Lately, Lydia has been focusing on memoir writing–and, here, she gives us all a little inspiration for memoir writing of our own. We hope you’ll think about sharing some of your memories with other BOLLI members on our BOLLI Matters blog!
MY FIRST GIRDLE
By Lydia Bogar
Daddy was sitting at the dining table, back to the thermostat wall. He was doing paperwork – shop stuff – not painting. I had been shopping with Mom, maybe at R.H. White’s, and we had bought my first girdle. It was a pink and white striped thing with garters that was not purchased for a look-thinner purpose but, rather, to hold up my first pair of nylons. I believe it was 1957 or 58, at least one year before he died.
Daddy was a brave and determined man. In 1938, he had come from Europe to America from Europe to live with Papa, Mimi, and Paul–to have a better life. To be a soldier. To fall in love and raise a family. To be an artist and a hairdresser. To be an American. He was suave, sophisticated, very conscious of his appearance–hair, mustache, posture. Was that a generational thing? A European thing? A proud new American thing? He was tall, thin, beautiful—with tanned skin that never hardened. His hair never turned grey. He never turned 50…or 60…or more.
Daddy was not only an immigrant, an artist, a husband, and a father. He was also a son, brother, uncle, Catholic, a craftsman, a golfer, a Main Street businessman, fisherman, and gardener. He was then a photographer, patriot, and anti-Communist. Finally, he was a patient and a survivor.
I look back now at the black and white photos of him–in uniform, on his passport, on his citizenship papers, with his fedora, with the puppy named Bobo, with me. Golfing with Papa and Paul. Fishing with Uncle Fred and Uncle Eddie. Lots of images saved from the house that wasn’t sold until Mom entered a nursing home.
It seems a little strange to me that one of my more vivid memories of Daddy was him sitting at the dining room table the day I came home with my first girdle. And yet, for us girls in the 50s, that first was a big one. Having him there for it was just as important. How I wish that my other memories of him were clearer and more abundant.
Maybe they are just deeper–and writing will bring them to the surface.
Former English teacher and health care professional Lydia Bogar joined BOLLI in the spring of 2016 after returning home from a stint in South Carolina where she dipped into another OLLI program. (We’re glad she decided to join this one!)