I wasn't easily distracted from my grief. A game of cards did the trick quite often. But forget the singing and piano playing. My mum had sung and played piano everyday and particularly on Sunday when there was always a party at our place. And just a smidgeon of gambling. We had loved the partieis because our Mum sang and now and again someone would ask us to go to the shops for cigarettes or chocolate. We always got a tip or two out of the pockets of the visitors.
So I was miserable; missing my Mum and our life with her. I drove everyone crazy with my 'Not today's'. I went to work five days a week and sometimes Saturday morning. I was a seamstress. But try to snap me out of my misery? It was impossible. Cakes, scones, jokes; anything to make me laugh again. But it wasn't very successful. Miserable Dolly lived within the family home and Miserable Dolly was determined to maintain her grief because it suited her. Someone had to cook and clean and organise everyone. That was me!!!
One Melbourne Cup Day I was talked into attending the Cup. It was only across the road. Dad had horses running in other races. I considered this offering from my siblings and then decided I would go. But what to wear? Wearing grief is not much fun for me or anybody else. So I began to dress very carefully for this outing with Aunts, Uncles, Father, Siblings; everyone went to the Melbourne Cup. It was just across the road. Out the house; across the sale yards; crossed Flemington Road; in through the gates past Dad's stables and we only had to walk a small distance to the Members' Stands. Easy stuff! But what to wear?
I looked in Mum's cupboard and found a super dress that would not fit me because Mum was considerably taller than me and quite a bit fatter. Vera said "wear this". A lilac chiffon dress with matching shoes. I gave that a miss! Not Dolly enough, Too Vera! I looked in my own cupboard and found a black voile dress with spots (white); cross over front and calf length skirt.
Shoes were court shoes with a heel: black of course. Stockings were neutral in colour. Done!
I had a smile at myself in the full length Cheval mirror in Mum's old room. My hair looked good. I had black curly hair which I wore short. This because I was a short person and long hair did not suit my ample bosum and hour glass figure. I was pretty good looking I thought as I looked in the mirror. Mum would have approved.
I wore one of Mum's Cloque hats: black of course. And I carried a black bag. But it was not complete so I went to Mum's clothes. She had a Mink Fur stole - they were ever so popular then. It was brown in colour and sat just right across my neck and shoulders. Soft and luxurious. Now I was smiling. Sad Dolly had become Happy Dolly.
At the races I became jubilant as I witnessed Phar Lap win the Melbourne Cup. We sang and we danced and we appreciated a great horse and a terrific race meeting. I wore grief and joy. I began to laugh again that day: family, beautiful clothes and a super day of horse racing. RIP Mum!
21 April 2018