Then & Now

50
Years Behind
The
Fitting Room Door



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Acknowledgments and Dedication
_________________________________________________

Special Thanks to my helpers
YAC Service-Learning Cyclones
Sharun Philip ’18, Malavika Rajaram ’20, and Carmen Clay ’74
Book Publication Facilitator, Metropolitan Library System (Village Library) Teen Librarian, Miss Elisabeth Wright

This book is dedicated to my Beloved late husband, Bob and my two Ever-Precious Daughters Suzy and Barby who so Graciously Shared Me for over 50 years of Laughter and Tears making this Book a Reality.
My Appreciation too - To My Ever-Inspiring "Store Child" Mary Beth.
May God Bless You All, Always


Brief Bio
________________________________________________

Born in Chicago's 'Roaring Twenties' - '27 to be Exact
This year - with any luck I'll be '90' - It is an "aging fact"!
Tulsa, OK Become my Home on Reaching Grade School Age
Acting Weekly on Children's Radio and  Ever on the Stage!
Began Writing Poetry at a Very Early Age
My Writings Ran to Verse - Sometimes Better - Often Worse!
Grad of Tulsa Central High '45 - Attended Tulsa U. Too.
A Brief Glimpse of Poetry Writing and Publication-
Published First at Age 8 in a National Children's Magazine called
Wee Wisdom-  They notified Tulsa paper - A feature story and picture followed.
This  Sadly led to a kidnapping threat and
Ransom Demand - the 'Lindbergh Case' fresh In People's minds.
FBI Stepped in - all SAFE!   But the Threat Had Left My Widowed Mother
Terribly Upset!  Her Words to Me - 'I Know You'll Never Stop Writing Poetry
But Please Don't Be Published Again, Dear!
And, I kept that promise until after Reaching My 80th Year
At this 'Ancient Age' I Continue to Write  Am Published to My Delight and FEEL NO FEAR!

50 Years Behind the Fitting Room Door



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Fall 2011-Retired at Long Last- Age 84
The Large Window Signs Hang Limply-States Simply
'CLOSING STORE'
Worked on North May Ave. - A Half Century It's True-
Question Most Often Asked? - Answer is Now Known
At How Early an Age Was 'Fashion Interest' Shown?
In my aging Blue -Veined Hand
I Hold an Old Photo - Once Quite Grand-
Slightly Wrinkled - a Bit Faded - Worn and Bent
But then So Am I More than 8 Decades of Life Spent!
There I was the 'Future Fashionista' - Age Almost 4
Playing 'Dress-Up' In a Pose - As I chose to stand
Outside My Grandparents' Vine Covered Sunroom Door!
So Fashionably Outfitted 'Head to Toe'
My Felt Cloche Hat - An Elegant Chapeau!
A Fox Fur Scarf - Glassy Eyes on the Clasp!
An Elegantly Beaded Drawstring Bag
I Hold it Close and Fast!
Freshly Polished White 'Mary Janes' - Worn
Inside Mother's High Heeled Lizard Pumps
Walk Carefully - Step Cautiously - Remember -
No- No - No More Leaps - No More Jumps!
Just Clickety  Clack on Sidewalk or Floor -
Never Dreaming What Lay Ahead - Both
Outfitting Fashionably and Shared Prayers
in 50 YEARS BEHIND THE FITTING ROOM DOOR!
Now the Picture in Hand - My Little
Dress- With Matching Bloomer Panty
All the Rage in the '30's Depression Age'
Sadly, My Chunky Little Leg - One Day
Caused 'One Panty Leg Elastics' to Snap - Give Way!
My ever smiling Irish Father
(Who Died Much too Young - I was only 8)
Gave me a 'Fashionable New Name'
To remain in My Heart Evermores -
I Wipe Away Tears
Remembering All Through the Years - Once
He Called Me His
"Little Miss Droopy Drawers"!


After 50 Years Plus



Thus, Before I Open the Door of
That Very First Store - Chapter One -
At Age 33 - You, the Reader, May
Question as did I - How Did It Ever
All Come To Be? A Little Girl -
Such as Me - ‘Little Miss Droopy Drawers'
Ending up Spending Fifty Years and More
On the Ave. Known as North May OKC Both
Behind and In Front of so Many Beautiful
Fitting Room Doors? Early On I
Learned - as the saying goes - to Get Rid
of the 'Droopy Bloomers Woes’ so I Pulled
Up My New Big Girl Panties and
Moved On. Graduated Tulsa Central
High School 1945 - On to Tulsa U -
Studying Radio Acting - Drama - Speech -
Education - All The Things I Really
Loved to Do! Had There Been A
Class offered in ‘Paper Doll Fashion
Design’ I would surely Have Been
Enrolled There Too! I acted weekly in radio from the 6th
Grade Thru My College Years. Met
and Married My Darling Husband Bob,
A Returning World War II G.I. (at the time
of His Death.) Married Just Over 60 years.
In 1961 - Precious Daughters - We Had 2
Suzy and Barby - School Age It's True.
Back in 1954 we had moved from 'T - Town'
(Tulsa) to OKC- It became Our Home
Forever More!
I Taught - Speech - Creative Drama-
Sub-Deb - Charm and When Television
Came On the Scene- Eventually,  I Was
There on your small Black and White
Screen and Finally in Full Color Too
You Never Knew just what I Might be
selling you! Pitching Refrigerators and
appliances in my crisp Little Shirtwaist
Dress  (My Sunday School Class Called me
"The Poor Man's Betty Furness)  Nationwide
she was selling Refrigerators Too!
There was Furniture - Station Wagons
to carry The Brownie Troop and Dairy Products
too- in the years Before. I Showed Fashion
For You to View! Working with Many
Organizations My neighborhood Methodist
Church - Brownie and Girl Scouts - The PTA
My Chi Omega Sorority Alumni Group - There
was Always Another Meeting - Something
I needed to Do! But on That day - a
chilly Mid - February Day 1961 All Was About To
Change - as were the next 50 years of My
Life - Today I say 'It was not mere
coincidence but another one of "God's
Incidents" for me - I believe it Was
Truly Meant to Be! I had Done a
Luncheon Program For My Church's
Womens' Society - the title - The Church
in Southeast Asia - I turned Down a
Ride Home With my neighbor as a couple
of Quick Errands I needed to Do -
slip around the Corner to a strip of
shops which in that Day was called
Far North May Ave - First I would stop
at Fines Foods - I Had opened my Coin
Purse - a loaf of Wheat Bread I Did
Need - that would be a Dime - 29 cents for a
Pound of Regular Ground Beef - But if I
Chose 'Ground Round' It would Be 39 cents
As I weighed that decision and Knew I
Needed to stop at the Veazey Drug too-
Rounding the Corner Suddenly on
the Sidewalk Ahead there comes into view
Heavy Cords - Welding Equipment and the
open Door of a large vacant store - Two
Gentlemen came Quickly out the Door
to Call - Be Careful  - Don't trip - Don't Fall
and that was officially the Start of It All!
One Man Was the Welder - the other
a small older southern Gentleman who
said 'Darlin' I'm Puttin' In an Elegant
New Fashion Store with Wrought Iron
Fencing as part of its 'window decor' -
we chatted Briefly - He introduced
Himself - as I did too - I said I was
eager for His store as there was
nothing in 'Ladies - Ready - to Wear' (as it was
called in that day) - Nothing further North
than Mayfair NW 50th and May - and this was
Lakewood - NW 68th and May - His store
would have Beautiful Lease Departments
But I said I must quickly move on as
My Daughters and Students would soon be there
I was grateful I Had a Tuna Casserole
to shove into the Oven- For I Did Have a
PTA board meeting promptly at 7:00! The Next Morning as I was noisily
Running the sweeper - I Heard the
Phone Ring - Those Days - only 1 kind of
phone. - All numbers in one Book - Just
Know the Name - Open the Book and Look
The owner of the soon - to - be - store said
He Had decided He Needed me to BE
More - Than just a 'customer' in His
Store - as I was so well acquainted
in the neighborhood - he needed me
Working in his store - Meeting and
Greeting as He unlocked the Door of that
Very First Store on 'Far North May'!
As you would Guess - I said 'Yes" and
making a new Plan for My Daughters and
Students Began and All Worked Out Well!
Fast Forward 2 weeks- March 1, 1961 - Once again
I Rounded that Corner- Having walked My
2 short Blocks from Home - My Very First
Day in Fashion on N May lay just ahead -
only 1/2 block more to that very first store -
A small sack lunch - Purse in Hand I Glanced
Back Round to Check my stocking seams - Gave
my little Girdle a Final Tug of Adjustment
and made mental note- tomorrow walk
in flats- carry those 3" heels - I Had
chosen my outfit with care - the classic
Little Black suit and pearls - Apparently a
wise choice for in years to come
I remember hearing the phrase -”From Our
First Date Until our Last Breath PEARLS!” And
I was a little Breathless and Whispered A Prayer as I reached the Door
of that very first store Elegant and New - 6811 N. May Ave!
A Beautiful Store Opens Elegant and New
Springtime - March 1961 Far North May Ave



Chapter I


I had been advised it would be wise to arrive an hour prior to the 'Grand Opening Hour' on that chilly but brilliantly sunny opening 'Opening Day'! The sign in the freshly washed window - WELCOME - mannequins in colorful springtime attire for all to admire. Large Baskets and Congratulatory Bouquets in shades of pink were set against a background of beige - freshly painted beige walls Louvered Fitting Room Doors - Newly laid beige carpet touches of white wrought iron in the windows too - All to lure the 'Sidewalk Window Watchers' In - For a closer OPENING DAY View! A large 'Gold Starburst Clock' hung just inside on the wall. As its hands arrived on the appointed Opening Hour - Now - at last - the 50 Year Fashion Story on N. May can begin to Unfold - Be Told as I recall it all to This Day! Be Warm - Be Welcoming - and Coffee would be served in Cups and Saucers from a Large Silver Tray! Thus, the 'Learning Process for the Fashion Novice' - Officially Began! The little southern gentleman - (who had ladies ready to wear' had employed me) and lease departments there were another 3! They retained their original store Locations, but wished to be part of this 'Far North May' - Fashion Innovation! There was an area of young Children's and Infants wear - Set apart - and In a corner Furs - Capes - Stoles - Mink and Fox jackets - 1 or 2 - But the Largest Lease space of all - had So Much to View! She decided not to retain her store on N. Western Ave - She had Hats - Veils and Blossom - Bedecked Easter Bonnets to view! Lacy and Rather Revealing Sleepwear and Lingerie too - Push-up Bras and Bikini Panties - Some Done in Black and Animal Print considered quite FUN in 1961! She sold sparkling stone-set costumes jewelry (Bling was a word not as yet even heard) Sheer seamed hose - 3 pairs to a box and Lush Leather Handbags by Milch. Her fragrances by Bergdorf Goodman brought women by the score into the store! Among them - Many of my friends and neighbors living so near May Ave. That day the hours fairly flew - So when the closing hour came - I felt a sudden wave of sadness and shame - No Ticket had I written - No garment had I sold - that kind Southern gentleman did not scold - He simply smiled and said "Darlin' don't worry- Tomorrow will be a whole new day"- So True for Day Two  - a customer I had spent time with the day before had returned to further explore - to try on an outfit she had admired. She stood before a large mirror very Elegantly Attired - in All the store had to offer - Almost Head to Toe - for the full exciting effect I had added my new Black Patent Pumps - 3 inch heels - while I stood by in my Stocking Feet - On my shoulder her squirming Baby - wanting something to Eat - I found his pacifier and quickly 'plugged him in' - My southern gentleman saw it all gave me a quick nod and a grin! I'd always heard of 'Walking in Someone's Shoes' This Time it meant a Big Ticket - Happy Customer- Sleeping Baby - and Good News - Me even back in my own darling shoes! Pumps in Black Patent Leather - Always my favorite - Whatever the hour - the occasion - the season or the weather!

