Friday, April 22, 2016

Cowrie Point Dreams

This 1800's painting has similarities to the Cowrie Point area, particularly the rock formation on the left, with the ocean and beach in the background.

Cowrie Point, Tasmania was a small cove with summer  homes called "shacks" owned mostly by residents of nearby towns. These were simple dwellings designed for temporary summer living, but occasionally there were year-round occupants like my family. We spent the lonely, dark winter months indoors away from the cold wind and rain, when there were no tourists or holiday visiitors. 

In the mornings I walked the empty beach before the day got underway. With no one around the area all those months,  I felt I owned a piece of oceanfront property. 

A little bit of warm air indicated spring was near, and I saw something from a dream.

As I came to the end of the path leading out onto the ocean rocks, young woman in a long blue-gingham dress was walking on the low-tide wet sand. Her long, dark hair was covered with a wide brimmed white picture-hat tied with a light blue satin ribbon. 

At that time in history, fashion had left the sweet dresses of the 1950's; the severe designs of the 1960's were now prominent, though longer lengths were not popular yet. Long dresses like Kathleen's light blue gingham had not been worn as daywear for several decades and were only read about in historical fiction. This young lady's dress, hat and her smooth, graceful way of walking was like something out of a 19th century painting. To a young girl like myself who was attracted to "pretty," the scene was angelic.

As we we came upon each other, we stopped to talk.  I asked her where to find long dresses like the one she was wearing, and she told me she had sewn the dress herself, using a pattern. The dress was peasant-style with long sleeves and a ruffle at the wrists.  

Her name as Kathleen, and the reason she was wearing this dress and hat while walking on the beach, was due to her skin being so sensitive to the sun, but also that she thought ladies should dress modestly.  I admired her willingness to say it outright, especially during a time when modesty was being abandoned by the public. She was 20 years old and I was 16. Her skin was soft and smooth, no doubt from her careful shielding against the harsh elements, and her eyes were a picture of innocent contentment.

I saw her several times more in similar dresses of various pastels. She said, "Although I am not dressing like this for attention, girls need to realise that people appreciate them wearing long dresses more than pants and masculine clothing. They get a lot more attention in a pretty, modest dress."

The year was 1967. I wish I could remember every word she spoke to me on that subject and that I had kept a correspondence going with her so that I might know how her life went, and what became of her.  All I have is that clear and wonder-filled vision in my mind of her walking lazily on the beach in the pretty blue-gingham dress. She looked like someone from another era.

Sometimes we do not think our ways and our beliefs and example matter much or impact anyone, but it may touch someone many years later when the memory visits them. I see the picture of Kathleen so clearly, I believe I could sketch it from memory.

On the left side on this photo, below, lies the house where Kathleen stayed the summer I saw her on the beach. It is the white one with the gray roof just facing a private little cove of Cowrie Point. You can see it there to the left of the house wirh the red roof.

This is an areal view of Cowrie Point. It is hard to indentify things as so much has changed in 45 years, but I think the blue house may be the one my parents owned and where we lived in the 1960's.


magnoliasntea said...

Lydia, I really enjoyed reading this lovely story from your childhood. I can just imagine how impressive Kathleen's words and manner of dress were to a you. Beautiful story.

Yesterday, I was at a huge tag sale held by one of the local churches. There were hundreds of people there looking for bargains. As I was looking at the dresses & skirts another lady noticed me (actually, what I was wearing, I think) showed me one she thought was pretty and said, "I wish I could wear skirts more often, but I just can't. I like to work in my garden." I told her it was lovely and that I wear a skirt everyday, and there's nothing a lady can't do in one if they are long enough. I hope she will ponder wearing more feminine clothing.

Lynn Maust said...

As I know you can sketch, please do sketch Kathleen in her lovely homemade blue gingham dress! We all would love to see that!

Lydia said...

Lynn I will try to do that in just a dew hours. I actually set out my paimtimg equipment last night near my bed to remind me. I will post it here if I can get a camera workimg. I am cimsiderimg a trip to Tasmania to get my own photos, and of course a camera that works:-).

Rachel and Family said...

"Sometimes we do not think our ways and our beliefs and example matter much or impact anyone, but it may touch someone many years later when the memory visits them."

So true!

Thank you always for your wonderful, uplifting, beautiful Home Living.

Lord Bless you.

Lydia said...

Magnoliasntea, Often i am asked ablut wearing a dress while cleaning or gardening. The kind of fabrics I choose are for getting worn and dirty, and there is no problem. When worn out i get to make new ones. Dresses and skirts selected for the home are to use, to wear out, to get dirty in the garden, and not to leave hanging in the closet. Also a lady can learn to behave in a careful manner to avoid spills and dirt, and become skillful in being clean. It is more graceful.

LogansMom122911 said...

Dearest Mrs. Sherman, this is an example of why this is my favorite blog. I love the way you write and spin beautiful stories from simple, every day materials. Your blog means so much to me! Someone commented before that they have been printing your posts along with the photos for years and have a few binders full of just your words of wisdom and encouragement-- I wish I had that. I only have about 5 posts printed along with a few from JES at Strangers and Pilgrims on earth and Mrs. White from Legacy of Home. You amazing ladies are so precious to me as a younger woman.

living from glory to glory said...

Dear Lydia, what a wonderful post! A time in your younger years of being exposed to this type of dressing and living was truly a great impact. I am so glad you shared this with us! I do hope you paint it for us all to see!
I wish that a company would see the need and make some dresses for us ladies that fit and our pretty and make us feel like a lady.
Blessings, Roxy

Lydia said...

Let's draw some designs Roxy, and invite the manufacturers to ourblogs and say, "this is what we want"

Tricia said...

Dear Lydia,
I would love to see your personal dresses! It would be such an inspiration to see "a week in dresses" done by you!

anonymous said...

My, what a great story. It makes my wish for more of the story. The way you describe it all, I felt like I was there at the time.
Thank you for sharing it with us.



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