I’m Not Wearing That Dress – #1LinerWeds

I’ve mentioned before that my paternal grandmother (Sita in Syrian) would say that everything bad was the worst thing ever. In her broken English, that became wors’ t’ing. Some famous ones have been mentioned before – dog in house – kiss on mouth, but one recently came to mind as I was writing the post about quilting.

Sita had suffered a stroke that left her with almost no short-term memory. This required that someone be with her all the time. I served in that role, often. Occasionally, one of her daughters would take her to church on Sunday. One such weekend, as I was staying with my grandmother, my aunt Mary brought over a new dress for Sita to wear when Mary took her to church the next day.

She had Sita try the dress on. Mary had Sita come into the living room so we could see how the dress looked. It looked good, but Sita didn’t like it. They argued, mostly in Syrian, as they returned to Sita’s bedroom. Sita changed back into her previous dress. Mary left with the announcement that she would be back the next day and Sita would wear the new dress to church.

After Mary left, Sita asked me to bring her the new dress, and to go into the basement and bring her a basket of pieces of material. It always amazed me that she couldn’t remember putting the tea kettle on the stove to boil water for tea, but she could remember a basket of scrap cloth she had in the basement. But she probably had that basket for 40 years. Something about that dress kept her focused on the task at hand.

I brought her the basket. She sorted through it and found two odd bits of material. She opened her sewing basket, which was always next to her chair and went to work. When she was done, she asked me to hold up the dress. She had sewn two squares onto the front of it. She smiled at her results and said:

“Dress without pockets, wors’ t’ing.”

I heard from my father, later in the week, that Mary was not happy with her mother, or with me for helping her “ruin” the new dress. My dad told me that his sister should have known better than to buy their mother a dress without pockets, and we both laughed.


This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.

109 thoughts on “I’m Not Wearing That Dress – #1LinerWeds

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    1. Thanks Roberta. I like this story because she won. She remembered enough to fix that dress and she did it. I wish I could have been there in the morning. Another one of my dad’s sisters lived with Sita and would have been the one to help her get dressed for church. I’m sure she thought the pockets were funny.

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  1. Thanks for sharing a wonderful Sita story, Dan. What an independent, determined woman she must have been throughout her life! I will think of her and the pockets next time I am looking for a new dress.

    My mom had similar memory issues – she would remember the address of the home she grew up in, but couldn’t tell me what she had for lunch. I think it’s the stand-out memories that always stay with us.

    Have a happy Wednesday and stay warm!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. She was a determined woman, but she had to be. She struggled to keep her family alive and healthy and to get them educated. I learned so much from her. I didn’t realize how important those lessons were, at the time.

      The cold is due here on Friday. I hope it passes you without incident. Get past today and slide into Friday.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aw, I love this story. It’s like the happy story from the end of the national news. It also made me think of my grandmother’s clothes and what she called her house dresses did have pockets. I can also remember one green and white one she wore to church with white beads, and it had pockets too. They were practical and wore clothes that ‘worked’ for them and with them. I raise my coffee to Sita and to you for helping her. :-)

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    1. Thanks Judy. I’m glad you enjoyed this. Sita was a practical woman. She wasn’t overly concerned about appearances. She always looked good, especially for church, but her clothes were as practical as she was. When I saw the museum exhibit that talked about women saving and reusing material, I thought of this story.

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  3. Sita knew what she wanted and that was that. My English grandmother was a lot like her in that respect. My German grandmother would say, “I know what I know”, but she would then sit down and listen to the other side.

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  4. I love this – my niece, now in her mid-20s and I have a running joke between us. When she was three or four, I sewed her a sun suit – matching top and shorts. She looked so cute in it, but she had a complaint – there were no pockets!

    Like Sita, my niece knew what she liked and what she didn’t and wasn’t afraid to say so!

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  5. I gotta have my pockets! I had to laugh at this because your Sita was ahead of her time. For a few years now, when I read about the dresses the ‘stars’ wore to some fabulous event, it was always mentioned that the dress had pockets! What a novelty. Oh, Dan–when will you learn to move your glasses… And the sector-7 birds. Had me laughing!

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    1. Sita the trendsetter. There’s a thought none of my cousins would ever have had.

      I need to start moving my glasses now that the sun is shining on them. I’m not sure what would happen to me if I set fire to MuMu’s shelf. The birds in sector-7 were honking up a storm. They were the third large flock we saw heading north. One of them might have read the forecast for Friday, 4°f (-16°c). I think the caption should be “We should have stayed in Virginia another two weeks!”

