I Wuz Just Thinking: The Way We Were

The Squaw skirt was all the rage when I was in elementary school.

Some memories are worth packing away and keeping forever, especially such school girl fashions as squaw skirts and Poodle skirts.

I recently attended a dinner meeting with some of my former high school classmates. While our 60th class reunion was being discussed,  my mind began wandering back to the fourth grade at Eastview Elementary.

Seems as though some of the mothers must have gotten together and discussed the newest fashion trend of the ‘squaw skirt.” I think it was a great conspiracy. One Monday morning, several of the girls arrived wearing these very colorful skirts with peasant-style blouses.

Many yards of materials, elastic waistband, and different colors of rick-racks, laces, and ruffles were used.

The ones I recall coming to class wearing the newest fashions were Darrelynn Gleghorn, Kay Buckalew, Vicki Kennedy, Susan Climer, Marilyn Green, and Linda Lou Horton.  There may have been others, but the bright and colorful skirts worn by these fourth graders still stand out in my mind.

A little later, these same styles of skirts were called square dance skirts, patio skirts, circle skirts, Western patio, Southwest, and Mexican skirts.  All were very similar with lots and lots of rick-rack, laces, ruffles, and layers of fabrics.

Then about the seventh or eighth grade, the “Poodle skirt” became the new fashion. These skirts were made with a full circle of felt or wool type fabric that had a small circle cut for the elastic waist.  Being a full circle, there were no seams. With this type of material, no hems had to be sewn.

A large Poodle applique was sewn or glued to the skirt with ribbon simulating a dog leash extending around the skirt.

Later, other appliques were placed on the same style of skirt, showcasing different breeds of dogs, cats, rabbits, butterflies, flowers, fruits, and just about anything an individual wanted.

Sweaters were usually worn with the Poodle skirt and a twelve-inch square nylon scarf adorned the neck.  We wore Bobby socks and ‘saddle shoes’ usually black and white or brown and white.

Sometimes, girls wore petticoats beneath these skirts to pouf them out.  Some were made of many layers, sometimes up to eight yards of nylon netting.

The Poodle skirts were worn to school and especially worn to the Bobby Sock Dances, as they were called.

Most of our mothers sewed the family’s clothes, using fabrics purchased at the Five and Dime stores Some of the small neighborhood grocery stores sold yards of fabrics but never had a large selection.

Many fashion styles have come and gone as the years passed, but I still remember the squaw skirts and the poodle skirts with fond memories as if they were still hanging in my closet and I had gone to a Bobby Sock Dance last night.

Some memories are worth packing away and keeping forever.

I wuz just thinking.

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