Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Magpie Tales #42: Eau de Mothball

Magpie Tales #42 prompt - photo by 
My mother wore fur coats - not for fashion, but purely for warmth. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, winters are fierce and in the 50's we did not have the wonderful light weight and warm fabrics we can choose today. You stayed warm by wearing heavy thick clothing and most of the adult women wore fur coats, typically sheared seal or muskrat. The more affluent women in our city owned mink or even exotic skins, like leopard, but my mother's coats were practical garments, not status symbols. They weighed a ton and draped down to the tops of her boots. I can recall the feel of the soft fur on my face when I buried into her lap or stood under her arm.
My mother in fur with me
During summer months the coats were packed away in a cupboard downstairs which was spread liberally with smelly mothballs and kept tightly shut so the fumes would kill moths and their larvae. When the temperature dropped in late autumn, the cupboard was opened and out came the coats. Mom left them hanging outside during the day to air, but the smell never completely vanished. Most of our winter clothing had the whiff and it seemed to permeate everything. 

And so the prompt this week reminded me of my mother first but right afterward "Eau de mothball" - the perfume of Canadian winters.

For less moth-eaten reading head over to Magpie Tales


  1. Colorful writing; thanx for sharing.

  2. A Moth - Woman prophecy whose wings still beat !

  3. What a lovely memory to share, and I love the picture too!

    1. I like my memories of my mother this way, as a young woman - she was very protective. The coat was symbolic of the warmth she radiated exclusively to me and my sister. Not too many others got the benefit of it.

  4. Anonymous5:34 AM

    You have great photo's Helen Beth C

  5. I enjoyed your Mag ~ thoroughly!

  6. This made me smile...

  7. Yes, I spent time in Russia where they still very sensibly wear fur coats.