A New Life! Retirement at its Best 60


A place like ours is not a likely place to visit for trick-or-treaters. But we had a Halloween Social this afternoon at the Club and many people dressed up for the occasion. We knew that from last year, and so I decided to get my Dutch Girl costume out of the closet and wear that. It is a beautiful, authentic Dutch costume from the province of Zeeland, that my aunt in Domburg made for me the year before we emigrated to the United States. She herself wore her costume every day, even in the Assisted Living where she moved when she became old. We settled in Pasadena, California, and over the years had many parties with the Dutch Club. I had fun wearing my costume and playing Dutch songs on my baby accordion that we had bought in an antique shop in Lake Arrowhead. I could play piano, but the buttons on the other side were new to me. So when I played the Dutch songs, the beginning cords usually came out fine, but later I sometimes skipped some notes. However, the audience was so enthralled that they loudly sang the familiar songs without noticing I did not always play the right notes.

Yesterday, I got my costume out of the closet and thought I could put it on just like that. Yeah right! It was pure vanity to think that my figure is the same as it was 47 years ago! The closure hooks were rusted into the material and I found no hooks in either one of my sewing baskets! I managed to move one rusty hook, take out the only two seams in the front of the jacket that could be taken out, so my bosom had the space it now needed, and the skirt and apron were tight, but with Mike’s help I got everything on.

The costume consists of a long black skirt with a shiny design and a black and white striped long “apron”, covering the entire skirt. All made from heavy material. At the right side of the black skirt is a slit through which I could reach the large linen bag that was strapped with a ribbon around my waist. It is to keep money, keys and the like in your “pocket” so you won’t need a purse. You need to lift the whole apron in order to get your hand into the pocket, and so it is a safe place to keep necessary valuables.

The bodice consists of a black “jak”, a fitted jacket with a three hook closure in the front and a very low neckline in the front and back. In the front I wore a “beukje”, a colorful insert in two parts, that goes over the shoulder to a plain back panel with a 4″ layer of lace on top. The beukje gets strapped to the back panel with a ribbon on the left and right through loops and around the body to keep it in place. It then gets pinned, yes, with small pins, to the jacket in front and back of the shoulder, while the pins are hidden by an inch of fine pleats along the nekline. In the low back neckline of the “jak” a wide strip of lace peeps out.

And then the headdress! The first layer is a small blue cap, peeping out in the front. Over that a small white lace cap, and then on top a beautiful lace construction, pouffed out over the shoulders and hanging down across the back. On both sides of my head are the gold “curls”, coming out of the hat and going around the back of the head to stay in place. Other jewelry is the quadruple strand of red jets, with a gold lock, not in the center, but on the side in the front. In one picture you see me at home and in the other I put on my grandmother’s small gold rimmed round glasses and walked with a borrowed cane, bent over – just for fun at the party. The compliments I received : You look ten years older! That was the purpose exactly. On my facebook page I wrote: In a retirement place like mine, you don’t get scared at Halloween, you get old!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time!








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