Southern women are traditional, eccentric or colorful creatures; sometimes we are just one or the other- a straight up Traditional, an Eccentric, or a Colorful Southern woman-though sometimes you will run across an adorable combinationof two out of three… If you’re blessed above all others- you will find that exotic Southern woman who is the delightful combination of all three!
Southern women take writing thank you notes, having impeccable manners, paying our respects and dressing appropriately seriously, with an emphasis on appropriate as in Behavior with a capital B. The traditions of Southern Hospitality are things we won’t budge on too often. A Southern woman would have to have a very untraditional excuse to get by with it.
However, if a Southern woman can pull off a certain flair, well we might call her colorful. She’s the one who can wear a caftan when everyone else has on a cocktail dress- the one who can go natural and still look good; or can insert very carefully an outrageous word or two. That’s Colorful.
My mother always said my grandmother had ‘radar’ or ESP- ‘You can’t pull anything over on Mimi, never could.’ was one way of putting it…Someone who had ESP or home cures or even weird dreams that could be interpreted and yes, could read minds- thatSouthern woman is Eccentric…She has her tonics, her potions, her keen mind, her Almanac and her ways. You don’t want to live your life without knowing all three types- or the combinations.
So, let me just say, after you have passed along all of the social graces and insisted they must be followed at all costs or the dreaded label of ‘trashy’ will follow you all the days of your life…After you have done all you can do to train up a Southern daughter– then you can add this delightful rule:
‘Always have at least one friend who’s up for anything.’
Right? Y’all know I’m right. I can hear the applause…
Love y’all, Camellia
This photo was found on www.seniorsingapore.com- am not sure of it’s origins, but I think the Cotton Candy ladies are hysterical.
Domestic Violence is real- it is happening in your hometown, your community, even your neighborhood. The statistics are alarming. The truth is, you either know someone, are related to someone, or are someone who is the victim of domestic violence. There are women and children who are living in fear and you may not realize it. Look at the vintage drawing above.
has no color, ethnic or religious background
the face tells you nothing
the price is not shown
the level of education is not a factor
the clothing may hide the bruises
the pocketbook is partially hidden.
Domestic Violence has no economic boundaries, does not favor a race or color, age range, level of education or neighborhood. You may not see the bruises or know the types of abuse-most suffer from one or more, even all of these:
some are mental
some are financial
some are emotional
some are physical
The drawing is a Chanel suit, accessories and handbag from 1926 from a vintage history book of fashion. I was drawn to this particular sketch, it speaks to me. I have known victims of domestic violence. They don’t look different, they look the same maybe even better than most. Know a victim long enough and you will sense or feel-
the dread to go home at the end of a workday
A victim of domestic violence lives in CHAOS- ‘Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome’–
As you read this-let me offer a piece of advice – please don’t ask, ‘Why don’t they just leave?’ It’s never that simple, especially if there are children involved. When violence escalates, the abuser blames the victim; or promises the victim ‘it won’t happen again’-shame and fear often drives the victim back to the place of violence. This vicious cycle needs to be interrupted by hope that help is out there waiting.
I am honored to serve on the Steering Committee for The YWCA Purse and Passion Luncheon held in my hometown, which offers shelter, counselling, legal services, relocation and job placements for victims of domestic violence. I wish there was no need to be on this committee; unfortunately, the needs are great. Most women who escape do so with just the clothes on their backs, they are in emotional turmoil- often gravely injured, broken and scarred; without doubt these victims are at the lowest moments in their lives.
Hopefully you are asking yourself, what can I do to help? First of all, assess the safety factor for yourself, instead of trying to rescue. Find a certified domestic violence shelter closest to your area. Keep the hotline number with you- or programmed into your phone. If the victim is a close friend or relative, encourage them-
to develop a plan by talking to a person they can trust
call 911 for help as soon as possible
*keep important papers, social security cards, insurance documents, ID, driver license, birth certificates and passports
arrange a signal with a neighbor to let them know you need help, ask them to be ready to call 911
if a situation seems unavoidable, try to be near an exit and away from weapons
teach your children to go to another room, how to call 911, and make sure they know a safe place to go
ask your healthcare provider, beautician, co-worker or friend to take photos of your injuries and make sure the photographs are in a safe place
Some victims are so overwhelmed- even the above suggestions are too much to handle. However, just making a plan is often empowering. Ask them to write out:
If I need help I can talk to: add name and phone number
If they are not available I’ll go to: add name and phone number
In an emergency I can go to: put emergency numbers here with 911 in bold numbers
The hotline or number for local shelter or safe house
Keep this information on hand.