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    1. I think about the fact that she could never even imagine having stories about her being told to a far flung audience. Still, i think she’d be happy to know that I remember her. She was very important to me, I learned a lot from her. I’m sure your grandkids will remember what matters.

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    1. Thanks Janet. The memory loss was hard for her, and hard on those of us who cared for her, but it did give me the opportunity to learn more about her and to learn more from her. She was a very important figure in my life.

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        1. My father used to yell at me for walking with my hands in my pockets. He stressed that if I fell, I wouldn’t be able to help myself. I’m ok with pants, but if I’m wearing a jacket, my hands are probably in the pockets.

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  6. That’s a funny story. My German grandmother spoke broken English, too, and ate garlic cloves like eating an apple. We stayed our distance when she talked. I only met her twice and was fascinated with her comical sentences, like, put the light out instead of saying, turn the light off. Funny how you remember certain things as a child.

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    1. Maybe “put the light out” was a German thing. That;s what my grandfather used to say. My grandmother would label things as the worst thing, pretty quickly. I don’t remember all of them, but some were pretty funny.

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  7. Touching story, Dan. Reminded me of my first MIL straight off the boat from Italy and who spoke very little English, wore dresses with pockets in them all the time. I never thought of that before today. It has to be a cultural thing or “old country” thing to have pockets in every dress.
    Loved your gallery. Geese in V-formation is a sure sign of Spring. Let’s both of us hope so. Our temps supposed are going down to single digits with accusations of snow. Crossing fingers this is the last big dip down for the winter season! I laughed fyi at the picture with your glasses on HER tower. You’ve got a lot of nerve! LOL

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    1. Thanks Amy. I’m glad this stirred some memories for you. Sita was a special lady. We are heading into those single-digits on Friday, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to last for very long. At least the geese don’t seem to think so. MuMu dispatches those glasses very quickly – bap!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL I wasn’t too sure if that was MuMu or MiMi so hence the generic “her”. Of course she took care of business …. your glasses had no right to be in HER space. Too funny! I’m laughing …..
        As for the weather …. I believe in patterns so with that said, the temps shall rise quickly after the low dip. Yep. Sure is!

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  8. Adorable gallery, Dan. Wow, Smokey is bigger than I thought. Thanks for the shout-out. The sunrise is way cool and the twilight shot is beautiful. I’m afraid those glasses are “not long for this world,” as the oldsters of my younger days would say.
    I love this story, Dan. It’s spirit is so warm and gentle. It’s well constructed and beautifully told. Be sure to hang onto this one. Well done! Hugs.

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  9. What a feel good story about Sita. I wish I could have known her. My grandma, all her sisters and my mother all had a wardrobe of “house dresses “WITH POCKETS! So I grew up looking for pockets in dresses, slacks, shorts…you name it.

    You really need to find someplace else for those glasses. Like maybe your POCKET?
    You’re really testing MuMu’s patience now.

    The Sector 7 birds had me laughing out loud!!

    Maddie looks totally unfazed by the cold in her nice warm coat.

    Hope you all stay warm during the coming cold snap.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

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    1. Thanks Ginger. The funny thing is that her daughter knew very well that her mother didn’t want a dress without pockets, and that she was only concerned about looking respectful in church – she wasn’t trying to make a fashion statement. That dress was doomed.

      MuMu took care of the glasses. She does “tell” me that she’s losing her patience for my antics.

      Maddie has her moments when her OCD kicks in and something has to be done. We pushed all the buttons that day and she said “it’s time to go for a walk.” She pointed to her harness, and she will not let go of the idea. On really cold days, we take her for a really short walk, but it completes the circuit, and she’s fine. Bundled up like that, she was fine. We worry about her feet, but she doesn’t.

      The birds looked like they were having communication problems. Maybe some thought they should head back south.

      Take care in the cold :)

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  10. I am actually on the other side of this particular dress coin: I DON’T want my dresses to have pockets because I don’t like how it bulks them out (I have enough bulk of my own, lol), but my goodness, can I relate at least to the underlying sentiment. I’m so glad that you just let her do what she wanted to do — even with my own grandma I saw far too much where her daughter was always determined to have her own way, and what my grandma wanted be damned. I think especially when a loved one gets older, they’ve more than earned the right to still have a say in what they do, think or wear, and your grandma was obviously still capable of whizzing along with a needle and thread, so good for her! This was very heartwarming — hearts to dear grandma!

