5.25.2013

Teenaged Girl Birthdays in the 1920's

My birthday.
Got a bracelet,
one dollar, a box of candy,
and silk stockings.
Am fourteen, now.

Another birthday.
Got 2 boxes of candy,
two nightgowns,
a pair of silk stockings,
choker beads, and a compact.

Sweet sixteen!
Got a pink silk combination,
a pair of silk stockings,
a pair for fancy garters,
and a compact.

Seventeen.
Mother baked me a cake,
Dad brought me a box of candy,
and they both gave me
green & white silk sport stockings.

My grandmother would have been 103 today. These are excerpted from her teenaged diary, 1924-1927. Silk stockings, who knew?

25 comments:

  1. How could silk stockings not be a thing? ;)

    And oh, the 20s! Hemlines rising, stockings as a fashion statement... what a giddy time to be a girl.

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  2. The green and white sporty ones sounds very pippi long stocking. This is a fascinating post. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. you're welcome! silk stockings, compacts, nightgowns, oh the joy!

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  4. This is great. you are so lucky to have her diary and she is celebrating in heaven. :)

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  5. Neat! Very special birthdays! How often would she get gifts like that but once a year? You put a feeling of infinite return in your stanzas, and probably a smile in her spirit. Do you know the story "A Pair of Silk Stockings" by Kate Chopin? It's quite a feminist tale.

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    1. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Pair_of_Silk_Stockings_(Chopin)

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    2. ooooh actually i *have* read that but it's been a loooong time. thanks, Susan.

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  6. Very expensive, back then--and more useful than you might think, I bet, as well as a great feminine luxury. Most had to be content with nylon. I love the peek into the past, Marian. Our grandmothers are so much a part of who we are.

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  7. Fascinating, these old diaries. And sounds like she had quite a sweet tooth!

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  8. I love, and long for, simpler times without so many things. My children beg and beg and beg, are never satisfied or pleased with anything.

    But the brilliance here, to me, is the closing. If it weren't for the time, I would say you were gently implying the parents were divorced, separately giving the speaker two pairs of stockings. But even though they were no longer together, they were still thinking in the same way, picking out like gifts.

    Of course, this was the '20s so I'm sure everyone stayed together no matter what. I'm just sharing where my head went with this. And if it were intentional, albeit subtle, I would say this is so clever.

    I really enjoy time-period pieces. Thank you for sharing this. How amazing to have possession of your grandmother's diary.

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  9. the items change; not so much the pattern.most people still expect their daughters to be dolled up barbies - not all, but most.

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  10. I'd love to have diaries from one or the other or both of my grandmothers. Such a treasure, a real glimpse into the past, without Some Famous Author's interpretation of it.
    Amazingly, the items are not all that different from gifts of later decades, such as the 50s, although stockings were no longer silk.
    K

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  11. I love this so amazing! I would if my grandmother had written diaries, I have some letters written to her but nothing that she has said

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  12. I love the progression of the poem through the increasingly sophisticated gifts as she got older. And isnt it sweet how modest gifts were back then? People from that age would be shocked at the lavishness of some birthdays today.

    I always so enjoy poems from your grandma's journal.

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  13. This is a wonderful keepsake of a beloved grandparent. We tend to think of this generation as having been born old, but their youths were splendid - I bet they never thought of growing old.

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  14. How blessed you are to have the memories recorded and yours to cherish. Thanks for sharing these.

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  15. I remember 'silk stockings.' :)
    We used to call the fancy part of town "Silk Stocking Row."

    Oh yes, my BDay is a little later than the 20's but not many years past.
    ..

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  16. For a moment, I read that as 'support' stockings!' Green and white silk? And at seventeen, too...LOL

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  17. i'm so glad this is an enjoyable read... thanks, everyone.

    there's a great deal of my grandmother's writing on this blog, if you're interested. click "my grandmother" in the tag cloud at the top right of the page. i'm working on a collection of her writing and mine with/about her.

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  18. A lucky young lady! Not many would have them in the 20's. Nicely Marian!

    Hank

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  19. Lovely share! Until the end...then could see how treasured the silk stockings were. Wonderful :)

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  20. what a glimpse... looking forward to revisiting these at greater length, marian ~

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    1. :) don't feel obligated, but i thought you might enjoy. my next project is to bring together her writing with some of mine about her/responding to hers, in a book.

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