Making a plan is often the first step a victim takes toward escape. If you do not know a victim of domestic violence- you still can help. Here is the Pocketbook Project:
What’s in your handbag?
Wallet? Donate as much as you can to a local certified shelter, regardless of the size of the donation every bit helps. If you shop on Amazon- look for the banner, AmazonSmile– which donates a portion of every purchase you make to the charity of your choice- Mine is YWCA Central Alabama!!!
Tissues? Every shelter needs paper products! It is amazing the amount of paper products women and children need
Comb or Hairbrush? The next time you go to your beautician, give her the hotline number for your local shelter- so that she can have it on hand. Beauticians are often the first to know if a woman is being abused.
Medications? Let this be a reminder that your healthcare provider is also a resource for identifying victims of domestic violence- again, ask them to display or have on hand- the names of local shelters and a plan of action. Healthcare providers take seriously their responsibility to report suspected abuse.
Cosmetics? Women leave home with the clothes on their backs- sample or full size cosmetics could mean the world to a person trying to regain her balance. Cosmetics are vital to self esteem and when it is time to go for an interview- indispensable.
Paperback? Volunteer to read to a child in a shelter while their parent receives counselling and legal services
Cellphone? Call your local shelter or Certified Organization and ask how you can help.. Even cellphones which are no longer in use, can be re-furbished; with a gift card or phone card- these cellphones can be the difference between life, injury or death for victims of domestic violence!
Your very own Pocketbook Project can mean more than you could ever believe…
‘Every woman deserves a purse of her own.’ Susan B. Anthony
Let me tell you about Purse and Passion’s- Our Place, since it was founded in our small county in 2009, we have been able to provide legal assistance, court advocacy for more than 5000 victims! And we have provided safe shelter for close to 500 women and children. In 2015, Our Place, the only certified shelter for victims of domestic violence in our county provided:
shelter for 86 women and children who were no longer safe in their homes
provided legal services to 66 victims
guided 449 victims through the complex legal system with our court advocacy program
provided support groups for 18 women and children
as a bonus program-Prom Dress Giveaway which often helps identify at-risk teens we provided free prom dresses for 20 high school girls in need.
All funds raised at our Purse and Passion Luncheon remain here- in our hometowns! We provide:
case management and crisis counselling
food and re-housing assistance
financial literacy programs (this is different from not knowing how to read- it is knowing how to manage money)
healthy relationship education
and free legal assistance.
Wow! That’s a lot! Right now, we are working very hard to raise funds for our Annual Purseand Passion/St.Clair Luncheon which is our only fundraiser. The needs are great, our people are so generous and amazing. If you do not have a local organization- Go to: ywcabham.org to find out more! We simply could not do this without the ongoing support of YWCA Central Alabama! You do not have to live in our area to help. A special thank you to my dear friend Elizabeth, who lives in New York- yet donates to Our Place! Her help and your help saves lives. Please remember –
A house is not a home unless everyone inside is safe.
Love y’all, Camellia
*This is Camellia’s Cottage- post #100, the longest post offered thus far. To honor that milestone- it had to be something worth reading, thank you for stopping by. If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence please know our hearts are with you and that there is help, you can start a new life. The blogging community is doing a wonderful job on highlighting emotional and mental health issues, we honor them, as well as WordPress, who gives the space, the platform to bloggers to speak their minds and hearts..
*C.H.A.O.S – is a phrase I first heard on a wonderful website for homemakers- flylady.com
* ‘Fashion in History- Apparel in the Western World’, 1970 by Marybelle’s Bigelow- San Diego State College.
Amazon Smile – with every purchase you make from Amazon.com, a portion of your purchase will go toward the charity of your choice!