Chapter II



Through the Eyes of the All Knowing Mannequins ‘Famous Firsts’ They Did View I Now Pass Onto You

From that very first day of the elegant fashion store opening on North May - There were many sets of eyes watching our large show window by night and by day! On the outside looking in to see - there were window watchers and window wishers - noses pressed close to the glass - some driving curbside would also slowly pass - some writing a quote or making a sketch or note committing to memory the latest in Fashion Fun that soft and lovely springtime - 1961! There were also those who never lost sight by day or by night - 24/7 outside or in - each simply bore the title of a window Mannequin’- and what Each Body Wore - I Learned that Responsibility Belonged to Me! As well as Balancing the Lease Departments in - Window Viewing Time - a Bit More of a Chore that turned out to Be-! And now this is how Other Responsibilities were Soon passed on to Me! when the ‘Big Fashionista’ brought in by ‘the small southern gentleman’ on March one- (yes, she was from ‘Big D’- His entire store to oversee - so sadly - on “May One” she told him she was ‘DONE’ his store was too great a ‘Thankless Job’ to Run! - there seemed to be - ‘no choice left but ME’! - the ‘job’ came my way - along with a $5.00 a week - raise in pay - from $50.00 to $55.00 dollars a week - 6 days of course! - Remember I earlier stated that at that time a loaf of bread could still be purchased for one dime! Back now to the mannequins - for the story is theirs to tell - they passed it all to me and as their ‘Window Dresser’ I came to know them Very Well you might say rather Intimately - as it fell to me - to remove ever so gently Arms or a Hand by Reason of the Change of Season - they might appear ‘casually Elegant’- Maybe ‘chic Sporty’ or ‘fashionably Grand’! I would come to realize that summer winter spring or fall the Mannequins Eyes Viewed it All! Some of their eyes appeared shiny - their eyeballs like colored glass - other eyes and lashes would be ‘carefully painted on’ never allowing a restful blink or to close or perhaps Headless or No Eyes at All - be it dusk or dawn! Sunlight or Spotlights by day and Flood Lights to softened Security Light that burned on all thru the night! Now, as to how our relationship began - as I dressed them - zipped, buttoned, and caressed them - smoothing in place every seam - pleat and hem, I somehow sensed the ‘Fashion Tales’ so much both Seen and Heard and though they could not Speak a Word I know it Seems Absurd but soon I was to become Their Listening Ear! And now with this Book - together you and I can Explore - Wisdom - Wit - Lessons of Life as the ‘Mannequins’ eventually become ‘WomenAKIN’ Wise Ever More - both Behind and in Front of many a Fitting Room Door!  Among the ‘Famous Firsts’ that I must mention - ‘Easter Hats’ and their ‘No Return’ policy was brought to my attention - as there was a March Easter that year - over and over these words I did hear - No Returns - No Exchanges - No Refunds on spring millinery (Easter Bonnets) after ‘Easter Day’- Hats a must in that era - soft felt or shining straw - often blossom bedecked - finished with a touch of dotted or simple veil - these hats were considered ‘seasonal wear - a Final Sale ’ to return ‘a spring chapeau’ - one or two did try (one did even almost cry!) but alas, the rule held fast - it was All to No Avail! The second ‘Famous First’ I learned early on as the right ‘Fashion Hat’ was so important- so the Fashion Right Handbag was too - a mannequin often had one hung on her arm - so this was a ‘Fashion Tale which they well knew. It concerned the spring shipments of fine leather bags from Milch. The timing was perfect - the wives of prominent judges and lawyers (the cream of the social scene you might say) - it was their spring luncheon meeting day at the Country Club not far away! They had been alerted ‘they must stop and shop’ we all eagerly watched for them - as the first few came thru the door - one hurriedly ran to the small beige satin stripe Settee- and Dumped the Entire Contents of her Handbag for All the World to see -! Compact - Lipstick - Cigarette - Case and Lighter Too - them something rather slim - sleek - silver and shiny came into view - a bit of a shock - quite a surprise - never seen before by my still naïve eyes a Ladies Elegant FLASK - you must remember the state was then still DRY! I learned many women wanted a NIP- A- SIP at lunch - and as the games of bridge and mahjongg went on perhaps a Bit More! So Much I learned in that Very First Store!  As I dressed and re-dressed the Mannequins MORE and MORE - I called it FASHION-OSMOSIS - as from them I gained and gleaned MUCH FASHION LORE! In the years soon thereafter -‘Prohibition’ ended - our state went WET- perhaps that had a bit to do with the next trend in the handbag world - the smaller bag was demanded MUCH and next we saw the great popularity of the smaller bag called the CLUTCH! The third of the ‘Famous Firsts’ learned early on - observed that first month of March - In the Hour - Before the ‘Monday morning unlocking of the store door - the mannequins saw a Sight on the Sidewalk - not as yet quite Witnessed Before! Waiting outside the door a small group - usually four - of Smiling - Giggly - Somewhat Shapely and rather Sexy young women! Each a crisp fresh $100 dollar bill did Hold - tightly between thumb and forefinger Did Enfold - this the Mannequins and I overheard was the ‘bit of Financial Treasure they had been paid for perhaps a ‘Bit of Weekend Pleasure’! Paid for and enjoyed by their ‘Sugar Daddies’ Gentlemen in Oil or State Government’s ‘High Places’ - men who wished to be Sure that they left no Loose Talk’  or ‘Tell Tale Traces’ of their Indiscretions in ‘Hidden Away Hotel Rooms’ or Similar ‘Secret Places’! These young women - never shy - were there to Buy New rather ‘Lacy and Racy Lingerie’ - To be ready for their Next Weekend of ‘Pay for Play’! Seeking a Peek on a Monday - behind each other's ‘Fitting Room Doors! They had No Interest in the ‘Dinner Dresses’ I sold - Early On - I was told ‘Room Service Only’ - Dull Dining  In - That seemed to Be the ‘Price Paid’ with a crisp $100 dollar bill for a Young Lady Living Her Weekend In Sin!

Chapter III



Mannequins Their New Name Came
On a Warm Summer Day
How It was Given - Forevermore to Stay!

Mannequins - I learned early on could vary greatly in “Shape and Size” Earlier I had mentioned great differences often in their Eyes and Wigs could be changed ‘On A Whim’ Covering a ‘Painted - On Hairstyle that remained underneath all the while - There were days I sometimes felt there were surely Eyes too ‘In the Back of Their Heads’ Otherwise how could they view - yes, they always knew - exactly what happened towards the back of the store of course ‘Behind the Fitting Room Door’! The wonderful window mannequins - that I was so blessed to dress were basically slim of torso - long leg - we could call them - model-like - and tall. That first summer - as the weather became warm - I would become better acquainted with a shorter - more voluptuous - ‘Torso Form’! Perfect for swimwear display on a hot summer day - I built not in the window, but on the floor - just inside the door of the store - ‘Soak Up Some Sun’ - ‘Get an Even Tan’ that was how every woman’s swimsuit need began! - But the subject of ‘Skin Cancer’ or ‘Danger from the Sun’s Rays’ were words I never heard ‘Back in that Day’! Thus my challenge - with a bosomy torso model or two!  Create ‘A Seaside Setting’- see what I could do! The favorite swimsuit style - shiny - shimmering satin LASTEX - One Piece the Shades Most in Demand - pristine White - sunny Yellow or sleek shimmering Black - the provocative mannequin rested at floor level on a square of glass - admired by all who slowly passed - to create - in store - a touch of ‘Seaside by the Shore’. A sprinkling of sand - assorted shapes and sizes of seashells - a beach bag and draped fishnet - no Flip Flops- they were not even heard of yet! I was admiring my ‘Work of Swimwear Art’ when suddenly came through the store door an excited pair of Pigtailed Precious 4-year-old Twins! I knew them and their mother well and quickly with urgency did tell “please let's be very careful of the Mannequin Display Today!” one twin tossed her head  and rather questionably  looked straight at ME - her hands on her childlike hips and these exact words came from her lips - a name forevermore to stay - “SHE is NOT a MANNEQUIN - SHE is a WomanAKIN CAN’T you SEE!” And the Name Remained the Same Evermore For ME!

Chapter IV


Now as Store Locations Changed  
I Moved too - 4 Different Stores in
50 Years Surrounded by Changes of Title
- but Always on N. May Ave-

Chapter III ended with the official change of name from ‘Mannequin’ to ‘WomenAKIN’! I was soon to realize it meant a bit of change also for me! Chapters I - II - with the ‘Mannequins’ were filled with laughter - fun and frivolity - the writing and words - left Always to Me. When ‘WOMAN’ a part of their title name became. They began to think as we Women so often do - they would not be content with just the First Word heard but expected to have the Last Word Too! An early thought they did convey to me - with 4 store locations in 50 years - I would be making and writing some ‘Fashion History’! A word they didn’t just suggest but strongly stressed was always PRIVACY - certain things must remain Forever a Mystery! NAMES not to be spoken or written in any form- names of owners stores - customers or future store locations - the first address I have already shared but from now on PRIVACY will prevail! You, the readers will just keep on ‘guessing’ as we share this ‘N. May Fashion Tale! My titles I had several- the many decades’ thru - titles which I shall share with you. But for a moment I shall digress and tell you the tale of a title that lasted at best an hour or two! Briefly bestowed upon me many years ago- by a slightly ‘TIPSY’ mother who came into the store where I was working with her young teen daughter in tow - this is how it did go! Wagging her Finger in the Faces of her Daughter and Me- ‘you are here to Find a Dress and you are going to be Helped by the ‘MANAGERESS’ she knows exactly what to do and she will Take Good Care of You’. Fortunately, we found a Dress - seemingly Pleasing to One and All- but that title I felt was not Befitting Me at All! In the 50 year span- various titles that I knew- various titles - I shall now share with you- Store Manager, Buyer - always Salesperson and Fashion Coordinator too- which entailed producing- outfitting models- writing and presenting our much - in-demand - Fashion Shows - often booked a year in advance - which I so LOVED to do! Last - But not Least - the title of  ‘WINDOW DRESSER’ too - without which the ‘WomenAKIN’ and I would not have this our Fashion Tale to Share with You! Although the title of ‘MANAGERESS’ lasted only a mere hour or 2 - oh the Laughter it did evoke among the Fashion Folk - all the years of my stay on N. May Ave! Four stores in 50 years - so much joy and laughter - so few tears!  A vow of privacy I did make so I shall define the stores only by the numbers of years in a location spent - and the number of ownership changes - should it apply. The first on N. May Ave its number of years (1961-63) 3 different owners in 2 years. The second store - (1963-69) always the same owner. The third store (1970-87) 2 different owners in 17 years. The fourth and final store  (1987-2012) always the same owner 25 years!
Always moving farther north always on North May so thankful that I had ‘Windows of ever- wonderful WomenAKIN’ to Share and Care with Me All the Way!

