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