With ancestors named Dora Eugenia, Betty Jo, Betty Gene, Bama, Delta, Mary Sue and not one but two great aunts named Trix, even a cousin we called Daw Daw-what would I be but southern- all the way out tothe ends of my hair! *And if you will hang in there with me until the end…you’ll see!
Kinfolk, Farrah Fawcett, Dolly Parton, Sister Vestal Goodman and Jackie Kennedy probably instilled my love for big hair-
Dolly’s Hair Quotes are famous! I’ll tell you this and you can mark it down- Give a Southern Woman a can of Aqua Net, a rat tail comb, a jar of Dippity Do, brush rollers, permanent wave solution and a hair pick- and she can go to town with a hairdo.
Carrie Underwood said- ‘I’m Southern, I like big hair and eyeliner.’ Others just like big hair- like the great gospel singer- Vestal (pronounced- Ves-chal) Goodman-
The Happy Goodmans’ Sister Vestal- on the left when she was younger and her trademark looks on the right- Vestal Goodman was famous for her big voice and hair-it seems to have rubbed off on the men in her life- Look at her singin’ Rock of Ages! Can I get an amen for Sister Vestal??
Farrah Fawcett inspired generations of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ fans and hair stylists. I wonder how many hairdressers heard this- ‘Can you cut my hair like Farrah Fawcett?’ We wanted her face too, but failing that- we’d take her hair! Southern Men are not immune to the love of big hair-
Elvis Presley, Porter Waggoner (whose wife shot himthough maybe not becauseof hisbig hair) and Merle Haggard are just a few… Then there’s James Brown- isn’t this the truth? Same goes for women! Hair and teeth…
In the South we ask ourselves this everyday, ‘Is it humid today? It feels humid to me.’
I’d love to have a nickel for every time I’ve heard this- ‘Well honey, it’s the humidity- either your hair’s frizzy or your arthritis kicks up!’ Nothing you do will keep the humidity from creaking bones. Humidity wreaks havoc on hair- limp and frizzy hair is just a way of life. It’s true- thus, the need for hairspray and Dippity Do. So, if you can get that mess of hair tacked and sprayed- the humidity might not affect your hair quite so much. It is affected, but will hold it’s shape better. I know from experience, that on humid days, big hair is like a big wad of cotton candy – bugs will stick to it! A swarm of locusts stuck to mine one time- well that’s another story…
Of course our role model on the bouffant hairdo was our late great First Lady Jackie Kennedy- who pulled it off with so much class:
My beautiful mother-in-law, my mother and my grandmother wore big hair. A friend and mentor also wears big hair. She swears she can barely walk past a piano without wanting to drape herself across it and sing. Her husband is a retired, high ranking Navy man- she says he impersonated Elvis and entertained the sailors and their families many times. (I have no proof of this. But he does have naturally good hair.)
I also have a darling friend whose hair is normal– yet every now and then- she cannot resist donning a big blondwig and performs with her be-wigged and spangled friends- to delighted laughing audiences-
LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 21: TV personality Lady Bunny arrives at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented by Ketel One and Wells Fargo held at Westin Bonaventure Hotel on April 21, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for GLAAD)
Beauty queens, brides, bathing beauties and performers know that big hair can make all the difference-
Big Hair is good for the economy– whole businesses are devoted to hair care. One business made quite a stir in our area, it was called- Glamour Shots. The whole idea was- you got up your nerve, enlisted a friend, made an appointment, showed up- they fixed your hair, then rigged you up in several glamorous outfits – I fell for it…big hair, big teeth and all…take it away James Brown..
It took weeks for the proofs to come back-all encased in a leatherette portfolio, and to get that hair settled down! However, I’m with Dolly Parton…if anyone tells me my hair’s too big, I will get rid of them- I certainly don’t need that kind of negativityin my life. Oh, lordie- to be that young again! Hope you’re laughing your sides off! And please don’t leave me hanging out here alone! Share your big hair moments!
Love y’all, Camellia
p.s. I can’t resist one more…even our statuary has big hair!
*Most Celebrity Photographs are from AOL images- some celebrities were photographed from old album covers and all others are private photographs.
