When I arrived at church for the 11.45 service, there were lots of people still lingering from the earlier 10 a.m. service, chattering away as if they had no homes to go to.
On closer inspection (Nosey Parker that I am) it was clear that this was a Baptism Gathering, complete with darling baby in a white satin suit, rather like Prince Georgie Porgy in appearance, and lots of small children in
floaty party dresses. Well, obviously, the small boys weren’t in party dresses, only the small girls. Honestly, sometimes you are just SO pedantic!
was drawn, however, to the baby’s mother who looked Absolutely Fabulous in a Fifties style outfit, a blue spotted dress with a full skirt over lacy petticoats, a tiny waist cinched in with a wide belt and the cutest red titfer balancing precariously
on her brown, curly locks. She could have stepped straight out of a sixty year old fashion magazine.
When I was a pre-teenager, I wanted to look like that.
Unfortunately, my dear Mum, who made all my clothes, was more into Peter Pan collars than sweetheart necklines and she didn’t really hold with all that petticoat business. She was also very good at what you might call Sound of Music dresses. No, she
never actually took down the curtains to be sewn up into play-clothes (how did Maria manage all those new outfits in no time at all? I have pondered long and hard on this) but she was good at Heidi dresses with laced bodices. My sister, Maggie, and I
were always dressed alike, possibly because our Mum thought we looked a bit like Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret when they were our age. Occasionally we wore the same outfit, but in different colours – I distinctly remember a suit with pleated
skirt and boxed jacket, mine was turquoise, Maggie’s was blue. We had matching straw boaters, complete with ribbons. I have to take my hat off to her (straw boater or alternative headgear) she did her very best to ensure that we were “well
turned out.” It was just a pity she hadn’t embraced the Fashions of the Fifties, possibly because of her fear of teddy boys about whom she warned us so often that these mysterious creatures took on a mystical, if dread, attraction.
I think back to my own four children’s christenings. For the Eldest of the Darling Daughters, I dusted down the Going Away outfit I had worn at my wedding but as to the
rest, my memory has failed me. I shall have to look out the photographs to remind myself. I am, however, quite, quite sure that I never looked half as stunning as the Fifties Mum in church today.
The Youngest of the Darling Daughters has her father to thank for the success of her Christening. For several weeks before the big event, I was “proper poorly” though valiantly asserting all the time that
I would be “all right on the night.” When it became clear that I was far from alright, Mr B took over, my Knight in Shining Armour, and handled all the catering to the manner born. I remember looking at the table, laden with food, and recognising
how hard he had tried to lay the table the way I would have done – right down to the way he had interleaved the napkins with the paper plates. Nothing was exactly the way I would have done it – but somehow that made it extra poignant and made me
appreciate the trouble he had taken even more. I wore a dress I had made myself and an extremely large hat which served to hide my wan-looking face.
Christening was the subject of an article I wrote for the Slough Evening Mail – if you click on The Way We Were link to the left hand side of this blog you will be able to read all about it for yourself.
There is no mention in the article of what I was wearing though My Boy wore the christening dress which I had fashioned, by hand, out of the train from my wedding dress. His sisters were disgusted that I had thought fit to
put their brother in a dress.
Then, tonight, a telephone call from grand-daughter Hazel, full of the exciting news that, as a resut of auditions held today, she has been given the part of Sandy in
the Limelight Theatre Group's next production of Grease! She is beside herself with joy and so are we, though Mr B, of course, is saying that he knew all along that nobody else could be so well-suited for the part as our Hazel.
Well-suited? Yes, yes, yes! She will need to wear a Fifties dress, with full skirt and petticoats and a wide belt circling her trim waist.
And I - yes, I will live my
Fifties Dream through her!