Chapter V



Fashion Shows Always Exciting and New
Fashion Shows Always Fun To Do And View

The ‘Window WomenAKIN’ always observed Me outfitting Fashion Show Models and always waited eagerly for me to regale them afterward with many a ‘Fashion Tale’ as to How it All Went! Long Years ago they chose to hear over and over of 2 shows that I CHOSE to do in the GREAT OUTDOORS! The First involved a Prominent Group of Politically Involved Women who opted to do a “Brunch” that began in the ‘Cool of Morning’ and went on to the Heat of the Noon Day Sun! It was held on the grounds of a Palatial Estate on the far edge of the city. Massive trees shaded the site and the Swimming Pool was unique and beyond compare! It also offered a very Elegant Pool House with plenty of dressing space for the models. I was informed that ‘special walkways’ were being erected so that the models might appear to be ‘ walking on the water’ and that the large group of women seated poolside might better view the Glorious Groups of Summer Fashions chosen as being especially very ‘colorful and new!’ I was told many things in advance concerning the show but the one thing I Did Not Know was How Much in the Way of Alcoholic Beverages would flow in the Bar in the Dressing Area! Some models were ‘tottering a bit’ some were ‘slightly soused’ - as I uttered many a ‘Fashion Word’ fortunately the sound of ‘SPLASH’ was never heard! The models and their garments all remained ‘DRY’ and ‘No Alcohol in the Dressing Room Please’ became a rule that I asked that all ‘Future Fashion Shows Live By!’ Another very popular fashion show was staged annually by ‘Okla City Panhellenic’ that young college girls might be ‘in the know’ as to how to dress for what was then called ‘Rush Week’ (Now they no longer go through RUSH it is called RECRUITMENT - sounds a bit like the military and NOT nearly as much FUN). Nonetheless, I shall share a ‘Fashion Tale’ as to how long ago the summer show once was done! The WomenAKIN were excited ‘ they had seen the young women being outfitted. On that beautiful summer evening, it was obvious that the show was going to outgrow its lovely indoor location (near the fairgrounds) and must overflow to the ‘Great Outdoors.’ I Did so Hope and Pray Before the show got underway that all would go well! The show was almost halfway thru when there came a ‘shift in the wind’ and the SMELL - the Aroma from the Stockyards was Blowing In! All at once out of the corner of my eye - I did spy a ‘flock of pigeons flying by’ somehow diverted in their flight by the sight of a Lovely and Loaded Refreshment Table - they Swooped Low and Over the Table Did Go - Marking their trail to no one's Taste or Sight Delight! The Fashion Show - a ‘Feast For the Fashion Eye' but the Gourmet Goodies were left ‘NOT EDIBLE’ after the Pigeons Did Their Fly-By!

Chapter VI


Shoplifting - Gypsies - Teens - A Bank Officer Too
Each Category Tried It's True
On North May Ave - the WomenAKIN Knew Their Stories well - Thru the Years These Shoplifter stories -  often they did tell! Now there were those who chose to shop with EMPTY Pockets - Purses and Bags. The ever - present shoplifting traffic - single or in groups - would choose a store where they could Park at the Door - Lift Their Chosen Take and a ‘Quick Getaway Make!’ Before ‘My Day’ and NOT on N.May - this is a story of a Tragic Incident still Told! Three ‘Shoplifters and their Stash’ made to their ‘Curbside Car a Dash and a beautiful young store manager followed them out the door - hoping her merchandise to save - instead, she became hung on their Car's Fender - she was Dragged a Block or More - Sadly much too Early to Her Grave! Thus, to my co-workers I did stress - ‘we Never Follow a Shoplifter Out the Door of the Store.’ If a shoplifter was observed with merchandise and past the ‘checkout counter’ I would ask that they Quietly and Quickly Leave the Merchandise with Me - leave the store and Return No More! In that Day - no Guards or Security in shops along N. May - Of course some always did manage to ‘Conceal and Steal’ - In one case A Confession - A Change of Heart - A full Decade Later - It all Did End on a Busy Saturday - just as it had started on the Selling Floor of the very Same Store so Many Years Before! It was a spring Saturday before Easter that the WomenAKIN observed the final chapter unfold - Women of every age were there to Buy - the fitting rooms full - I was helping a Dr’s wife - a cruise had come up as a surprise - she needed clothes and so it goes - a woman came into the store and Needed to See and Talk to Only Me - thus she waited an hour - until I was Free - Finally - at last - we went into my office and the story was told. Long years before she and her ‘high school sweetheart’ came into the store - between the 2 - no money - no funds at all - Spring Break she indeed a swimsuit did need! And there they saw a low rack of ‘So New Bikini Swimwear’ - 2 small pieces on a small clip hanger - he was wearing his ‘Letterman's Leather Jacket’ - he dropped to the floor - put a piece in each pocket in less than a minute it all was done - and she was ready that long past summer - to catch some Fun in the Sun. With Tears in her Eyes she took one of My Hands - with the Other Hand she Opened her Soft Pouchy Purse filled with Dollar Bills in all Denominations - 1s - 5s - 20s - 10s - Just say how much she said “I am here to make Amends” - I recently came to know the Lord in a very Personal Way - I feel led to Repay Merchants that I Shoplifted From. You and I are Doing That Today! As she sobbed I began to Pray - so Thankful for all that she was Experiencing - Peace and Forgiveness That Day. - She said Some Other Merchants took the Money - Gave Her a Look of Disdain which left Her still Feeling Guilt and Pain. I gave her an Approximate Swimsuit Prices back then - sealed the cash in an Envelope with the Owner's Name - a Christian gentleman - we Prayed again and closed it all with a final AMEN! One of the annual ‘Rites of Spring’ would - Be on N. May - the call of urgency the Gypsies are Coming Your Way’ - ‘Quickly - Lock the Doors’ - Call the neighbors that they may Secure their Stores, But before all this “Forewarning came into play’ it all came to pass this way on N. May!  All Generations of Gypsies - all ages - poured out of their ‘Dirty Dingy Dinged Vans’ sometimes 1 often 2 - the children first thru the store door - they knew just what to do - Climb immediately into the windows  1 or 2 - the kids - 3 - 4 - or more WomenAKINS would have No Idea What To Do! - Divert the store staff - the Kids Tearing apart the window display - I well Remember Just Such a Day! One of the gypsies always cried - “I’m pregnant” - So Sick - the Restroom, she did Need - Several ran to the back always to try to ‘lift’ from ‘Back Stock’ and the Garments on the Layaway Rack! Each Gypsy bus or van had its own ‘Quick Change Man’ Waving a $ 20 dollar bill - in hopes to catch a glimpse of the Cash Register Till - and confuse the clerk - who always knew NOT to make change for the ‘Jerk’! Now the Gypsies were obvious - Easy to spot - But there was one Unforgettable Customer - Turned - Shoplifter who was NOT! I was recovering from surgery - not officially back in the store - But at lunch break time, I would slip into a quiet well-hidden area of the store selling floor - rest in a small chair - well hidden from customer view - one salesperson would be on the floor and the rest could relax and chat together behind the lunch room door. The salesperson had a customer and I noted a Customer that I well knew came - in a 50ish Woman Bank Officer from a branch bank further north on May. - WE had a New Store that had opened much closer to that location - I saw her walk to a far corner of the store an area of Beautiful Dresses - but not her size - Her size hung in area open to view - the next thing I knew she Dropped Quickly to the floor and stuffed the soft dress quickly into a large bag that she pulled from her big Tote Bag - the bag from an earlier purchase at the store bought from me several months before! I was in a - state of shock! I knew I must talk immediately by phone to our further North May Ave store - as I felt she was on her way to make a Speedy Exchange of size or seek a Cash Refund that Very Day.  I called the manager - who I had hired and trained for her job - that she was Not to Confront Her In Any Way - just merely say - ‘Please Leave the Dress Today as we have No Sales Ticket to Show How it was Purchased (she said it was a gift) she wanted a Cash Refund - she was to leave her name and number - the store would be in touch - when she was called and told that ‘unit control’ showed the Dress had NEVER been Sold!  The manager said that ended their conversation by phone. We had our merchandise and she had a ‘shoplifting lesson’ learned I never saw her again - within a month she had resigned her bank position and joined a bank out of state - this story of course, until now the WomenAKIN and I never shared for her ‘Good Reputation’ I so much Cared Her Reputation Remained Intact - and we Got Our Dress Back - a Shoplifting Lesson well learned! Behind the Fitting Room Door!

Chapter VII  


To Market - To Market
Big Fashion News - the YOUTHQUAKE
Is Coming - DENIM BLUES and FADED too!

To Market To Market, I Must Go - Off to the Dallas Fashion Market Show - to Buy! There I First Heard the Phrase Proclaiming the upcoming ‘FASHION CRAZE’! ‘The YOUTHQUAKE is Coming! Market was the place to Start to Buy for the YOUNG And those Merely YOUNG at Fashion Heart! “Skirts Had Never Been Shorter” Everywhere one looked - one did see More Than Just A Peek Above the Knee’. For the young it was FUN - Most looked well - Sorry but in the Older Gals - KNEES Didn’t Really Look so SWELL! But - For Me and the Store I was In At the Time - It all Really Did Turnout Fine! It was the Era of ‘In Store Personal Charge accounts’ That amounts to Both Mother and Daughter - ‘On the account might BUY - And some New Ideas I Did Try! ‘A Sugar ‘n Spice Corner’ with Everything Nice for Girls!’ Fashions for the Young were NEW - Tastefully chosen Fashion and Tasty Sweet and Sugary TREATS in Abundance too! Suddenly cotton DENIM in blues became the Biggest Fashion NEWS - But we needed to avoid the Fade and the Mess the Ruboff Dye made - So it came time for Pre Wash Denim to answer the ‘Fashion Call’ And for every Age and Stage of Denim wearer that Solved it ALL! Cotton denim in white ‘Caught on Too’ - But nothing would Ever Outsell the Blue Denim for Daytime and into the Evening Too. - Rhinestone and Sequins all at once - many Sparkles to View! Today we would call it ‘BLING’ - But at that time, as I earlier said, the word ‘BLING’ had not as yet been Heard! Every Jean Hip Pocket was all at once Worn with Special Adornment! A Fashion Hit on the Hip - Denim skirts too - Sometimes Full often Slim - Denim Shirts and Jackets ‘All Were In’ - The ‘YOUTHQUAKE’ what a huge difference in the Purchasing Power of the Young it Would Make! - It was a Time - Shortly before there were Enclosed malls to Entice - so I Must Make the Store I Managed Offer More to Bring Teens Through the Door - more than simply ‘sugar ‘n spice’! - Happily my new concept - In Store Sub-Deb Fashion Education ‘worked out very well - The size of the Saturday Morning in-store Classes began to swell! The girls attending chatted and often during the week would sneak in to take a peek - view what was new - and check with their moms to see if ‘A Layaway They Might Do?!’ On Saturday they learned how to choose what was Fun and Flattering as well as Hints on various aspects of ‘Charm - Makeup - Modeling - Manners - and Etiquette too’ How extremely fortunate and blest I was - to have teaching with me a former ‘Miss Oklahoma’ she was also a finalist for ‘Miss America’ too! Our Sub-Deb Charm and Fashion Education ‘Graduations’ were Done in This Way. - At a country club long gone Today - At a Sunday evening ‘Dinner and Dance Soiree - After the Buffet was cleared away and before the Dancers took over the floor - I took over the microphone for a 'Teen Fashion Scene' Fashion Show and Presentation of the ‘Charming Young Sub-Deb Models. They walked a Ramp and showed Darling Clothes and Then as the Excitement Grows - All at once the music slows - as each Deb’s name I Did Read - She Stepped Down from the Stage - Her Proud Father was waiting between the Stage and the Band to take Her Proudly by the Hand - onto the Dance Floor - Their Picture snapped - ‘A Memory Visually and in Heart Captured - To be remembered Ever more!’ But before we leave the ‘YOUTHQUAKE’ Sub-Debs and the ‘Early Denim Teen Scene’ There is a ‘Fashion Tale’ the WomenAKIN ask me to tell and retell. It concerned an Elegant Show I was asked to do - A few years Before much was voiced ‘Fashionably about Denim Blue!’ - But nonetheless quite unexpectedly ‘It became a part of THAT Show too’! Denim Blue - Wrinkled - Ripped and Rumpled and Roughly Worn - All at Once - FELL into Full View! Read on!