Let’s get oriented…if you’re from a small town and you go to a big city- the best thing you can do is make sure you stay close to a familiar spot so you can get back there! In New York, we stayed at The Jewel right across from the Rockefeller Center – it is a tiny boutique hotel, with tiny rooms and big windows- we could see St. Patrick’s Cathedral , unveiled now, in all of it’s glory and also see the side of Radio City Music Hall where the entertainment equipment is unloaded. A bonus is that we can look straight across the way and see the side of the ground floor NBC Recording Studio. The famous shopping on Fifth Avenue is a half block up from the Jewel Hotel, so we’re oriented! Everyday we passed by JCrewJCrewand Anthropolgie Anthropologie to go to our hop on- hop off bus! And every day I thought – well, you’ve lived long enough to have seen and worn Classics and Bohemian styles. JCrew’s spin on the classics by adding ‘bling’ necklaces is just a winning combo! Anthropolie’s Bohemian looks soft, feminine and vintage without being overdone- that’s their winning combo! Both looks are totally wearable for Spring and Summer. Which will you be wearing? I generally prefer the classics- but I loved both stores!
The handbags were small, but the shoes at Anthropologie were chunkier as you can see in the photos. At JCrew, there were classic pumps and tennis shoes…and of course the jewelry they have become famous for…
It looks like a good weekend to go shopping! Even if you get yourself an iconic T-shirt for your favorite birthday boy from Katz’s Deli Katz’s Delicatessen !
Just had to kid around with you a little bit! Have a great weekend!
A woman born and raised in the South carries with her the wisdom of the ages. Most of us had more than just our mothers watching out for us- we had grandmothers, aunts, sisters and cousins; we had our mother’s friends and neighbors- the list was endless. Our mothers told us that they ‘had eyes in the back of their heads’ when really they had eyes and ears all over the place! They dispensed an ongoing wisdom, usually in third person- ‘I can’t believe her momma let her leave the house in that getup!’.
They taught us the rules, how to behave, how to dress and why; regularly dispensed advice about men and what to watch out for; these women were our moral compass, why, they could even foretell the future!- ‘If you keep crossing your eyes, they’re gonna stay like that!’; they taught us about consequences ‘She’s played her stunts, now she’s payin’ for it’ – or ‘If y’all don’t get down out that tree right now, I’m going to jerk a knot in you! was the first warning- the second warning – ‘Alright, if you fall out of that tree, you’ve got yourself to blame for it’, third warning, ‘Just wait ’til your daddy gets home!’. For some reason, shoe advice was important- I’ll never forget my grandmother coming home from one of her meetings saying- ‘That Edna Earle embarrassed me to death wearing those white sandals after Labor Day- looked like weinies hangin’ out of a bird cage!’ Who can make this stuff up? Change your shoes, they’re eating up your socks and no, you cannot go barefoot until June!
It was ‘coarse and common’ to be poppin’ gum, smacking while other people were trying to eat a decent meal, and for heaven’s sake! Get that hair out of your face! The fashion advice was carved in stone- don’t wear white shoes until Easter, don’t wear white clothing after Labor Day- take a sweater, you’ll need it- that dress is hiked up in the back, how did the hem of your dress fall out? and ‘How could you even think of wearing that? I will not have one of my children going to church looking like that!’ Advice to children was straightforward- ‘y’all get outside and play before I lose my mind!’ – ‘Be home before dark- and don’t go too far or the boogey man will get you!’ ‘Here, take this jar and catch some lightening bugs, we’re trying to watch for Sputnik!’ ‘Settle down, y’all are making enough noise to raise the dead…’ ‘Where’d you get those chigger bites?’ The issue of weight gain was another subject- ‘Well, Gene, she’s gained up so much, bless her heart- I had to sit between her and Thurman on the way and it was like sitting next to dough and it risin’…’her ankles are so thick- she ought to know better than to wear ankle strap shoes’ and this- ‘darlin’, her legs are like tree trunks, you can hear her thighs rubbing together- that’s why they invented talcum powder, poor thing – her momma ought to be ashamed lettin’ her get that way’. To be too skinny was just as bad- ‘honey, you’re skinny as a rail, why a puff of wind would blow you away, a little padding wouldn’t hurt one bit in the right places’. My grandmother thought there were only two things that would cure you- a dose of milk of magnesia if you felt bad and a permanent wave if you looked bad. You had to watch out for men that were ‘down at the heels’, who looked like they hadn’t shaved, who had BO and the worst of all – was if a man just looked ‘seedy’ in general. The man’s condition was of course, not his fault – it was that sorry mother of his. Men couldn’t be expected to stay nice and neat!