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    1. No pockets for Wendy. Although, no one said you have to stuff them full. I think your point is a good one, people should have a say in what they want, especially if it doesn’t harm them or others. Her daughter wanted her mother to “look right” when she took her to church. Pffft, Sita was going to church because her religion was important to her. You dressed for church, in that you were respectful, but it wasn’t a fashion show,

      She was very handy with knitting, sewing and all sorts of clothing repair. She raised 6 kids, after her husband died, so making everything last as long as possible was important to her.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “Dress without pockets, wors’ t’ing.”

    I am with Sita on that one.

    “Carry my keys.”

    “Why?”

    “I don’t have pockets and I don’t want to carry my purse.”

    “Fine.”

    “Take this too.”

    “Kleenex.”

    “I need Kleenex.”

    “But it’s used.”

    “I know but I don’t have pockets…..”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sita would have never made it all day, Joanne. I remember watching the women at work having to walk to the main door, so they could use the keypad, since they didn’t have a pocket in which to put their security card.

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    1. She did. She may not have made the fashion statement her daughter was hoping for, but her daughter should have known better. I wouldn’t recommend her approach, unless your goal is to embarrass your children ;)

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  12. You made me cry. …Don’t be upset or discomforted by that it’s a good cry. I didn’t have a Grandma growing up. That was sad only when friends recounted their stories of wonderful times they had with their Grandma. Never hearing those stories I would have never missed having a Grandman. But I knew then what I was missing.

    He-Man had Grandmas! Buba Grandma in Polish was his Mother’s mom and lived the longest. I knew her. She knitted quilts and was wonderful. The only Grandma I knew, and his Mom was Grandma-Grandma to my children- it’s her I aspire to be to my Grandchildren.

    Well Buba saved all scraps and yarn and made the best quilts and knitted things! I have one quilt she made. I’ll pass that down.

    Pockets on pants, a skirt, or dress I’m with her I want them too, and for what’s it’s worth…I make my own aprons and I have 3 pockets and they fit a woman’s body thank you! I love pockets too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry to make you cry, Deborah. It’s weird, when I had to stay with her, my friends made fun of me. They would be outside playing, going to movies, etc. and I would be stuck inside with an 80-yr-old woman. I really didn’t mind, I loved her very much, but I didn’t realize at the time how much I was still learning from her.

      I’m glad you got to know a good grandmother figure. From the stories you’ve shared, you sound like a wonderful grandmother.

      I had to laugh when you said you make your own aprons. “Apron without pockets…” also worst thing (there were so many). I think about that from time to time when I’m in my workshop. I have a woodworker’s apron that only has a small pocket at the top for a pencil. I wear it when working at my lathe. It’s OK there, because pockets would fill with chips.

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  13. I understand your grandmother’s challenge with lost memory. The brain has short-term memory and long-term memory banks. Because she had sewn for so many years and loved doing it, the circumstances about the dress slipped into her long-term memory banks easily. The same thing happens to me concerning music. As for the tea, she probably didn’t really like the chore of making tea despite liking the end results.

    Also, I have to admit, having pockets is rather convenient.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Glyniss. Sometimes it was hard trying to figure out why she could remember what she did remember. I wrote earlier about being surprised that she remembered how to play Chess. It was actually a good game for her, since she could formulate a move based on the condition of the board when it was her time. She couldn’t keep a long-range strategy in her mind, but she could figure out a new one with each move and take the first step.

      She had to eat at certain times, in order to take her medicine. She would easily forget that, but when I was with her, she was always concerned that I had eaten and she would prepare a meal with my help.

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  14. Thank you for another Sita story. It’s been a while, and I love stories about her. Please write more. Yes, your Dad’s sister should have known not to buy a dress without pockets. The last photo is my favorite, full of hope and beauty as the days slowly grow longer. Happy weekend, and Happy Valentine’s Day.

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          1. Thank you so much, Dan! No, I didn’t know this wonderful story. You posted it a month after I became a blogger, so we were not connected then. I remember your Sita post about the box and the chess pieces – do I have that right? There were others, too. This one is about her background. Thank you for that. My Nan was much the same. Think Little House on the Prairie, but in the hills of West Virginia. I have no doubt that my strength and glass-half-full comes from Nan, much like your strength and don’t worry comes from Sita. Boy, we are lucky!

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            1. We certainly were lucky, Jennie. I have tried to share bits and pieces of her wisdom. It’s hard. I’m sure you understand, while there were several stand-out moments, she was more of a constant force. She led by example every single day, in little things and in big things. I always felt, if she didn’t worry, I’ve got no reason to consider it. It’s amazing, the kind of inner strength people can find when necessary.

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        1. Ha ha – Sita was never one to worry about what we would call political correctness. She was far to practical to dress the part, and far to honest to speak it. She said what was on her mind and she wore what made sense.

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