Chapter VIII


A Focus on the Long Ago Local Fashion Scene -
First the Governor’s Mansion Show -
Then to Two Fashion Book Reviews, We Will Go!

Thank you for ‘Reading On’ as you were Instructed to Do! This chapter deals with fashion on the Long Past Local Scene. One the WomenAKIN love to hear me tell is this ‘Fashion Show’ Story from so Long Ago! The Governor’s Mansion was the scene and a Fabulous Showing of Fall Fashions There Would Be Seen. Fashion pieces available Locally and Exceptionally Elegant Furs and Jewelry Pieces had All Just Arrived by Air from New York City for the Large Assembled Group of Fashionable Ladies to View!  The Models would enter down the Beautiful Staircase from the second floor of the Governor’s Mansion. Several Security Guards were stationed on two- watching over the Furs and Sparkling Stone Set Jewelry Pieces too. Now a ‘Fashion Shade’ that season receiving much acclaim was ‘Bottle Green’ by name. In a state so long DRY. the shade of a rich, deep green wine bottle really ‘caught the eye’! I stood at the foot of the Staircase by the Newel Post. Looking up at the next model - The most attractive wife of the ‘then mayor of OKC’ was showing in fashion terms a cocktail dress in Bottle Green ‘Puckered Satin’ a textured fabric new on the fashion scene - her mini box style Cocktail Handbag was richly encrusted rhinestone on gold- I anticipated she would be followed by a model wearing a ‘Mink Stole Wrap’ -  she wore Jewels of Glistening Gold and then a true ‘Fashion Show Nightmare!’ Began to Unfold. Somehow between Bottle Green Satin and Mink- There came THREE Young Teens - Screaming Barefoot Kids in Dirty Ragged JEANS Pushing Fighting came Tumbling Down the Stairs - Obviously I was Totally Unaware of What was Happening in another bedroom upstairs - It seems the Governor and his wife had been called unexpectedly out-of-state- their children had been told that ‘Ladies would need their Rooms in which to Dress for Just a Little While’. Parents, away there was a real problem there and the Security Staff said they (the kids) really needed to go Downstairs (use the back stairway) but instead the kids got into a Hassle and Began to Push Shove and Wrestle - and Pell-Mell Down the Stairs They Fell - A gasp from the tea time ladies - I continued to Smile All the While- I stepped around them there at the Foot of the Stair - they scrambled out the closest door leaving me- only to Think of Commentary and the next Model Clad in Mink! Although it did not go off totally as I had Planned - I was told at its Close - that the Clothes and the Fact that I never ‘Lost my Cool’ made it a Fun Show to View and For the Most Part Quite GRAND!
On that occasion the show’s malfunction and mishap was in ‘Full View’- On other occasions there were Two Shows only I could Spy Out of the Corner of My Eye - the Fashion Foible that would soon unfold and eventually the Whole Audience Would Behold- these are also tales the WomenAKIN loved- well and said I should tell and retell - this First Story has a Bit of a ‘SMELL’!
In that Era- so long ago- some ‘Fashion Books’ had been written and were being widely discussed- and it was decided (of course by ME) that I must begin to do what I would call a ‘Fashion Book Review’ No Models but rather ‘A Fashion Display’ Garments and Accessories- some hung on a folding screen other pieces on risers could be easily seen- The concepts in the book I could clearly illustrate and refer to in the course of the review- women found it ‘new’ and called it ‘great’. This is what I was set-up to do in a very fashionable ‘Basement Meeting Space’- The Luncheon was over and my Review about half thru as I turned from the Book to point and gaze toward the Display. I thought my ‘eyes must be doing something strange today’ I thought I saw Something From The Ceiling Drop - the Review I was Not About To ‘STOP’- a Speedy Conclusion and there had been more Drops - on the ceiling there was now forming a ‘SPOT’- that Day I Saw and I Did Smell - up close and personal what it was like when Raw Sewerage thru the lovely basement ceiling Fell and Sadly I Must Tell - two Garments Spoiled Soiled - Ruined beyond Repair - Yes, the Building Management Did Cheerfully for Them Pay - but neither they nor I would soon forget the rather Costly and Smelly Review I Did Do in their Basement that Day! The 2nd Event I glimpsed - It was a Hot Sunny Day - a posh country club where I would be doing a Different Review and Building a totally new Fashion Display! - A large group of women in town with their husbands for a golfing event looked forward to Luncheon and a Fashion Event- indoors and cool and yet able to see a view out over the green where in the distance their Husbands could be seen -. They were seated and their luncheon done - ready for some ‘FASHION FUN’ where I was standing I could see an archway and an adjoining room NOT in use that day - I am happy to say! - For some work was being done on the roof over that room that day - the extreme Heat outdoors the outside work- who could say? but Out of the Corner of my eye I did Spy that Day - Clean White Ceiling Material All At Once Quickly Give Away - no Smell of which to Tell - just Plaster Dust filled the Air!  In the adjoining room - No Gloom nor Doom with Me in the Ballroom- I’m Happy to say- I remember it All So Well that Hot Sunny Fashion Review Day!

Chapter IX


As I Recall Fashion Memories Now Long Past -
The Youthquake -
The Denim So Blue
Customer Friends -
Now I Have You - a ‘New Reader’ Friend,
Do You Happen to Recall - Let’s all Read on too-

Perhaps I Helped You with your Prom Dress? Yes, then In Store we did your Fashion Footwear too? The Prom and Pageant Dress - always required at that time - the Perfectly Dyed-to-Match Shoe! Even more important than just the right shade of shoe - no one ever at your Prom or Pageant would Dare show up Wearing the Same Dress as You! Notes on who bought which Dress - I started making months in advance - that there would never be the chance that I Might, that I might that Fatal Error- that Huge Great Fashion Mistake Make! - I must Never - Knowingly - Be a Part of the Greatest Kind of FASHION MESS - 2 Beautiful Young Women- Arriving Perhaps at An Elegant Holiday Ball - Arriving - Wearing the Very Same Dress - Would You Guess - Did It Ever Happen at All?!! My Precious Young Customer Friend Excited for Her Great Event - Arrived at a Much Anticipated Holiday Ball - the Band was already playing ‘White Christmas’ so to the Dance Floor they went! - Shock of shocks- It was the ‘Dress Mess’- 2 Dresses Exactly the same- worn to the ‘Christmas Ball’- of course being ‘Holiday Red’- they were quickly Viewed and Observed by All!
My Darling Young Customer Friend Knew I Had One and Only One of THAT DRESS in Stock- Especially for Her on This Occasion at Market I Had Bought! Soon I Learned The Other young lady and her mother to Dallas Had Flown - that her Dress Might be that Holiday Be - Hers and Hers Alone in OKC! I Heard that she Had Paid Far More - A Price Far Greater Than That Paid on N. May - Behind the Fitting Room Door!
A Thought One Day on which I Paused and Did Dwell - As there could be a ‘Dress Mess’ in Life - There could be a ‘Same Dress Mess’ in Death - For all Eternity!
As the Years and Beloved Customer Friends Passed On, More and more Families turned to Me - How Would a Cherished Mother- Grandmother - Great Grandmother have Chosen to be ‘Viewed’-? Perhaps in her Favorite Shade - Color on Hue and Always A Flattering Neckline Too! Perhaps Rather Than Choosing something ‘New’ A Daughter - Niece or Dear Friend Might Go to the Closet of the Deceased Make the Choice - I would never know?! These were Ladies I Had Lovingly Been Blest to Dress- the Decades Thru- Often in a week I might Lose 1 or 2 and in the same Funeral Home they were listed as ‘on view’- After Church on a Sunday I would hear my Husband say - “Do We Need to Make the ‘Funeral Home Fashion Run’ Today”? As this story Ends I share with You - an Episode I Recall as True - Only Part-time was I working - each week- 3 Days - the others I spent in Tulsa - my Mother - terminally ill there-. Home on Sunday - By the Funeral Home- yes I wished to Go! On My Visiting I was Relieved to see- 2 Ladies Who had been as ‘Dear, Customer Friends’ for many a year - Each a Beautiful Dress wore - yes, they were from the Store - But I Had, my Store Angels - in training they had learned well - Best Friends Should Not Be Shown the SAME Dress as a Friend Perhaps had Bought - even in a different shade - this was Not The Thing to Do! To the Best of My Knowledge, no one Did Ever See - Concurrently - two Ladies Behind ‘Neighboring Slumber Room Doors’ Dressed alike To Be a ‘Fashion Mess’ - For All Eternity! Let them always be Laid to Rest in the Color in Life they Wore Best!
Always the ever aware WomenAKIN and I Did Try so hard to AVOID ‘SAME DRESS MESS!’ Before we leave the subject- Best to Mention Now With You - The Basic Little Black Dress - The Ever -Versatile Black Suit too-
So similar - Could Be Called ‘Look Alike Too’- Remember It’s always How You Choose to Accessorize that Makes It Very Personally You! - Perhaps Jewelry- a Scarf - Shawl - or a Jacket You chose? - Maybe something as ‘Sheer and Striking’ as your Legs Showing off a pair of Patterned or Textured Hose! Enjoy Your choice of the Basic Little Dress - Change It in Many Ways and make it ever reflect your ‘Good Taste’- If in your closet there is not ONE hanging there - then in HASTE put it on your ‘TO BUY LIST’ there is not a Shopping Moment to WASTE!

