Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Fashion Police and the Voices from Beyond

There was a news anchor on TV recently who was talking about how the outfit she was wearing had busted a seam and the crew had to fix it before going on the air. “Casket ready,” she called herself, because she looked good from the front but not the back. She said there was no excuse for that. “It was a brand new dress,” after all. I shook my head, wondering why it didn’t occur to her that the outfit was too darn tight! They don’t sew those seams with steel thread and no matter how much you try, you can’t put a cup and a half of sugar into a one cup measuring cup. Most of the wardrobe malfunctions that happen with celebrities are because the fashion trends have a lot of people wearing clothing that could pass for a second layer of skin. I’m going to sound like an old Church Lady here, but when I was young if you couldn’t walk without a dress creeping up higher and higher with each step it was a like having a flashing billboard that read, “YOU NEED THE NEXT SIZE UP!” And in those days there was no such thing as forgoing wearing underwear because the seams would show under your dress, blouse or slacks. Going up a size takes care of that.

When I was in college in the early 1960’s I took several semesters of tailoring classes. (Do colleges even have full credit courses like that today in this post-Feminist Movement world?) Anyway, we took great pains in constructing clothing that fit perfectly and that meant no horizontal pucker lines could show up when you were standing up or walking. That was a big no-no then and it still is for me today although the rest of the world has left that rule back in the building with Elvis. That leaves “fashionable” woman constantly pulling at the bottom of their skin tight skirts. And nothing annoys me more when I watch an awards show or talk show on TV than seeing a woman with a skirt that is creeping dangerously close to London. Remember that old playground rhyme, “I see London, I see France. I see <Miley’s> underpants!”

When will flattering draping and tailoring that allows for easy movement come back into fashion? I hope I live long enough to see that happen, says the old lady whose all-time favorite fashion to was the shapeless hippie dresses from the ‘70s. I still have two of them hanging in the ‘vintage memory” section of my closet. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I also LOVED the tailored A-line sleeveless dresses from the prime of my life. (Think Audrey Hepburn riding her motor scooter around Paris in her narrow little dresses.) My ‘vintage memory’ section also has a skinny-Minnie, sleeveless A-line outfit. If I tried to put it on today, the seams would split or I’d get stuck in the garment like the time I tried on a pair of Spanx and it took me ten minutes to get the dang thing back off again. By the way, why do we call undergarments, “a pair of underpants” or “a pair of panties?” Why do we say we’re going shopping for a pair of blue jeans? Or is it just me that does that? A pair of socks makes sense but we don’t wear underpants in pairs---unless you’re planning to reveal your tidy-whities, then movies stars have been known to double layer their Jockeys.

Can you tell I haven’t been out of the house in more days than I can count on the fingers of one hand? I’m reduced to writing about fashion, for crying out loud. Just call me the fashion police from the frozen north. The high yesterday was two below and it‘s not much better today. The schools have been closed because bus stop wind chills are too low for the kids, and people on Facebook are talking about nothing else but the relentless snow and traffic accidents. But my cul-de-sac finally got plowed today and I thought, Oh boy! I get to go to the Life Enrichment lecture at the senior hall today! My joy was short-lived. I remembered that the senior hall is under the township umbrella and when the schools are closed for weather, activities at the hall are canceled as well. No lecture for me.

With time on my hands I decided to sort a box of cassette tapes that I found when I did the closet purging last week. (I had tucked it in the garage with a sign that read: Sort Later.) I ended up with a plastic grocery bag full of tapes to toss out---things like tapes of convention workshops lectures, stuff I’d taped off from TV years ago and speech class drill words of Don’s---and another plastic bag full of tapes to take to Goodwill. The donation bag was a mixture of books on tape I used to listen to while I was plowing snow, and tapes of music Don liked, but I don’t. I did find a couple of gems in the box which made the sorting worth a million bucks. Well, not really but what I found made my day. In the box was a cassette tape of my husband’s rich, full voice before his stroke and another tape of my dad's soft-spoken words…both deceased and both with distinctive voices that warmed my heart to listen to on such a cold winter day.  ©


  1. Oh, what a great find! I wish I had more videos or audios of Mr. Ralph ... he was usually filming ....

    1. I know! That's same reason I don't have many photos of Don and I together. He was the one who usually took the pictures in our circle of family and friends. I have a video interview that was done after his stroke, filmed for a speech disorders audio text book but I'd love to have one from an earlier time.

  2. They may not have tailoring classes any longer, but they have things like golf. I loved those A-line dresses.
    So glad you found the tapes. I wish I had my sister's voice recorded.

    1. Isn't that crazy the amount of sports you can take in college and get credit for them.

      I'm glad I found them too. I want to find a way to use those tapes as a sound-over for a couple of photo slide shows on DVDs. I know it can be done but I need some technical advise to figure out how.

  3. This post has me LOL . I have to look up 'Spanx'. Fashion today leaves so little to the imagination, what must it be like for the guy?

    I'm so glad you came across the tape of Don. It's like time collapses when we listen.

    1. I love that phrase---time collapses----and I loved Don's voice. It was a chick magnet---deep and rich like a country western singer.. LOL

      I have tried to put on Spanx twice, once it was a knock-off brand and one the real thing. When I tried on the real thing I had ordered a size larger than their chart said I should wear. It didn't make any difference. Those things are HARD to get on and off. They should call them what they really are: full body girdles.