Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The presentation was really not a big deal. The "big deal" came from the fact that I agreed in July to develop the character and the skit for a Christmas party. I have been preparing for it for the past four months. I defined a character: "Ina, the Ghost of Hard-Times Christmas." I developed a skit for the character – just reading a letter that Grandma Ina wrote to my dad on December 21, 1932, in the midst of her Christmas preparations. I titled the presentation, "No Skimpy Christmas Here." I searched for a dress, a housecoat or "frumpy frock," and decided to make one. I bought an authentic housedress pattern copyrighted by the McCall Pattern Company in 1931. Making it was a trial that inspired me to sew again and learn more about pattern alteration. In my mother's button box, I found bright red vintage plastic buttons for the gray cotton coat-styled dress. I made a muslin apron and tucked Grandma Ina's poinsettia hanky into one of the pockets. I crocheted a simple triangular shawl of red yarn and anchored it over my shoulders with a large safety pin. Today was the day that I dressed in character and presented the skit. I believe it was well received.

Here's an excerpt from the letter: "Well, you see, our Christmas has cost next to nothing for what we bought was necessary anyway, but we've had a big time this hard times Christmas. Everything looks different when you look at it from Robinson Crusoe's standpoint – surrounded by a sea of depression and things show up at a more real value. We appreciate the actual values of things. So we're going to have a very merry Christmas. No skimpy Christmas here!"

Mike set up our video camera (which we haven't used in years) and recorded the presentation. We haven't previewed it yet. KW


Hallie said...

Looks neat! I think the shoes you choose work well and the red shawl is a nice addition, too. Did the skit get people reminiscing?

Kathy said...

I bought a pair of slippers but voted against them in the end. The shoes are just an old pair from my closet. Discussion did not ensue after the presentation because Santa came in and encouraged the gift exchange. But one member did show a battered volume of poetry that had been her parents gift to each other on Christmas 1931. Another asked me if I knew of Kit, the American Girl Doll, who is apparently a girl of the Great Depression. She said that after reading Kit's story, she was inspired to write the story of her girlhood (she was born in 1928) for her family. Of course, our member who grew up at Gilbert really enjoyed it. XO

murray.warnock said...

Congratulations! It sounds like your skit has been such a fun project - an excuse to do a lot of interesting things that you might not get around to otherwise. Glad Dad recorded it for posterity!

Kathy said...

It has been fun. I don't believe I would have attempted to make a dress from an original 1931 pattern had it not been for this project. Several members mentioned that I had captured the house dress. And it has inspired me to do more with "retro," including sewing projects. KW