Chapter X



Fashion World Proves to be More and More -
A Reflection of World Events as well as “Goings On’
Just Outside the North May Avenue Fitting Room Door’  Sonic Booms and MORE

Over the World - Decades Thru -there were wars and ‘Rumors of Wars’.  Once more a Reflection on the ‘Fashion Scene’ Fabrics and Printed Fabric what will it all mean?- It meant more and more pieces in cotton were seen! Sometimes slacks and suits in shades of Military Tan and Khaki too - uniquely styled and shaded - yes, it is true - Camouflage Prints’ big time came into view -!
Looking back I recalled the ‘not so fashionable’ influence of the ‘Flower Children’ and ‘Hippies too’ - Briefly They Did All Pass Thru - None enjoyed ‘too long a stay’ on the Fashionably correct ‘Ave’ of N. May!
Assassinations - Changes in the White House - New ‘First Ladies’ in Fashion Full View - No woman of that time will ever forget the day when the Ever-Elegant Jackie Kennedy was so quickly and tragically whisked away in the Rose-Shaded Blood Spattered Suit she was Wearing in Dallas That Assassination Day - Her little - so Fashion Right Pill Box Hat Never Askew - as Scrambling Secret Service Agents tried Hard to Hide the ‘Horror’ from the World’s Eyes on Live TV News View!  You who were Alive that Day- Remember that Heart-Breaking Happening in your ‘Mind’s Eye’ as if it Might Have Been Only Yesterday.  The World was still reeling from the Shock of it all - So too was it on N. May Ave. Customers Remained at Home to Watch the Funeral Procession Move By.  As so small - young Son John Jr. Saluted - there was scarcely a Dry Eye! Customer Friends were not out to Visit - Browse or Buy!  This Time of Grief would not be Brief!.  The Tragedy of it all - over the Nation Seemed to Have ‘Cast a Pall’-.  The owner of the Store at that time was a very quiet genteel Lady - We sat in the store - not a customer in sight-just the WomenAKIN under the ever Glaring Window Light.
Suddenly thru the Door of the Store - A Rather Pushy- Bombastic Salesman Came - A Road Rep we knew all too well- Both by Reputation and By Name! The owner in her ever kind way told him she would be at Market Soon and was NOT ‘OPEN to Buy’ that afternoon -  He left - several minutes passed by - and the next thing we knew He was pushing open the Door - Rolling a Loaded Rack of Sample Garments into the Store!  The owner remained unruffled and calm and repeated her earlier phrase - one well known in the trade- “I am sorry But I am not ‘Open to Buy Today”. Grumbling He Pushed the Rack back to the Door - His Final Words - I Heard Him say - ‘You two just aren’t BITCHY Enough to SUCCEED in ’This Business’ Anyway! And still, Today I have to Consider that a Compliment - in a Strange Way!  The Business went on Most Successfully for Many a Year’-
While World Events - Shook us to our ‘Fashion Core’- One Summer we were shaken ‘Sky High’, each Day at precisely 12:00 o’clock - High Noon, we were shaken by the SONIC BOOM - the store windows in place - would slightly sway - Had the WomanAKIN had Hearts - they would have been Beating Faster! I urged customers to move to the Back of the Store - perhaps Behind A Fitting Room Door- in case there just might be - a store window ‘Shattered Glass Disaster’ -  Thankfully That We Never Did See!
But sadly a story that must here be told - As Nature’s Wrath in the form of a True Tornado and Traumatic Winds did once unfold!  I left the store at closing all was safe as I locked the door - Early Evening - a Suddenly Strange and Sudden Storm Darkened the Sky - not just Traumatic Winds but a True TORNADO came Tunneling and Funneling Thru in all of its Howling Horror Leaving Spots of Retail in Ruins along N. May Ave.  ‘Small Strip Shops’ virtually ‘Blown Away’- the Store I had left so shortly before in a Matter of Hours was No More - the Top Layer of the Roof was Totally Blown Away and before projected rain storms were headed that way - May Ave was by ‘the OKC Police Force brought by Barricades to a Quick Close - Only Business Owners were allowed thru - Salvaging Merchandise to any Storage Areas - As the next day dawned the owner and I set out to view - what might be readily available for ‘immediate occupancy’ and my in-store life moved ever - successfully undaunted by Tornadic Trauma ever - further north on May Ave - A Happy Ending to a Fashion Horror Story -  And behind the new store window More NEW WomenAKIN came immediately Fashionably Dressed into Full View!
Before this chapter’s closing the WomenAKIN who had lived ‘window-wise’- thru the summer of the SONIC BOOMS - thought the readers should know ‘Why the ‘SONIC BOOM’ tests and What They Did Show? - Factually - Over 50 years ago - these Daily Tests were Conducted Over OKC by the U.S. Air Force and the FAA with this question - ’Could a City Continue to Function Normally with ‘Supersonic Transportation’ involving ‘Super Fast’ Planes that were known to produce ‘SONIC BOOM SOUNDS-?’  No Final Word Found - After a Summer of SONIC BOOM Sounds - I shall merely say - OKC continues to Function Normally - Alive and Well - to this VERY DAY!

Chapter XI


Economic BOOMS
- Busts and More Women Out the Door -
Playing Evermore Roles in Career
- Community and Family -
Dressing for Success in the Workplace or the next 10K Race!

Just as ‘SONIC BOOM’ Reverberations were felt both Near and Far Away So too was there a Time when the terms ‘OIL BOOM and BUST’ affected Our Economy both Near and Far - and Especially on N. May - for we in the ‘Fashion Field’ heard whispered ‘Behind the Fitting Room Door’- as well as on the ‘Sales Floor’- Words such as these - A Very New Need- Fashion Wise Women were thinking ‘Career Wise’-!  Not only a ‘Paycheck’ did they Seek but a Change in their Status as Women’!  We the women who have lived thru World War II - were often better educated than the Women Who Made Up the Generation Before - Still, we were feeling the need to see a ‘post-war Husband Degreed’- the Babies Came and As they Grew- All of Volunteerism needed Our Time and Talents Too!
The Late Great Erma Bombeck created for us a Name - one that attributed to her much too short-lived- but much loved and well-remembered fame!  The Term- ‘Justa Housewife’- Our Talents - Countless in Number - Performed Often and Perfected Well -!  We were the women who in addition to being Wives, Mothers and always Church and involved Community Volunteers - heard a phrase that was ‘music to our ears’ -  we were so many Women Seeking NEW CAREERS - and thru the years as our Careers began to Progress - perhaps it was Because We Tended To Believe That In Order to Succeed - we needed to ‘Dress For Success’ - While still often playing the wife and mother roles too - perhaps having once been ’Justa Housewife’ multitasking was Something we had Really Learned to Do !
In addition to all the rest we learned the Importance of Health- Mind Body and Spirit - all seemed to be Equally Important too.  Thus Women Began to Walk, to Run - Exercise - Before or After The Work Day - which led to a Need for Exercise Wear - Women could Find It in a small shop on N. May - Something to Wear while Running the Much Discussed Upcoming 10K!?
More and More Women Out the Door - For Career - For Health - For Pleasure and Family Fun - and the WomenAKIN and I Learned that Fashion - continued Ever and seasonally Changing - I once compared it again to a ‘Kaleidoscopic View’ - Ever Changing - Ever New - Ever Exciting and Beautiful to View!
In My ‘Fashion Lifetime’ Behind the Fitting Room Door - and ‘Ever further Northward on N. May’- I did see Innovations that Meant Much to Me and Those I was so Privileged to call My ‘Customer Friends’- before this chapter on Our Booming and Blooming Status of Women ends - Four Changes - First Women’s Buying Power Grew - Second In the Career World there was Greater Self-Esteem and Self-Worth Gained - The Final Two - A Woman Could Securely Hold  'One in Each Hand' - A Charge Card in Her Own Name and Panty Hose - Never Again Need a Crooked Stocking Seam Be Seen!
There was a quick window dressing change of garment one day and a WomanAKIN repeated a phrase she heard a woman say - that day- it was spoken to a Shopping friend - simply ‘We’ve come a Long Way Baby’ - the WomanAKIN wondered if I thought that was True? And I Was More Convinced Each Day I Spent On May Ave - and Happy to Say - ‘You Bet I Do’ So True - We’ve Come a Long Way Baby! You and I Too!


Chapter XII


Thankful for Many Lessons Learned From
- Angel Co-Workers  Customer Friends Too -
As I grow older - Hopefully Wiser on N. May Ave.

In over 50 years - Half a Century - Lived out on N. May - There We Met Needs That Were Constant Decade After Decade - Day after Day - Yes, Baby We as Women Did Come a Long Way!  As this Fashion Tale seems to go without End - Events and Experiences All Seem to Rather Blend - Alone, I would Never Be - Before Opening the Door of the Very First Store, I Asked Prayerfully that the Lord Be With Me That Day, and All Along the Way-  I’m sure the Lord Knew from His View of Eternity - Although for Him Brief, It seemed to Be - A long Journey as it Loomed Ahead for A Mere Mortal Such as Me - Not by Accident But ‘Heaven Sent’ - My Co-Workers I Called ‘Angels’ - They Flew from Fitting Room to Fitting Room - Day by Day - Meeting the Needs of Our “Customer Friends’ -  in a Most ‘Heavenly Way’ - No Commissions were Ever Made - No ‘Push Money’ ever Paid - But a Generous ‘Merchandise Discount’ in the store We were Allowed and a Flexible Work Schedule for my Angelic Co-Workers I always Vowed to Do.  Example - ‘Mommy Hours’ if wanted - I would Do - When the last child in the Morning was out the door - Come for ‘Fashion Work And Fun’ in the Store!  But Be Back at Home when the Kids come Home at the School Day’s End.  Happily, there always seemed to be Fashion-wise’ teens and plenty of eager DECA trained girls waiting and watching the clock for their ‘Work Day’ to Begin - They loved Weekend and extra Holiday Hours Best - A Win-Win For Me!  With Happy Working Store Angels, I was Always Blest and No Church Camp or Summer Vacation Trip was Ever to Be Missed!  Always an - Angel Could Fly - In to Fill In From My Large ‘Waiting List’!
Only recently I Heard a Younger Man Say - “I remember when I was just a ‘little guy’ - I got sick at school one day - My mom worked with you in the store in N. May- She picked me up and suddenly I felt BETTER - and you had a corner in the store where I Might Rest and Stay and Play- and my Divorced Mom might finish out those valued ‘Hours of Her Mommy Work Day’ without losing any Pay!”  Still - No High ‘Hourly Wage - Commission or ‘Push Money’ Paid - My goal There was There Be an Atmosphere of Christian Warmth - Love and Concern for other ‘Angels’ - and Customer Friends Feel the Camaraderie -  And I Knew - So True - it must ‘ever Begin With Me’! - For Something More than Just ‘Body Cover’ or  ‘New to Put on to Wear’ - So often our Customer Friends were there with Problems - Traumas both Large and Small - Did They need a Hand to Clasp - A Listening Ear - A Heart-Warming Word of Prayer to Share?  An Incident ‘Ever to Remain with Me - Permanently Etched in Brain and Memory - It Began Like Any other Day on N. May- And By Afternoon Busy - So many Fashion Shows To Do - I Recall I Had ‘Models’ that were Breast Cancer Survivors for the Annual “Especially For You” Show - So Long - I Really Don’t Know - they may have been from the Geology Wives Show - Today I Cannot Say!  In the Midst of it All, A Precious Customer Friend ‘dropped in’ - Very, very Seldom Could She Afford to Buy - She Liked to See ‘What was New’ and on Leaving Always wished to Share a ‘Hug or Two’!  So Busy that Day - No more than a Quick Glance - A Wave and a Smile We Did Share - I’m Haunted Still Today - Might it All Have Turned Out Some Other Way If I had only Had a Minute to Spare that Day!  Quickly, She Chose a Lovely Dress - the ‘Angel’ who Had Assisted Her Said She Did Not Wish to ‘Try it On’ - When I looked up again- She Had Purchased, Paid in Cash and so Quickly She was GONE!  Less than a Week Passed and quite Shockingly a Brief Notice of Her Death I Did See -  No Mention of a Funeral or Full Obituary!  Another Few Days and I Did Behold A Gentleman - Carrying that ‘Lovely Dress’ so Recently Sold - He wore a Bit of a Frown - As He Almost Threw it Down on the Counter by the Cash Register - I Hear Him Say - ‘It Was a Cash Sale - Never Worn - “ I’d Like My Money BACK TODAY!” Had His Dear Late Wife Been Thinking Suicide That Day? And was this the Garment in which She Had Chosen to Be Laid Away?  Another Question - the Answer to Which Would Remain  Unknown - Would the Story Have Ended Differently - If that Day I might not so BUSY had been - When She Came in With a ‘Load of Care’ and Perhaps a Burden She Had Wished to Share - Perhaps if I Had Been There Free To Suggest A Moment or Two of  PRAYER?  For I Know in My ‘Heart of Hearts’ Lord, You are There Just as You Had Said You Would Be - Waiting Near with a Listening Ear - Attuned to Hear My Every Prayer - Thankfully I Remain Forever Near Dear Lord to Thee!
Chapter XIII



