Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sepia Saturday 157 - The fur collar

In this week's photo prompt of Santa in Stockholm, everyone looks like they're having a great time. I can remember street cars in Winnipeg looking just about like these, with all the varnished wood interiors. In winter, the odor of moth balls, alcohol and stale cigarette smoke would cling to your clothes long after you exited the car.

First I'm posting a nostalgia photo of my sister and me opening presents Christmas morning. Our big fat cat Sandy joined in the festivities. The tree (ours was typical) was lightly sprinkled with tinsel;  we had a dozen ornaments which my mother kept tissue-enshrined in a shoe box. Trees were not a big deal for us. We had plenty of them outdoors - our neighbors had two huge blue spruces and the branches would frequently be covered with picture perfect snow and icicles. That "Christmas tree smell" wasn't special - it was in the air all the time.

Winnipeg street, December 2012

As to the photo prompt, my eye was drawn to the leopard skin collar. Years ago, I read an excellent essay by a woman - I'll call her Mary, who inherited a full-length leopard skin coat from her fashionista mother. Mary, shorter and plumper than her mother, hadn't the chutzpah to wear such a garment; it was the anti-fashion 60's when jeans and bare feet were in. Fashion was out. Mary had the coat revamped into a short jacket which she wore in the 70's but the anti-fur movement heated up and we pushed these garments to the backs of our closets like guilty secrets. Sometime later, at the urging of her daughter, she had a shawl collar made from the remaining fur and attached it to a long black dress coat she wore for many years. Time passed, the coat was stowed in a box with other nostalgia garments and survived a few floods, many moves, moth and mice attacks. Moldy and shredded, it finally had to go, but there was a small piece of intact leopard skin left on the collar; she used it to cover a large button mounted on a pin. Her mother's memory lived on, adorning hats and collars. My guess it that the button/pin endured and will be passed along to many generations ahead.

I wonder if the leopard skin collar on this lady in the photo was cherished by someone and survived the passage of time?

I have my own recycled fur story which centers around my mother's fur coat which was converted to Teddy Bears (called "Jilly" Bears after my mother) by my life-long friend Linda. Here's a picture of my mother wearing one of her fur coats on a bright sunny Christmas day in 1947.

And here's a picture of the Jilly Bear, made from Jill's coat, beneath a Christmas tree, 2009.

Happy Holidays to all the Sepia Saturday gang! To read more Christmas stories, click here:
Sepia Saturday


  1. Anonymous10:19 AM

    Great blog! Would you have Dick check his email?
    Thanks. Bob M.

  2. I would have been 9 in 1946; I can't remember anything from Christmases back them just some of the toys made for me by my dad. Hope you had a good Christmas.
    Happy New Year!

  3. The Jilly Bear is fantastic! Those old fur coats were something else,weren't they? I had a friend who wore one all winter; even used a motorbike on occasion, and looked like a giant bear on it! Happy Holidays!

  4. Great pictures and story! Your cat looks like a big baby doll.

  5. I love the Jilly Bear. What a great idea!

  6. I remember your jilly bear post and thought maybe that's where the leopard coat story might be going. Ending up as a stuffed animal, but a button! How clever is that?
    p.s. love the photo of you and your sister. Your tree looks nice. But I especially like those dolls. Don't you wish you had them now? Maybe you do.