Helena, how wonderful that everything about this beautiful occasion meant so much to you and your deeply loving parents equally!

Yes remarkable memory Helena

Vildy, I had the original blonde Barbie in the black & white swimsuit, thanks to my generous aunt, but I didn't know there was a brunette one! I would have loved having her. We had redheads aplenty in my family and all my friends were blond, but brunettes were scarce on the ground, and a brunette Barbie would have been the height of glamor to my 5-year-old self.

My mom was a talented seamstress.

I vividly remember that she made us matching yellow shift dresses one summer. The dresses were accented with large white buttons (decorative only). The styles was very 1960s and very mod. Mom had a silver pixie cut.

I was so happy and proud. Oh how I wish I had a photo of us in our matching 60s shifts!

When I was a little girl, clothes shopping was a family outing- we would drive over to the big department stores in Philadelphia- John Wanamaker’s, Lit Brothers, and Gimbals, and spend the entire day shopping. We only did it once or twice a year but I loved it! Those grand department stores had restaurants in them and I remember eating lunch there too. It was such a special time.

YES I lived in and near Philadelphia and dearly miss the big department stores. My friends and I loved eating lunch there!

Oh, the department stores of the past! In Baltimore we had Stewart’s, Hutzler’s (where my grandmother was the glove buyer), and Hecht Co. It was such a treat going to those stores. I remember the amazing Christmas displays (and the ginormous dollhouse in the toy department!) at Hutzlers in Towson, just outside of Baltimore city, which became our main shopping destination after we moved from the city to the county, as so many families of the time did (sigh, a topic for a whole other dissertation). On special occasions we would have lunch at the tea room Hutzler’s, which had a huge painted mural of a fox hunt (apparently a common occasion in the area before it became suburbia).

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In South Africa we had Stutterfords spread over a number of floors and we would also do lunch or tea there. That was in the 80/90s. Do you remember Stutties Angie? In later times and probably even now Woolworths have a buffet lunch area which is very nice but not quite the same, affectionately known as Woolies. We SA people seem to have a thing for making the names short and cute, maybe some influence from the Afrikaans language, not sure

Oh, yes, to shopping in the large department stores. My mom and I would take the bus into downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Such great memories of shopping together at Higbee’s, Halle’s, and May Company.

My first fashion memory is visiting my Aunt Judy in Montclair, New Jersey. She was a highly cultured, world-traveler who was also a superb cook and seamstress. Plus, she had amazing personal style. I remember being completely mesmerized by her mink stole. Aunt Judy put the mink stole around me and I walked down the stairs not like a 5 year child, but like a catwalk model! When I was in graduate school at Seton Hall University, Aunt Judy and I would go to New York City for shopping trips. She helped me with dressing more like a young woman and less like a pre-teen boy.

When I was 3, I remember Dad going away on his first work trip. A big deal as it involved a 5-hour plane trip and being away from home for a week. When he returned, he had presents for all the family, it was like Christmas. I received a teddy and a beautiful blue dress from a department store. The teddy became my constant companion. Mum let me wear that dress as much as I wanted which was basically everywhere as within a year, I had outgrown it.

I was the most dressed up child at BBQ's and at the playground where I was in a dress and Mary-jane shoes when all the other children wore shorts and sandals. It has never bothered me being overdressed!

It is really fun reading these stories and I had almost forgotten Dad's first work trip. He set a precedent for subsequent work trips which became more frequent and so he was less lavish, but always made sure we got chocolates or another treat.