And Thankfully Two Days Later
- It Was a Saturday and That Was The Day -
the WomenAKIN Told Me It Was Time to Pray and Share
- To Affirm The Fact That They and I Always Knew To Be True
- Before I Went Through The Door of That First Elegant Store
- That The Lord Continues to MIGHTILY Be With Me 
- That Day and All the Days - Be They Many or Few-
 Behind the Fitting Room Door on N. May Ave -

It was far less than half way - thru my Fashion Journey on N. May Ave - that in the last hour before closing that Saturday as the Angels and I were doing some straightening - it had been a Busy Sale Day I heard myself say - I’m Coming In an Hour Before We Open for Business on Monday - More and More Needs Seem Daily To Be Shared - if any of You are Scheduled on Monday - I’ll Be In Front Near The Counter With Some Chairs - The Door Will Be Unlocked.
I Remember So Joyfully I Was Shocked as NOT Only The Co-Workers Were There Too - but one brought a neighbor who indeed felt the Need for Shared Prayer Before Beginning a New Uncertain Week too!  The Store in Early Morning Peace and Calm - not all the Glaring Overhead Lights Turned On - An Area Became a Place to Share a Prayer and Pray - In the Weeks and Months that Followed - Workers from Stores up and down the block - Came with Needs and to ‘Prayerfully Talk’ - Cancer - Divorce - In Those Days not as much heard of Drugs and Addiction and Today’s ever rising  Alzheimer's Affliction - War and Rumors of War - then and now were heard too.  Our Needs and Numbers in Weeks Ever Grew - Shared Prayer There as We Began each Monday with a Brief Scripture Reading and a Bible Verse or two.  God’s Word Became More ALIVE - Did our Businesses Thrive and Prosper in any way?  Today I Don’t Recall - but ‘Riches and Rewards’ in Our Lives - not Measured in a Monetary Way - Came Our Way in a Warm and Caring Way - Just as I had said I Always Wanted It to Be- among my ‘angels’ an ever-growing Camaraderie!  Then and Now My Needs You Always Seem To Know - and Now My Aging Needs Seem Ever To Grow! If I Just Reach Out to YOU with my Morning Prayer - Dear Lord you take my Hand and Safely Guide my Faltering Steps into Each New Day!
I am No Longer on N. May but I Live Now Just A Few Short Blocks Away.  No more WORDS - Heard although Unspoken, from My WomenAKIN on N. May - But My Bond With Them - As With YOU Lord Created in a Time So Long Past - Shall Forever Last -  Forever and a Day Unbroken-
And as I arrive at ‘Ninety’ SOON- that Day of Heavenly Reunion May Not Be Too Far Away!
Perhaps NOW this "Little Book with its Many a Look - Behind the Fitting Room Door" - needs Nothing More than a One Word Closing - Honoring Our Simple and Shared Prayers That Seemingly Know No END - So I Shall Write - As I Simply Utter This Heartfelt Word of Closeness and Closure a Written and Whispered AMEN- Dear Reader Friend.
EPILOGUE



With a Prologue the years
‘Behind the Fitting Room Door’ Did Start -
So perhaps for the ‘Final Words’ and ‘ Closing’ an Epilogue might be Smart!
The WomenAKIN and I have Shared and YOU ‘Dear Reader Friend’ Have Patiently Read ON!  From ‘Little Miss Droopy Drawers’ Bloomers - My ‘Big Girl Panties’ I Pulled Up and Moved On - Bikini Panties - yes, I Sold Many a Pair and Wore a Few Pair Too!  NOW before my ‘Time of Morning Prayer’ I don my ‘Incontinence Underwear’!  My ‘Prayer Time’ - and On To Another Day - Still Just a Few Short Blocks Away From N. May Avenue!

Casady Junior first to undertake transcribing 50 Years Behind the Fitting Room Door!


Brief first meeting during Pajama Walk-A-Thon Week 2017
  


Setting up summer schedule to review Prologue, Chapters-1-3 during
Walk-A-thon Day Break

"50 years behind the fitting room door"  Then and Now Project
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Mrs. Marolyn Stout contacted the Casady Service-Learning Program to request help with a book she wanted to publish about her 50 years in retail in OKC.   Mrs. Stout is creating "50 Years Behind the Fitting Room Door" chapters and providing the handwritten manuscripts to teen typist who will transfer chapters to an online self-publishing program, PRESSBOOKS courtesy of the Village Library, Youth Adult Program.  Teens involved in the project will learn how to use the program as they type the story in verse being created by Mrs. Stout.

The Casady Service-Learning Program connected with Miss Elizabeth Wright, Young Adult Librarian at the Village Library in OKC, Mrs. Finley, Casady's English Department Head, proofreader of the first book by Mrs. Stout and MD English teacher, Mr. Blayze Hembree as resources and volunteer recruiters for the creation of the online book.  

Mrs. Stout provided the first couple of chapters the first week in May.   A publication date expected for the book is Mrs. Stout's 90th birthday on October 24, 2018.

Below other service-learning experiences featuring Mrs Marolyn Stout, resident of Brookdale, Statesmen's Club, Independent Living.


Storycorps interview with Marolyn Stout:







Marolyn with an "o", Then & Now

Ananya B. transposed blog entries into e-book and regular book for Marolyn with

Shutterfly http://www.shutterfly.com/.  A copy of the book is part of the S-L library @ Casady School.

Preface

Then & Now Project, Books connecting history to elders' life stories
This book represents a collaboration between Jordan Richards, Casady School Class of 2014, Marolyn Stout, "age 86, still learning new tricks, like the IPAD,"  Ananya Bhaktaram, Casady Class of 2017 who will continue the 'Then and Now' project during the school year 2014-2015, and Carmen Clay'74, Director of Service-Learning at Casady School.  Jordan aspired to be a biographer of a depiction of an era he had come to love; the late 20's, and early 30's.  Ananya and Carmen helped Jordan's first draft become an E-book that brings history alive through the experiences of Marolyn with an "O".          


Jordan & Marolyn met at a Casady Chapel service, May, 2013 
after Marolyn's talk on Memorial Day through the Decades

Marolyn Stout 86, a published poet at age 9, met and bonded with Jordan, finding camaraderie and creativity in the same era that bred Marolyn with an "O", whose mother painted the world to baby Marolyn  through daily readings of nursery rhymes. " I always write in verse, sometimes better, sometimes worse, from a young age I was guided by verse."




Chapter 1- Chicago- Marolyn with an "O"

The life of Marolyn with an" O" began on a nippy chilly late October morn, October 24, 1927. " I was born in Henrotin Hospital in downtown Chicago. The city was in the midst of Prohibition, Speakeasies, the Gangland era of Al Capone, prior to the Valentine's Day Massacre."

"Along with front page crime often the Chicago Tribune ran stories of the Ziegfeld follies and Marilyn Miller ; Marilyn with an "I". She was excitingly costumed and danced her way from New York to the Chicago stage, and she was the 20's dancing rage."


Radio was in its infancy. Silent films were pushed away by talking films.  As chatter waged war on the silent film, the scene was quieter in a suburb off the North Shore, Rogers Park, in a lace curtained Lunt Avenue apartment. For 5 long years Polly and Bill Donnelly, nearly thirty, had prayed for a child to complete their life. "I arrived 7 lbs. 6oz.  The labor had been long."  


Birth Announcements by mail. Phone calls too expensive



Telegrams delivered by young men on bikes

Marolyn often thinks of that day in the words of a song from decades later, by the Carpenters. "On the day that you were born the angels got together. And decided to create a dream come true.   "I was prayed for, precious and heaven sent." 






On leaving the hospital, after a 10 day  stay,  it was discovered the multiple spellings of the name Marolyn on her certificates of birth (hospital, doctor, county). Her condition as a colicky, kicking, screaming baby had taken precedence over the multiple spellings of her name.  Albert Einstein suffered from colic, perhaps colic is a forerunner of genius in those that have it!   Marolyn's parents changed formulas from time to time, but how long would it last?  Finally 5 months plus, the crying fits had passsed, there were moments of peaceful sleeping and long wonderful naps. 

Pictures of Marolyn with her aunts

Her parents could finally concentrate on rectifying the spelling of the name the child would keep.  "From 2 childless aunts, Mary and Carolyn, the spelling was set.  Ms. Miller, and decades later Ms. Monroe, kept the "I "and I kept my   'O". 


Chapter 2:  Boston, Ages 2-3 

 Return to Chicago age 4



At age two, just before the Valentine’s Day  Massacre, Marolyn's father was transferred, and off to Boston they went. A whole new world opened up to Marolyn.  She was asked to be a part of a family friend's thesis related to reciting passages from memory.  Miss Lillian Reifenstein was conducting a study on how young a child might memorize and recite "pieces" she was too young to read.  They were called "pieces" because they all came on individual pieces of paper.  Between ages two and three, Marolyn recited her first "piece."                                                                 


Now Miss Clara,
Point your toe.

Look at me
And point it so.

For you know
I learned to dance
In the country known as France.



In 1930, a week before Halloween, Marolyn turned three years old. Children carried jack o lanterns, not trick-or-treat bags. Marolyn saw many costumes for the first time, such as ghosts and goblins. People of all ages in cut-out bed sheets as ghosts running down the streets.  Marolyn joined the throngs of kids enjoying Halloween. 


During war time years, in the decades that follow, treats were not sweet; sugar was rationed, but there was an abundance of popcorn and salty treats.  In her mid 80's, in 2013, Marolyn and her friends still celebrate Halloween. 


















Little Marolyn actually lived in Watertown, a suburb of Boston.  The only time she remembers going  down into the city of Boston was when there was a parade and she waved at President Calvin Coolidge as he passed by in his Presidential car. 

Marolyn's miniature music box,
reproduction of an early 1930's radio plays the
tune "Yesterday." 

Marolyn's father was transferred back to to Chicago when Marolyn was 4 years old.  She loved being back by Lake Michigan.  Although she had to give-up her lessons with Ms. Reifenstein, she found a new passion, RADIO. 



Marolyn listened to WGN. WGN referred to the Chicago Tribune called the "World's Greatest Newspaper."  The Tribune currently owns 23 TV stations and cable network WGN America along with the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers.          

Every day at noon, 4-year old Marolyn listened to "The National Farm and Home Hour".  Marolyn heard, " It is a beautiful day in Chicago." and when she looked out her window, she often saw gray skies, a dusting of white snow coated with black coal soot as coal was used for heating and for the nearby elevated trains that were her father's way of commuting to downtown Chicago.  On the radio, in the afternoons, Marolyn looked forward to "Little Orphan Annie" and when Kate Smith came on singing her theme "When the moon comes over the mountain."    These lyrics announced the time of her Daddy returning home.


If 4-year old Marolyn was very good, she stayed  up and listened to the broadcast of Amos 'n' Andy, a radio and later a television sitcom set in 1920-1950's in Manhattan's historic Harlem. The original radio show was created, written and voiced by two white actors, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, who played a number of different characters including the infamous "Kingfish."  The radio shows also brought warm memories of her Daddy dining on his favorite "Broiled lamb chops and mint green jelly". Marolyn's family was fortunate not to have been directly affected by the "The Great Depression Years".


