Quilting, Farming, Variety

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The New Coat

Oh it's so cool this morning! A cold front went through last night, dropping four tenths of an inch of rain over us; we seem to be in a weather sandwich where not much meat was put inside, meaning the heaviest rain always borders us on the north and south and we get the sprinkling in between. But -- we'll take every drop that falls and be thankful for it.

The cooler air makes us need our jackets whenever we go out to do the chores and it also brings to my memory the new coat Mama made for me when I was six years old. It went something like this:
If you have read my posts for a while, you are familiar with our Aunt Rhody, and how she gave us many of the things we had as payment for work Daddy did for her. Now and then she would send a bag of dresses she no longer wanted and Mama would use them to make things for herself or us girls. One such bag contained a coat, and although it would have fit Mama, she knew I needed a coat so she decided to cut it up and make one for me. I'm not sure of its color, but that doesn't matter; what was important to the coat was the black fur collar.

Since the coat was wool, it couldn't be washed, so Mama carefully ripped out the seams and pressed the pieces flat. The backside of the fabric was clean and bright so she used it for the front sides when she cut out the parts for the coat. Each day, after school, the coat was a little closer to being finished and the winds were also a little colder; I needed the coat.

Finally, Mama had the new blue coat all sewed together; she held it up for me to see. It was pretty, except--there around the neck was that black fur collar! Well, I just wouldn't wear it! Why had Mama put that ugly thing on my new coat! And I told Mama I wouldn't wear it; she said, "That makes the coat pretty and it will be so warm up against your face and neck!" Wanda took advantage of the situation and suggested maybe the fur came from a skunk and then I threw the coat across the bed and onto the floor.

The next morning I needed more than just a sweater so Mama made me put on the coat before leaving to catch the bus. As soon as I got out the door I pulled it off and left it lying on the front porch. Mama had been watching from the window; I struggled as she put the coat back on me and jerked it off, dropping it on the ground. Patiently Mama picked up the coat again and put it on me. All the way to the bus stop we battered back and forth with the coat, and when Mama picked up a little switch, I kept the coat on; once inside the bus, I held my book satchel tightly against my chest, hoping it would hide the black fur, and when my chin touched it, I was sure I could smell skunk.

At school, I hurried to the cloak room and hung the coat up before anyone had a chance to see it, but at recess the teacher made me put it on, and so I was forced to wear it and now everyone could see the ugly black fur. My best friend liked the coat and when I told her I didn't like it, she asked if she could wear it. Then other girls wanted to touch the fur and wondered from what kind of animal it came; maybe a bear or a black panther, or a rabbit? I was surprised and slowly touched the fur; it was soft and warm and Mama had brushed it until it shined.

Mama was surprised to see me wearing the coat that afternoon; she didn't ask any questions or mention the trouble we had that morning. "Mama, the girls at school thought my coat was so pretty and they all wished their coats had fur collars too," I said, "and it sure is warm around my neck! I like the coat now!"

Stay warm, Charlotte


  1. how cold did it get? We are one day from home now and just stopped and set up camp for the day. The wind has been so wicked the last two days that Mike can only handle the motorhome for about 6 hours of driving before he gives up for the day and says to heck with it his arms need a break-I know my weak arms would not be able to deal with it well and so does he so I don't offer to drive :)
    I will be glad to get home tomorrow .

  2. This is funny yet so touching Charlotte. I bet that coat sure did keep you warm.The cold and rain is on its way here now. It has been so pretty today, we got into the 80's but that's fixin to change. I fear summer is over. You take care and stay warm..Susie

  3. What a sweet coat your Mama made for you. Glad you decided you liked it after all.
    You asked about VAseline glass. If you look on the sidebar of my blog, you can click on the glassware category to find previous posts where I have shown some of the glass.
    There are some really good web sites out there that explain what it is and what it looks like in daylight and under a black light. I like this one:

  4. I love these little vignettes from your childhood Charlotte. I can just picture you pitching that coat onto the porch! Your Mama had lots of patience and wisdom.
    Our temperatures have dropped dramatically too, but we didn't get any rain when the front went through. I'm glad you got some. We'll just keep praying for more!

  5. Oh my! I had a good laugh. It reminds me of when my mother would make me wear socks under my sandals. I detested how it looked so as soon as I got on the bus, I took my socks off and put them in my pockets.

  6. This is a lovely heart warming story. Your Mama sounds like a sweetheart. She reminds me of my Mom. I don't know how a lot of us would have made it if our Moms hadn't had creative domestic skills. Great post. :)

  7. This brought back memories of my 're-done' clothes of childhood.
    We have frost warnings in North Alabama, so I'm picking green tomatoes and peppers this afternoon!

  8. Sweet, sweet story, Charlotte. And so typical of the way children think.... I'm glad your friends liked the fur collar, so you'd wear the coat and keep warm. I grew up on hand-me-down clothes too. I think it makes us more appreciative of everything we have now.

  9. I enjoyed your story about the coat. My mother was a great seamstress and sewed clothes for us all the time. I bet it was a very pretty coat, fur collar and all.

  10. I really enjoyed your story..we have such funny ideas about things when we're young, fortunately Mothers always know best..

  11. It was VERY cool here today, Charlotte- and frost is in the forecast tomorrow night.
    Loved the story... very sweet. Reminded me of Dolly Partons' song
    "Coat of many colors".

  12. I almost missed seeing this post...would hate to miss this touching little story. It's one of my favorites. Thanks for dropping by Colony Mtn. I always appreciate your company!

  13. I am going to have to take some time off work to read all your stories. What a blessing to have such wonderful memories.

  14. Loved this post. Just precious.

  15. Charlotte, what a terrific storyteller you are. This is a wonderful post. You have told the story so beautifully. I feel such compassion for that little girl--and her show of temper. How difficult it is to be a child; and how difficult it is, some times, to be a parent. Your mother sounds like a sensitive soul.

  16. That is just a beautiful story! Amazing the things we remember from our childhood, and this was lovely. :)