We were taught the basic nice things to say- thank you, please, I sure enjoyed that supper, yes sir, no ma’am, oh yes, I’m just fine (because no one wants to hear you whine). And we all knew to stand up straight (we didn’t want to end up all bent over), keep your voice down, don’t sing too loud, cover your mouth, wear clean underwear in case you had to be taken to the hospital, and for heaven’s sake keep some Kleenex or better yet, a nice ‘hankerchief’ with you at all times. But probably my all time favorite advice came at a low period in my life- I was explaining it to my grandmother- she said ‘Now, stop crying- go wash your face. Hold your head up and don’t ever forget whose child you are!’
So to all of these strong, sweet smelling prophetesses who wrapped us up with towels when we had goosebumps from running through the sprinkler, who held us in their laps, who cooked decent meals for us and passed along their sense of fashion and good taste- on this Mother’s Day, thank you! Bless your hearts, you made us what we are.
Love y’all, Camellia
*Photographs are from private collections and cannot be reproduced or reprinted without permission. Thanks to all who shared photographs! Couldn’t have done it without you!
Birthdays are the best time to send a handwritten note. I know, I know…it’s fun to find a funny card, or let someone else express the sentiment- but somehow I think seeing ‘Happy Birthday’ handwritten makes it more special. Here’s a few things I like to say…
‘You are a miracle !’
‘My life is richer because of you !’
‘ Life is sweeter with you in it!’
‘Let’s eat birthday cake!’
‘Today we celebrate you!’
Adding a gift card or some cash in a little purse or wallet is always a good idea-And since we have a birthday girl at Camellia’s Cottage in May- I did some window shopping at JCrew –
J Crew ‘bling’ jewelry with classic clothing is what the girls around here like! And they had eye-popping displays! The clothes were striped or solid and cotton sweaters, tee shirts, checked shirts and jeans, lots of denim in fact. Go birthday shopping!
Birthdays are also a great time to take a fun trip- May is a great time to head to the beach!
*Allie Mac recommends –
Gulf Shores, Perdido and Orange Beaches on the Gulf of Mexico
Go over to Pensacola to see the Blue Angels fly.
Take a tour of Historic Mobile.
Relax at the Marriott Grand Hotel and Spa at Point Clear. The guys can play a round of golf on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course there-or fish off the pier while the girls go to the spa!
Stroll around Fairhope or Magnolia Springs on Mobile Bay- that’s always a good idea.
The food on the Bay or Gulf Coast is the best seafood you will find anywhere, any time…
Allie Mac got so excited about that, she mapped it all out! You have to wonder about anybody who wouldn’t want to go to South Alabama! *We’ll drag out this map again later on…
And here is one of my personal favorite things to do on my birthday or any day! Go get a cup of cappuccino! What a way to say ‘I love you!’ with that sweet little heart the barista makes! (That’s Italian for that guy whippin’ up that fancy coffee!) Whatever way you choose to say ‘Happy Birthday!’ – big or small, I hope you will do it- a birthday is different than other holidays- it is specific to the person. Remember their day and say- I’m glad you were born!
So- to the adorable birthday girl at Camellia’s Cottage –
‘Happy Birthday! We love you!’
‘Our life is richer with you in it!’
‘Let’s celebrate you!’ ‘You are a miracle!’
We hope your birthday is filled with all the good things life has to offer – including cupcakes and shopping, getting some sand between your toes and freckles on your nose!
And to all of those who have a birthday today, in May or any day- You are a ‘milagro’ in any language! We hope all your birthday dreams come true!
Love y’all, Camellia
J Crew www.jcrew.com
Marriott Grand Hotel and Spa www.marriottgrand.com
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail https://www.rtjgolf.com
Alabama Department of Tourism www.alabama.tourism.gov
Blue Angels U.S. Navy – for schedule go to www.visitpensacola.com