                                                                                     
Chapter 3: The Oklahoma Move Ages 5-8 (Tulsa-OKC)



At the age of 5, Marolyn and her parents moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma known then as the "Oil Capital of the World." 
Marolyn's grandparents had resided in Tulsa since 1911. Her father took a position with Mid-Continent Petroleum Company leaving the United States Rubber Company.

From ages 5-8 Marolyn had a beautiful life in Tulsa (with one year spent in Oklahoma City when her father was on a year long assignment).  She discovered that the cities were poles apart (in teaching methods). Oklahoma City teaching only printing and remaining with one teacher, in one classroom all day.  Tulsa taught cursive writing with a rotation of teachers and classrooms daily. 


Marolyn was excited to have an auditorium teacher and a stage where Marolyn could pursue her early interest in reciting and finally acting on the stage.  At age 8, came her father's tragic and untimely death following a tonsillectomy.  No miracle drugs such as penicillin to cope with his post-op infection and pneumonia. 


Marolyn and her mother moved into her grandparents, James and Alice Morrison's large Tulsa home.  The house had a detached garage and servants quarters where a black couple who helped with household chores, laundry and lawn care, lived adjacent to the garage.  

Marolyn's life was very different living in her grandparents home; her precious Grandmother blind and her Grandfather an alcoholic. Alcohol problems were common among the early day successful oilmen.  


Marolyn had so wanted after her father's death to be in a school play, to be cast as "The Princess" in a play to be premiered on the auditorium stage at Tulsa's Lincoln Grade School, located at 15th and Peoria Avenue, what is now a part of Tulsa's Cherry Street. But it was not meant to be, Marolyn had memorized all the lines but the white satin and lace princess costume was for a smaller, slender, little girl (no elastic as yet in the waistline of the garment).


Marolyn was cast as "the Woodland Owl" with huge ugly brown crepe paper wings and her one often repeated line "hoot, hoot,hoot, tawit, tawit,tawoo"  Marolyn to this day has a wonderful owl collection.

Chapter 4:  Poetry published "Then and Now" Age 9 and in her 80's



In the months that followed her theatrical disappointment, Marolyn began to write poetry.  At age 9, her first poem, "My Dog" was published in a National children's magazine, WEE Wisdom,  the January 1937 issue. 

The Tulsa Tribune, a local evening newspaper ran an article concerning the poem. A few years earlier, there had been the Lindbergh kidnapping, still in the minds of many. Following the newspaper article, Marolyn's mother received a threatening letter demanding a $500 ransom or Marolyn would be kidnapped.

Marolyn's mother knowing that she would never stop writing requested only that she, "Please never be published again."  

Marolyn kept her promise until after the age of 80. At age 86, as in three previous years, her poetry appeared again in the 39th annual Oklahoma Conference on "Aging Senior Poetry Contest" Book.






Chapter 5:  Marolyn & Shirley Temple, Daughters of The Great Depression

In the light of the recent death of Shirley Temple Black, Marolyn reflected on the fact that she and Shirley Temple, were "Daughters of the Great Depression Era" born six months apart in age, 1927-1928. 

 Marolyn loved tap dancing as did Shirley.  Marolyn's favorite Shirley Temple movie was "Baby Take A Bow."  Marolyn had a special Shirley Temple doll and her mother bought her many Shirley Temple Dresses, Books, and Paper Dolls.  Marolyn danced early and now enjoys dancing late in her 80's.  At age 8, the night before her father's death, at a dance recital, on the stage of Tulsa's Convention Hall, she wore a green shamrock trimed costume best remembered for its itchy-scratchy-green petticoat.  It was a night of Great Excitement.  The following day, one of Great Loss and Pain.  She enjoys Line Dancing and Zumba Gold.  On a recent Saint Patrick's Day Program at the Statesmen, a retirement community where Marolyn currently lives, she wore a Shamrock Necklace during a performance with her dance group.




Marolyn once wrote a 'fan letter" to Shirley enclosing a small blank card and asking for her autograph in return. She remembers the joy of  receiving Shirley's precious autograph.

Common denominators in Marolyn and Shirley's lives were the depression soup lines, terrible unemployment and then came the "New Deal," government projects  initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, such as the WPA (Works Progress Administration) and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).  A quote of the time was “Give a man a dole and  you save his body and destroy his spirit. Give him a job and you save both body and  spirit”.

The "New Deal Projects" allowed for a "hand up" during the great depression which began in 1929. 25% of the US population was unemployed, hungry, and without hope. The programs instituted changes that energized the economy and created an equilibrium that helped meet the needs of American citizens.  

Ike Franklin in a picture of the CCC
One "New Deal" program that the state of Oklahoma benefited much from was the WPA,  a work-relief program that employed more than 8.5 million people with an average salary of $41.57 a month. One of the WPA's programs, in Tulsa, led to the construction of buildings using native stone and rock. Among the National Programs created by the WPA were National Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Out of the economic chaos emerged the New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Its goal was conservation of natural resources and the salvage of young men and their future. The CCC provided jobs and a means of escaping the poverty that was plaguing the nation during this period of time.  

Marolyn reflects with her friend, Ike Franklin, at the Statesman about his job with the CCC. “He was toughened up by his work with the CCC which got him ready for the navy. The men of this era feel that young men haven’t been toughened in the same way today. Ike stated, "The CCC toughened me when they sent me from Kansas to Oregon to saw trees at age 17".



Chapter 6: Early Post-Depression Years -Late 30's - Early 40's- Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941


Marolyn's love for stage  and radio acting continued from grade school into junior high.  Marolyn vividly remembers Sunday, December 7, 1941, as the Day of Infamy, the attack on Pearl Harbor. 


Marolyn was in the ninth grade and had felt greatly honored to be asked to do ingénue roles with an adult repertoire theatre, a group called "Stage Mart."  On Sunday, December 7th, she was on rehearsals of the upcoming production of a "Christmas Carol."  Marolyn was cast as the Crachitt's eldest daughter.  As they rehearsed, a radio softly played in the background with the news report that the USS Oklahoma had been hit. Nine torpedoes struck the hull and the vessel was sinking.  One of the men in the cast gasped at the news.  His brother was serving aboard  the USS Oklahoma and lost his life that day.  





Always a believer in the phrase, "History repeats itself, Then and Now,"  Marolyn recalled her work with the Tulsa's long gone, Stage Mart.  



72 years later, Marolyn volunteered for 'Boot Camp"'with her beloved Oklahoma City "Jewel Box Theater" as they were doing "A Christmas Carol", a unique, updated version.  The Jewel Box Boot Camp included, observing try-outs, a rehearsal, and appearing on opening night in a "I survived Boot Camp" t-shirt.

Chapter 7: The World War II Years & "The Greatest Generation"



The young men who fought for freedom worldwide during World War II had been toughened up during their teenage years by government programs such as the CCC and the WPA.  These young men were called, "The Greatest Generation, which describes the generation of men and women who grew up in the United States during the Great Depression, fought in World War II, and those who on the "War's Home Front made a decisive material contribution to the war effort.  The generation is also known as the G.I. (Government Issued) Generation.


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow



Marolyn at age "Sweet 16" in a wartime
"photo booth"
While the men were fighting on the war front, on the home front, Marolyn and her family experienced rationing of meat, sugar, shoes, tires, and gasoline.  In addition to the  United States government issued ration stamps, it was important that all citizens bought War Savings Stamps.  People filled a book with $18.75 of war stamps issued by the United States Post Office Department. When the book was filled, it could be exchanged for a War Savings Bond that was to be  redeemed at maturity for $25. "That was a lot of money in those days."  
During Marolyn's high school war years, she promoted the sale of war stamps on  a Saturday Morning Radio show, the name of which was changed from "Children's Radio Theater" to "The Commando Kids Theater". Each listener was urged to buy a weekly War Stamp, worth .25 cents, which Marolyn stated on the air "This is your admission to the Commando Kids Theater." 







High School Graduation Time
Marolyn with an orchid in her hair, a gift
ordered by a young serving overseas in the 101st Airborne division
Marolyn had started radio broadcasting at age 12 and was on the air from 6th grade through her junior year in college. During war times, Marolyn's high school years, she continued to act on stage.  The summer of 1945, following Marolyn's high school graduation, atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.  Spring of 1945 ended the War in Europe. Sadly, President Roosevelt died a few months before the "Greatest Generation" brought our nation victorious from the Wars on all fronts.



It was amazing how many men were immediately released from service and able to begin their post-war college education with the GI Bill. Fifteen million service men and women came as veterans out of World War II. By the time the GI Bill kicked in fully, America’s universities were jammed with vets.
 
 
Chapter 8:  Peace and the Post War World

The first year after the war, the University of Tulsa campus classrooms were crowded and classes were also being held in temporary Quonset huts, once so valuable on war time bases, and in nearby church buildings.



Early Auditions for KWS, Fall 1945



The Speech Department at Tulsa University decided that  ''radio was no longer an art, but a business". Marolyn majored in Radio Production and minored in Speech Education. 








The University of Tulsa campus was chosen by millionaire W.G. Skelly (KWGS) as the site for a new future FM radio station, KWGS. The early shows aired locally first and expanded to larger markets later.  Mr. Skelly gave a generous gift revamping the original station site in the basement of TU's Kendall Hall.
Center Piece at KWGS reunion decades after its founding 
Marlyn's college years: Radio, Theatre Performances
and sorority life

Marolyn left Tulsa University after three years and the eras of Marolyn Stout began. 

















Chapter 9:  The many eras of Marolyn's life now long gone, "Then and Now"



The eras of Marolyn with an "O" progressed from student to marriage to her beloved husband, Bob, 60 years married at the time of his death in 2008, to motherhood and daughters Suzanne and Barbara. 

 


Marolyn is also a proud grandmother and great-grandmother. 

A recent four generation picture, Daughter Suzy,
   Great-grandson,  Zane, and Grandson, Danny and two
views of Zane



Marolyn's only two grandchildren, Danny and Stacey, now in their early forty's shown in high school and college 











It was always "a sweet time" on the set 
Marolyn, from her childhood years in radio to the 1950's in Television, made commercials selling furniture, appliances and cars.  Her commercials continued and at age 65, Marolyn and Bob made  testimonials in a statewide campaign for "Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Plan 65 of Oklahoma."  Marolyn also became "Senior Scene Correspondent" for three years of
Early Morning TV-9 with Kerry Robertson. 

Recognition for 7 years for Cancer Survivors Fashion
Shows


Marolyn was involved in volunteerism and community enrichment with the Brownies and Girl Scouts, the PTA, civic groups, cancer survivor groups, and her beloved sorority, CHI OMEGA (whose forever symbol is the wise owl). 












On with the show
Show written, models ready
Marolyn worked for over 50 years in the "Fascinating Field of ashion.  She was a store maager, buyer, always in sales and produced what is still being described as memorable seasonal fashion shows for group meetings at country clubs and churches.  Marolyn retired from fashion at age 84.





Member of this church over 55 years
Marolyn, at age 86, continues to be active in her role as a United Methodist Woman, strongly influenced by her blind grandmother's early teachings,, for whom Marolyn read scriptures that have influenced her throughout her life.   "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for Good and not for Evil, to give you a future and a hope.  In these days, when you pray, I will listen.  You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest."  Jeremiah 29:12




Marolyn reflects on her wedding pictures and those of her daughters, now ages 65 and 60, Marolyn remembers the words of a favorite college professor, "Aim high, the star can be bright and beautiful." 

