Still on the bright side......
In the looking back business, some years stand out more than others. 1944 was a notable year for me in many ways. I was nine years old and in the fourth grade. We studied the multiplication tables and Indians. I still remember the arithmetic but not so much about Indians. Except we learned how to make wampum.
Our wampum was made out of macaroni beads we dyed with food coloring. Mrs. Roberts, our teacher, had us use rubbing alcohol with the food coloring to dye the macaroni, claiming this made it poison so we wouldn't eat our raw wampum. ("You'll go blind if you eat it," she cautioned.) I thought the necklaces we made were both beautiful and deadly.
Mrs. Roberts was not only my teacher, she was the mother of my big sister Pat's boyfriend Charlie. Charlie was a concert violinist and Mrs. Roberts had great plans for him and was not thrilled with his fascination with my sister. I tell you this just to set the scene.
My oldest sister Lois was getting married in St Mary's Catholic Church just as soon as her fiance Kenny got home from overseas duty in the Coast Guard. (This was in the middle of World War II.) My family was deep into the wedding preparations. We were having the reception in my grandmother's garden after the church ceremony. I wanted to help beyond my role as flower girl.
Why don't you make macaroni bead necklaces for the wedding party, Mrs. Roberts suggested. She said I could make them at school and surprise my sister. I can't, to this day, think her intentions were benign.
I labored over my creations. One strand was red and blue, another green and yellow, still another purple and orange. The colors were bright and the contrasts were strong. I was so proud of these beautiful adornments! I made necklaces for the bride, matron of honor, bridesmaid (my sister Pat), my mother and Kenny's mother, my grandmother and Great Aunt Maud.
Come the morning of the wedding, as everyone was dressing, I proudly bring out my necklaces. God love my sister Lois. Rather than hurt my feelings she said, "Oh, how lovely!. But you know, the Catholic Church doesn't allow jewelry at weddings. We will wear them later." Hoping, I'm sure, I would forget in all the excitement.
But no. When we all had arrived at my Grandmother's after the ceremony, out I trot with my box of necklaces. The photos at the Church show us all unadorned, but in my grandmother's garden, there we are, all sporting this amazing (for their inappropriateness) macaroni jewelry!
As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. Fast forward 50 years to 1994 when Lois and Ken decide to renew their wedding vows in Las Vegas. All the family and many friends joined in the festivities which culminated with a dinner/reception at one of the hotels. Many speeches were given. When it came my turn, I told the story of the macaroni necklaces to the delight of the crowd. Then my kids pulled some boxes out from under the table and revealed--macaroni beads for everybody! June Bridals plus size bridesmaid outfits for full figure ladies
Great laughter, especially from Lois and Ken. But everybody wore their necklaces home.