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Style Advice From An 80 Year-Old

I don’t think you have met her, Mishka, but she is a very dear person in my life. When I found my mom’s old sewing machine my freshman year of college and expressed an interest to learn more about the hobby, she took me under her wing. During the two years I “worked” at her tailor shop, she was my mentor and I was her understudy. She taught me how to blind stitch, how to set a sleeve, and how to correctly press a collar so that the under collar rolled under the top collar a 1/16th of an inch, no more and no less. But her lessons went beyond sewing. She taught me the ins and outs of life. How to save money, how to write a letter, and how to treat men (like dirt) were all lessons of hers. To this day, I call her once a week to chat and every time I visit home, I bring her a famous Philly soft pretzel.

Old (or should I say older?) people have always intrigued me. They seem to have figured out the curiosities of the world. They seem to have the answers to the questions of life. It’s an oddity of mine but many of my best friends are older women (I have many girlfriends my age too. I’m not that much of an oddball). My aunt Ginny and my aesthetician Velia, both women upwards of forty-years-old, are my go-to gals for advice. Another best friend of mine is my grandma Mimi. She was a model for Ford Modeling Agency in her younger years and in my opinion, is as beautiful as Grace Kelly. Just like Mishka, I wanted to chat with her when I visited her over Memorial Day weekend. Her answers surprised me, like her second wedding dress was light pink and not white or ivory, and I want to share her words with you.

Maddie: What did you wear to homecoming?

Mimi: I never went…

Maddie: You never went to homecoming? Why not?

Mimi: Because I was a boarder. I moved to New York to become a model before graduation and never came back home

Maddie: What did you wear to your wedding? Both of them?

Mimi: My wedding dresses for both of my weddings were quite lovely. The dress I wore to my first wedding was made of a beautiful ivory silk organza. The top was lace and off the shoulders and the skirt had a train that was not too short or too long, it was just right. The dress I wore to my second wedding was a pink, very light pink, cocktail dress. Eileen (her daughter and my aunt) wore it to her rehearsal dinner and still has it hanging in her closet

Maddie: Wait… Eileen still has your wedding dress that you wore to your second wedding?

Mimi: Oh yes! And the dress that I wore to my first wedding was worn by several people after I got married. Meg wore it, Terry wore it, Jamie wore it, Barry wore it (all daughters of hers and all my aunts), and my cousin Nancy wore it to their wedding. They altered the design to their liking, they “Maddie’ed” it, but, yes, all women wore it to their wedding

Maddie: Pretty awesome Mimi… pretty awesome…

Mimi: And then Meg sent it to the cleaners and lost it

Maddie: What! Seriously?

Mimi: (Shaking her head) Seriously…

Maddie: Who is your favorite actress and why?

Mimi: Debra Carr. She was a versatile actress. She danced, sung, and was very dramatic in her acting. Her best movie, in my opinion, was the “King and I,” not “An Affair to Remember.” I love that movie (The King and I)

Maddie: If there is only one rule of style to live by, what is it?

Mimi: Classic looks. A classic look will last ten, twenty years. Jackie Kennedy, now she’s classic… now she’s what I like

Maddie: What is your a beauty regime?

Mimi: I don’t have one. I don’t like the hair dresser. I don’t like massages. I don’t like pedicures. I don’t like manicures. I don’t like any of that. In the morning, I wash my face, brush my teeth, apply moisturizer, and that’s it

Gummy (my grandpa who was in the room while I interviewed Mimi): and take out her mouth guard…

Maddie, Mimi, and Gummy: laughing….



19 Comments

  1. Reply

    Lori VanMaanen

    What a great post and the conversation with your grandma is priceless.  Thanks for sharing.

  2. Reply

    Janice Garingo

    What a great post! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Reply

    Ginger

    What a lovely dress!  It’s so fun to hear from your grandma!

    • Reply

      maddie

      She’s totally a hoot! Driving on the wrong side of the road, eating chocolate chip cookies for lunch (with milk), I can’t even begin to tell you…

  4. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    This was lovely – thank you for posting this!

  5. Reply

    Kyra

    I think we all should listen more to older people. They have so much to tell. My Grandmother is a very strong woman and I am so proud of her. When she tells me about her hard and sometimes painful life I am touched.
    And she is telling me to treat men like dirt too 😀 Poor men 😀

    • Reply

      maddie

      You’re grandmother and mine sound like very intelligent ladies. Common, who would tell you to treat men like dirt?

  6. Reply

    Jacqui

    I tried on my mom’s wedding dress… it was straight out of the seventies and couldn’t be helped 😉 hehe  I like how common it was to share a wedding dress back in the day.  Now days it seems everyone (some people) thinks they deserve their own unique dream dress and we spend way too much money on them!  I wish I’d gone with something more simple (I got my own unique dress!).  Better yet, now I’d make my own dress!  Great interview Maddie, thanks for sharing 🙂

    -garmentfarmer

    • Reply

      maddie

      Even though I want my own unique wedding dress when I get married (I’m a frugal gal but materialistic in this sense), it would be cool to refashion my moms wedding dress for the rehearsal dinner or reception.

      I’m glad you liked the interview 🙂

  7. Reply

    Maggie Mattinson

    This is amazing!!! I love old people too (I always feel somewhat guilty when I say this…) but they truly fascinate me. They have so much to share and so many stories. I love listening to them. In high school I was part of this project that interviewed older people in our community and taped their interviews to be put in sort of a “time capsule”. It was a blast. I tried on my grandma’s wedding dress and while it was gorgeous (knee length, long sleeve, ivory lace) it looks AWFUL on me. heh 😉 p.s. thanks for commenting on my blog!! i always see your comments and they’re always so sweet!

  8. Reply

    Taja

    Thanks for sharing your Mimi with us, Maddie. She is gorgeous!

    Mmmmmm….I think it’s Deborah Kerr (pronounced Carr). I’m another big fan of “The King and I”–as well as most musicals of the era. And some newer ones! *LOL*

  9. Reply

    Love, Carrie

    This was so wonderful to read…..definitely my favorite out of every one on every blog I’ve read this week <3

  10. Reply

    Carmen @ Forgotten Fancies

    What a beautiful post. Mimi is wonderful! 
    You are so lucky to have such a wonderful mentor in life. I love older people, they always have such great stories and lovely advices that you will treasure for years to come.

  11. Reply

    sallieforrer

    Thank you so much for sharing your Mimi with us! This is such a great post. I love talking to older women and men – they do have the best advice.

  12. Reply

    tim & alexandra montgomery

    “I don’t like the hair dresser. I don’t like massages. I don’t like pedicures. I don’t like manicures. I don’t like any of that.”  She’s a lady after my own heart:) You’re so lucky to have all these wonderful woman in your life.

    xo
    Alex
    http://louise-amabilis.blogspot.com/ 

  13. Reply

    TJ

    how absolutely adorable is this? i’m just in love with that wedding dress. and her little interview. she just sounds so sweet!!!
    xo TJ

  14. Reply

    Thewallinna

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful story!  Lucky you to be surrounded by such amazing ladies 🙂 In my early teens I did not appreciate my grandmother’s stories. I considered them old fashioned and uninteresting. But then, the more “life experience” I was getting, the more and more I listened to older people. 

  15. Reply

    Melanie Stone

    your blog is beautiful! the writing and the design. adding you to my reader rightttt now. 

    • Reply

      maddie

      Oh how wonderful!

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