From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Mohair Memories

Romance in the fifties


Photo by knittiemarie on Flikr
When I was about seven or eight years old (in the late 1950s,) I began to notice that some guys and girls in high school were "going steady." As a symbol of their affection, they had exchanged class rings. 

I don't remember what the guy did with the girl's ring. Maybe he put it on a chain and wore it around his neck, or maybe he wore it on his pinky. But I haven't forgotten what the girls did with the guys rings.

Guys' rings were almost always a few sizes too big, so the girls wrapped them in yarn to make them small enough to wear. In a pinch, any yarn would do (so long as it was color-coordinated to the girl's outfit.) But given a choice, the girls preferred mohair yarn.

After the ring was wrapped in the fuzzy mohair, the girls brushed up the yarn fibers with a toothbrush, encircling the ring with a cloud of fuzz as large as a ping-pong ball. Anyone who glanced at the girl's hand  knew immediately that she was going steady.

When the girl had a few spare moments, she might get her toothbrush out of her purse and freshen up the yarn on her ring, just to keep it looking nice.

Pastel mohair cardigans were popular then, too, and I thought the girls looked beautiful wearing their soft, fuzzy sweaters with their boyfriends' rings wrapped in matching swirls of mohair. And of course, the guys were handsome too, with their crew-cuts combed straight up in front.

In fact, during a church service (my primary opportunity to observe teenage couples), I could get so busy looking at those guys and girls that I didn't pay any attention at all to the sermon.

4 comments:

Collagemama said...

My mom bought an aqua mohair cable cardigan for me in sixth grade, 1965. She sewed a diagonal plaid aqua/celery/white a-line skirt. It was a very nice outfit except it made me ITCH LIKE CRAZY.

Genevieve Netz said...

Must have been a wool plaid. :-)

Elaine said...

I tried dripping paraffin into the giant ring circlet...but it never stayed in place. Maybe if I had done the wool AND the wax....

Genevieve Netz said...

That probably would have worked very well. :D

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