On the search . . . .

For many years now I've been searching my past in an endeavor to unfold the tales of my family. I've traveled (via the internet) to England, Denmark, Norway, Ohio, Nebraska, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. I've spent time personally visiting historic Boston and their wonderful cemeteries and, or course, visited my ancestors right here in California. My ancestors have touched the world in many places... and I hope to enjoy some of their experiences. I want you to join me as I travel through my past... and uncover their stories..

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sepia Saturday

The theme for this weeks Sepia Saturday led me to focus on "legs".  It brought me back in my memory banks to a conversation I had with my Mother many years ago.  It's coming back to me pretty clearly and a memory I hadn't thought about in a long, long time.  This photo of the couples legs was a trigger to a pleasant afternoon with my Mom and a conversation we had over a hot cup of coffee .  .  .  

My Mother (left) and her sister, my Aunt (right)
I loved my conversations with my Mom and I miss them dearly.  Mom passed away just over one year ago. She knew my love for genealogy and family history and we had many conversations on our family's past.  This one afternoon Mom was sharing with me what it was like for her, and others, in the 1940's. She shared with me the difficulty in getting what us women think now as simple things, such as nylons. Mom explained that nylon was scarce and in much demand during WWII.  Mom, with her cigarette tapping the ashtray, and a steaming cup of coffee on the table, shared with me how she wore makeup on her legs to appear she was wearing nylons.  She smiled and laughed as she shared what that was like... painting her legs and then when she wanted to look "real good" she'd have someone draw a line in the back with and eyebrow pencil to resemble the seam.  She laughed as she shared what she used to do.  She then added ... the only problem was you had to stay away from water and if the boys knew you had leg makeup on they would try to push you in the sprinklers.  I loved it how Mom got lost in her stories.  She knew she had a captive audience in me and she knew I held on to every word she said. 

Photo Courtesy of Bing
During the war nylon was needed for parachutes among other things.  Mom reminded me that money was short and cosmetics were hard to get so you'd have to get creative. Mom told me one had to just "make do" with what you had. 

She shared some of the following tips which we both laughed about (although very useful even today);
  • Use red lipstick for rouge.
  • Bath in tea bags to help you look more tan.
  • No lipstick? Boil red vegetables (beets) and rub on your lips.
  • Put oatmeal and egg whites on your face for a nice facial.
  • Use strips of rags for curlers. Wet hair, wrap hair around the rag and tie the ends of the rags together. When you wake up you have beautiful curls.  (My Mom actually curled my hair a lot that way when I was young)
  • Need your hair lightened? Put lemon juice in your hair and go out in the sun. 
I Love You Mom and miss you and our talks very much. 

I hope this Sepia Saturday brought back some nice memories for all of you.

Warm Regards, 


  1. My mother used to curl my hair like that too. Sometimes she used kleenix and sometimes kid curlers in the same way.

  2. and curling them that way really got your hair curly :)


  3. Funny, I was just wondering the other day where you even buy hose anymore. You used to find it at Walmart, Target, etc. Now I don't know where to find any!

  4. What a sweet post about your mother. I'm familiar with all of her tips except the one about bathing in tea bags to make you look more tan. Can't imagine what it was like to "make do" as our family members were required to do during the Great Depression and the War years. Enjoyed your twist on this week's theme.

  5. A lovely post. I could just picture the make up running after a night of dancing! Did the TeaBag trick really work? You would need a lot of Tea Bags. My family always used the left over tea to assist encourage worms (for fishing).

  6. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist: http://www.indepthgenealogist.com/

  7. I knew about the leg painting but hadn't heard about drawing in the seam.
    I imagine people in dry climates had much better 'staying'
    power that those in humid and summer storm environments!
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  8. Accckkkkk~! Rag curls! My Mom did that to me, too. But I gotta tell ya, it was no picnic for me. It hurt! And there's this one photo (and, no, I'll never post it), with me sitting in the bathtub, a youngster bawling her eyes out, with one of parakeets sitting atop one of my rag-wrapped hanks of hair. Acccckkkkkk!

    All kidding aside ... isn't that something that there are others out there who had the same experience?

  9. Hi Donna -

    How fun you have a photo of yourself in rag curls! I wish I had one of me.. but I haven't seen one. I think it's great that other people remember the rags to curl hair. I thought growing up it was just our family that did it. lol

    Warm Regards,