From childhood, another quote forever in her heart remains, "What you are to be, you are now becoming."  An interest in childhood, in writing, has truly lasted a life time.






Marolyn has taken us on a reflective journey of a life in the "Best of Times and the Worst of Times". Marolyn considers life at almost 87, as a resident of the Statesman Club, Senior Living Community of 160 elders in Oklahoma City among the very "Best of Times."











If spelled with an I, a claim to fame, even a house hold name like "Marilyn Miller" or "Marilyn Monroe", she might have been. But in her later years she learned, "It is never too late to be what you might have been."  Marolyn with an "O" is working  now on a future book of her life and career in fashion. 

The late William Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage," and Marolyn with an "O" has been cast in many roles throughout her life time, none played more proudly than grandmother and great-grandmother. 




Recent Words of appreciation from grandchildren and great-grandchild

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To Marolyn on Mother's Day

Just a note to let you know how much we treasure your generosity of time and your total dedication and creativity to every thing we do together.  You personify joy for life and life long learning connected to unselfish giving.  Jordan's and my life have been made richer because we have been part of you path this year.  Jordan should send his finish product to us, not in a link form to an e-book, but a word document, which I will copy here, as soon as he sends it to me, for you to review.

Thank you for the memories we did together and the ones we will create next year.  You are a blessing to us all.

A student heard about the May pole http://vimeo.com/65602163 and wants to bring the idea for a possible activity at Camp Casady this summer.  His name is Johnny L.  you met him at Study Hall.  See your influence, just like the energizer bunny, keeps on going!

Today it is the Month of May-The Year 2014

I find rather thought provoking that in my  "Senior Periodicals" for the "Month of May" no mention of "May Poles", "May Baskets" or "May Day"?  

Do note that "May was officially proclaimed; nationwide, "Older Americans Month" in 1963 honoring those age 65 and older.  The state of Oklahoma will however hold its "39th Annual" OK Conference on Aging" on May 20-22 in Norman.  May 20 "Senior Day"- all events are "Free of Charge" to those age 60 and older.  While AARP welcomes all to join its ranks for Publications Discounts and Benefits at age 50!


No doubt about it, at age 86, I may with all certainty proclaim myself as "Older-Aging and American Retired Person!

Born in 1927, I was one of " The Great Depression Children".  The "Official Day of the Market Crash" was October 24, 1929-My Second Birthday!
In that Era, I remember my Daddy returning home from "His corporate office in the Downtown Chicago Loop" taking me on his lap and turning to the "Page with all the Numbers"- The Stock Market Reports' instead of First Reading Me the "Funnies." The "day's figures" came First, "before" Little Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbuck's Adventures!  That winter the lines outside of "Soup Kitchens" all over our Land Became Long and "Brother can you spare a Dime?" a Familiar Phrase!

In the Era of My Childhood that followed I came to know My Elders well - A Sad Story to Tell!  Following the Death of My Daddy- from a simple Tonsil Surgery- an infection- and Miracle Drugs like Penicillin-not as yet to be! At age eight, my grieving Mother and I came to dwell in the beautiful Tulsa home of my Grandparents.  My Grandfather, an alcoholic-a problem with which many successful, early day oilmen had to cope- My Grandmother, was at the Mayo Clinic termed "legally blind" after two unsuccessful eye surgeries.  They said there was no Hope!!

My childhood blended into the Era of my "early teen years"- "Pearl Harbor" and World War II - Today at 86-I observe the "Greatest Generation"- In the 1940's we and our Elders- all who fought brought our Country "- Proudly and Victoriously thorough WWII.  On the "home front", I sadly remember we viewed daily the newspaper's long list of "Oklahoma's Casualty News":  We Teens and Elders understood "Ration Stamps" full well-From Sugar to Shoes-Rationed Tires and Gas-Many Stories to Share - of that Era now so Long Past!


With Peace there came the Post-War Era.  My college years-Then Marriage-The Roles of Wife and Mother-Volunteer Years-Career Years-Grandmother-Great-Grandmother-Widow-Where did the Eras All Go?  I see again this "Month of May," will there be some who still think of Baskets Today? I can still so vividly recall- "My own two Little Girls." My working always with their "Brownies and Scout Troops" Making "May Baskets'-Construction Paper-Cut and Fold-Jars of thick Paste-Wondering will the Handles Hold? The wilting 
white Spireas and Daffodils of Gold-always working in haste and my words as we cleaned-up our meeting place- I can still hear Myself say, "Remember We are Going to Leave this Place Better than We Found it Today"!

Now Dear Lord- In this my "Eldest Aging ERA"- Today, in the Beautiful Month of May-My Place is Your Beautiful Blooming Planet Earth - My nightly Prayer Lord, if I may, ask for Strength that I may "Leave this Place Better than I Found it Today"!

Marolyn Donnelly Stout, 2014 National Older Americans Month

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April meeting: Brainstorming Book Choices and Book Layout




Sustainability of Then and Now Project


 MARCH 2014, A MONTH ALMOST PAST


Basketball's March Madness-Lenten Ashes and Prayer, A Saint Patrick's Irish Fling-Chilly and Gray Day First Day of Spring!    Time for early Spring Cleaning-meaning-Dust I must.

Hold the soft cloth in my aging 86th year old blue vein hand to dust a four generation picture in a gold Victorian frame once thought quite grand.



The Youngest Generation, My Mother, Born in 1898, Nearly Four.

The Other Three Generations Of Women- Those That Came Before.

A Precious, Vivid, Visual Reminder That March Is Also

"National Women's History Month"

                                                                           
 For in March 1857- I Read- It All Began Indeed-With Women- New York Factory Workers- Poorly Paid- Working Long Hours In Deplorable Conditions- United They Arose- Became Bold We Are Told, And Thus The Fight For Women's Rights Began.  

It was well over a century later by Presidential Proclamation in the year 1987, the month of March will annually be celebrated as National Women's History Month.



I look in the frame at the Faces of the Women who Came Before Me.  They wanted to be Stronger, Better Educated, Wives and Mothers.  They chose to attend "Female Institutes" the Forerunners of Universities, thus Teaching was also a profession they chose.  They gave their voices to the causes of Temperance and Sobriety (the WCTU) Women's Suffrage was their big cause (Ever Pushing for Women's Voting Rights) and as Methodist Women they heard the financial need, the early missionary call as women in the mission field off to China went (Encouraging the Women not to Bind their Babies Feet)  In other words, Bibles some well hidden, were also sent!

As we come to TODAY, our nation trains women in the Military to serve proudly wherever duty may demand and women serve as Pastors in churches throughout our vast land. The Women who followed in my own family became Teachers - Store Keepers- Bankers-a Social Worker and one with a Medical Degree.

Now, Equal Pay for Equal Work for women that according to the "statistics", I shall not live to see.  But "The Glass Ceiling"- though not shattered totally
Today, I see the Cracks grow ever wide.

We As Women Must Take Great Pride
For With Faith In God, Dedication And Dignity
We Continue A Force Of Change And Strength Throughout All History.

Marolyn Donnelly Stout, 2014 National Women's History Month



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HAPPY MARDI GRASS






LAST FEBRUARY SESSION IN PICTURES





  








  










PREPARED FOR SAINT PATRICK'S DAY










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 "Why are grown up people's faces wrinkled like a lot of prunes?
Money, money, that's what chases them
around like crazy loons.
I think they make a big mistake...
Wealth and happiness that counts
are free to all in large amounts!
There's millions worth of golden sunbeams
That everybody can possess.
...
Among the wildwood of your happy childhood
Where you were Jills and Jacks
In raggy britches there's a lot of riches
On which you don't pay any income tax."


FIRST DRAFT OF MAROLYN'S BOOK

The pages below seem separated but they're memories so I think it would be cool to put it in a book like flashes of consciousnesses. tell me your opinions on this.  Mrs. Stout I hope you likes them. My Condolences about Shirley Temple.
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The WPA allowed for a hand up during the great depression along with the CCC. These programs Marolyn remembers fondly as she still talks with her friend at the statesman about his job at the CCC. “He was toughened up when he joined the navy” the men of his era feel that young men haven’t been toughened in the same way. He says the CCC has toughened him when they sent him to Oregon to saw trees. It provided jobs and a means of escaping the poverty that was plaguing the nation during this period of time.



==========================================================
College

 When the atomic bomb was dropped Marolyn had just graduated from high school. She was going to a reunion in a car and had stopped at a hotel in Missouri. When she heard the bomb had been dropped. She was relieved at the preservation of the life of her friends and she thought of mass destruction. She was amazed at how many men that were immediately released. The first year after the war the campus was crowded and classes were being held in Quonset huts. These buildings were used heavily as barracks in multiple fronts of World War 2 and had been re-purposed into buildings. They popped up in multiple places with so many men coming back from the military wanting to take petroleum engineering courses. 1945 the year radio was no longer an art but a business.

Marolyns first Halloween


Marolyn was in Boston at age 3 with a drastic change from Chicago and its concrete to the new surroundings actually possessing a yard with grass. In 1930 people were possessing jack o lanterns not bags and she saw many costumes for the first time, Such as ghosts and goblins. With many people in cut sheets as ghosts running down the road. In just a few short years she would be joining the thralls of kids


During the wartime Halloween treats were more popcorn or salty treats due to the sugar rationing.
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Meaningful things in Marolyn’s life included these fond memories from her past.

 Open with awaiting to be written.

Music: close to you by the carpenters

Sound effects: the wail of a newborn


Oct 24 1927

Henrotin hospital

Chicago Illinois

 Signs of the times: 

Gangland: speakeasies vice bootleggers gangs. 

Radio was in its infancy

Silent films were pushed away for talking films 

Ziegfield entertainer to Chicago Marilyn Miller  

Lights headlines many a Chicago news paper 

Polly and Bill Donnelly Marolyn each had a childless sister
Mary and Carolyn confusion was born that early autumn day 

Had three birth certificates with all three names spelled incorrectly 

Every baby had a silk bound baby book 

Telegrams from western union were sent out to alert familys

 Her name has been spelled 3 different ways. 

Unique to note that she was colic 6 months that she cried.

Albert Einstein suffered from colic “perhaps colic is a forerunner of genius in those that have it”

 A few well chosen words for the many stages of life

What you are to be you are now becoming. (on her 3rd birthday she was taken as a study for memory)

Never underestimate the power of a woman

Aim high the star can be bright and beautiful.

To be womanly always and discouraged never

Its never to late to be what you might have been


On December the seventh she was in rehearsal for an adult repertory theater production of a Christmas carol

Her drama teacher was directing her. He did stage mart she was playing in the 9th grade junior high and felt honored to do the ingenue roles then the radio was softly was in the back ground the USS Oklahoma had been hit as 9 torpedoes struck the hull and sunk and one of the men gasped as his brother was serving on the Oklahoma.


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Calendar for 2014 January - Marolyn's Calendar

Due to weather and other matters, we only met twice in January February: No meetings until February 21 due to weather and other concerns.  Pictures in Marolyn's calendar are of moments shared together in 2013
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2013 in review, Jordan's Calendar


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Pictures from discussion sessions


February 2014

 
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January 2014

First Session


 

 

  

 


January Second Session








  

2013

24-Hour Play November


A Co-Director

  

    

 

November Session


 

  


 



  



 



October  Session 3


 


  





  








October Session Two




  




  








    


 

October Session One


  

September





  

 

The Beginning, May 2013

 








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