Frogs and Purses

I chuckled when I saw the cartoon. This was so me when I was that little. All dressed up like a girl, but not wanting to be one, at least not at that age. The acceptance that I wasn’t a boy came years later, the love for being a woman arrived just in time for adulthood.

I wasn’t a rebellious kid. Back then, disrespecting adults had serious consequences. I even dressed up when they made me, but I always knew it was a waste of clothing and time, because no matter how hard I tried, somehow I always ended up in the wrong situation at the right time.

It’s not like I didn’t appreciate the nice outfit I had gotten for my 1st communion in church. But giving little girls white dresses, white shiny shoes, and a white little purse was just asking for disaster. I am certain even the farm animals couldn’t help grinning when they saw me leaving the farmhouse. How long will it take her to mess this up?

I enjoyed being dressed like a little princess, and I cherished the shiny shoes and the purse was the first one I had ever gotten.

“Go wait outside,” my grandma had told me because I had been in her way. She was setting our formal living room for the get-together after church and she had no use for me.

And so I went outside and waited with the other kids, mostly boys. Do kids ever sit still? I know I didn’t, or at least not for long. Somebody started a small soccer game right beside our barn, and when kicking the rocks became too confusing, somehow my purse became the center of the game everybody in Europe loves.

Grandma wasn’t pleased at all. The look she gave me could have killed a fragile child. I know because I barely made it. Looks could kill back then, we all knew. We had never seen it happen but had heard about it.

At that age, I had a school uniform in boarding school, which was perfect. No matter where we came from, a farmgirl or the ones that came from big money, we all wore the same, just the shoes were different. Some had many pairs to choose from, other girls had only a good pair for Sundays and one pair for the rest of the week.

I had five pairs of shoes. Sunday shoes and shoes for the week. Ski shoes for the winter and boots for the snow and then of course there were my rubber boots, my favorite shoes in the whole wide world.

We had a creek behind the farm and every year it was full of tadpoles and little fishes that we would catch. Surrounded by trees, high grass and wildflowers, it was my favorite spot.

“Don’t go in the creek,” my grandma always told me and I assured her I wouldn’t. When I came home later after playing, she always asked me again.

“Did you go in the water?” There it was the look that could kill and while I was mostly an honest child, I didn’t want to disappoint her again and so I said ‘No.’

But somehow she always knew. On the days when I didn’t go into the water, nothing happened, but when I had been in the water and didn’t admit it, that’s when I got sent to my room. “You are lying,” she said and I never understood how she knew. My clothes were dry, I was clean and she couldn’t have seen me from the house. So how did she know?

“Your boots made noises,” she told me years later and laughed. Water always got into my boots and when I walked the whole village could hear the water squishing inside my shoes. Why didn’t I hear it?

I had a kitchen apron that my grandma made for me. It was like a smaller version of her housedress with pockets on each side. It was the most practical dress and I wore it during picking season, so the ripe fruits and berries couldn’t stain my clothes.

Numerous garden snakes and frogs were transported in my dress, everything that crawled and looked in need of transportation or a warm place to sleep for a bit, got a short nap in my pockets. Only worms were safe from my abuse.

The cartoon brought back some nice memories.


37 thoughts on “Frogs and Purses

  1. I was a collector – rocks, shells any trinkets I could find in the dirt. And you are right, there were no pockets in little girls dresses. Mom would get maddest about my fingernails and all the dirt embedded under them. Well, I did need to dig the rocks out. Great post!


  2. What a sweet memory! Love that you didn’t hear the boots yourself. It’s so cute how kids are so oblivious to their lies, makes it easier to catch them!


    • We lived in Texas for about ten years. The copperheads, cottonmouth and the rattlers are everywhere, so are scorpions and stepping on one when it’s sleeping in your shoe hurts more than you think it would. We had copperheads everywhere and my acceptance of snakes flew out of the window when we were confronted with venomous snakes just at normal walks or had them hiding in the yard.
      When I worked as a translator I was offered to work in India for about six months, which changed me as a person.
      One day one of the servants fired a gun in my direction. A minute later he picked up a very colorful small snake that had been under one of the tables in the sunroom.
      No more snakes for me! I hope that explains it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can see how those experiences change your perceptions. I used to keep rattlers and copperheads when I was younger. They’re no joke. They’re very predictable snakes, but you have to know where they are, and that’s kind of the problem. I would have issues leaving my kids to walk around in such places, because I understand and respect these animals a lot. That India story sounds intense! I believe you have a few posts up your sleeve there haha.


  3. This is marvelous. I love the image of frogs and other creatures getting a lift in a pocket. My mom also had to do the dresses and ridiculous shoes as a child. She talks about having to wear a hat and little white gloves to church along with the too-short-dress-without-pockets. She could start off pristine, but she always ended up with skinned knees, torn tights, and dirty gloves, dress and shoes. Her school didn’t have uniforms, but they had a strict dress code: dresses only for girls whatever the weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I laughed as I read this, Bridget, and boy, oh boy do I relate! I was born in 1952, meaning that I didn’t even have a choice in whether or not I had to wear dresses to school, and my mother wanted a frilly child. That is not ME. I would come home from school with my dresses ripped and torn and often I couldn’t even explain myself. I played hard, and my clothing was not designed for roughhousing. I knew I liked you! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I simply LOVE this post! As the only girl with three brothers, I had no time for fripperies. My mother – who sewed all of my dresses – used to include a hidden pocket in every dress of mine she made. Now, in my seventies, I still prefer to choose an item of clothing with a pocket: why should men be catered for and not us!

    Liked by 1 person

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