This is my grandmother. I don’t know what year (or even what decade) it was taken. Like many of the old photos I have, it was taken from too far away and the detail is poor.
My grandmother wore slacks only once that I know of. She just tried them on to show everyone and then changed back into her dress. I was not there for the momentous occasion and I don’t think anyone even took a picture. One of my aunts told me about it later. I was bitterly disappointed and complained to my grandmother about not getting to see her in pants. She said she would put some on again sometime but she never did.
I have been wearing mostly dresses for the past couple of months, enough that now when I put on a pair of slacks they feel a little strange and wrong for the the first fifteen minutes or so and I think how strange pants must have felt to my grandmother, who never wore them.
I like dresses but I feel a little freer in pants because it seems to me that there are things you can’t or shouldn’t do in a dress. One of those things is sitting on the ground and yet, in this picture my grandmother is sitting on the ground in a dress and I’ve seen other pictures of women, including one of my mother in a lovely circle skirt, sitting on the ground while wearing dresses. Women used to do everything in dresses. They didn’t put on pants to garden or scrub the floor.
It’s sort of funny how what seems normal and right changes through the years and how strong are those feelings of “normal” and “right” – as if what’s normal now always was and always will be normal.