonymous said...

OK here it is.

E

CAP said...

Thanks for that.

It makes more sense to me now. Although I'm probably the only one that needs more.

Sean Casey said...

Nice Photo Eva.

Looking sharp!

Eva said...

Thanks. I actually posted this link and then took it down... ah the convoluted relationship with the self-image...

namastenancy said...

You look utterly fabulous!