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Overhauling the Overall

Pictured above: My mom, Ginny Carter, when she visited me in South Africa.

First appearing in the U.S. in the 1700s and known as “slops,” overalls became the uniform of the working stiff. Over time, their baggy silhouette served as an emblem worn by railroaders and Depression-era farmers — as recalled in Grant Wood's American Gothic

My mom passed away several years ago. I think of her daily, and during certain times, grieve deeply the loss of her presence in my life.

When my mom was in her early 60’s, she wanted a pair of jean overall shorts for her birthday. At the time, I was living in Colorado and my mom in Ohio. I gladly purchased her gift choice and swiftly sent a wrapped package enclosed in a utilitarian cardboard box to her home. I don’t remember including a card, but my gifts to her usually contained two cards: one of a serious nature and the other which would hopefully provide a good chuckle for her and my dad.

  • Sunshine. My Mother, my friend so dear, ...

  • Please excuse the mess, my kids are making memories of me yelling at them to clean up the mess.

My mom was excited about her gift – my dad not so much. My mom had severe arthritis in her hands and was unable to manage the overall buckles. On overall days, my dad was kept busy dressing and undressing my mom in the mornings, each time she went to the bathroom, and in the evenings when she donned her cotton nightie.

These days overalls have been overhauled. Buckles are sometimes replaced with small rustic looking snaps or rounded accessory buttons both of which add to the overall experience.


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