Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wisconsin 101: How our old ladies roll

Oh you guys. When I saw the two old ladies get on the bus this afternoon, I had a flashback to my granma, who died a few summers ago.

Actually, to both granmas. Both of my grandmothers were plastic rain-cap wearing old Wisconsin ladies. Both the mass every morning at 6, then to the post office to pick up the mail, then working in the garden and baking something for the church circle, then sheepshead and lunch at the senior center grandmother and the beer-drinking, card-playing, red lipstick-wearing grandmother.

(The one to whom we had to re-apply lipstick in her coffin because the funeral home had put her in pale pink lipstick. She was unrecognizable. My friend Ilene, who went to the funeral with me, donated her red lipstick to the cause and even applied it. "I had to touch dead people when I was in med school," she said matter of factly.)

I hadn't seen those rain caps in years. I don't remember seeing them much in Texas, probably because I don't remember much from that time, period, although the food does remain with me, including the Ro-Tel and the 14 Dairy Queens between Houston and San Antonio on I10 that my college roommate Heather and I made a point to stop at on a weekend trip to my mom and dad's once, but maybe because it doesn't rain as much in Texas as it does here.

In Miami, it does rain,  but little old ladies there do not have white hair. Their hair is dyed black and they are in full red lipstick. Cuban ladies do not go out in public without their lipstick. I love Miami, but I have to tell you, it was a relief to move to Iowa from Miami. I saw white hair again, I saw windows without bars, walls without graffiti, grocery carts that weren't blocked from leaving the front door of the store, and people stopping at red lights. 

Oh yes. You take people stopping at a red light as a given. Maybe even a yellow light!

No, this is not how things work in Miami. You better count on at least three people going through the red before you dare take your green. Unless you want to be hit. Which is one of the reasons auto insurance costs twice as much there as Iowa.

I digress. I saw the rain-bonneted ladies. I haven't seen this sight in years and years. It made me smile.

And then a 40ish black lady got on the bus, wearing some nice high-heeled black boots and a sequined top under her raincoat. She, too, had on a rain bonnet. 

Which really made me smile.   



Anonymous Mother said...

No, not beer--Seagram's 7 and 7 (7-Up). NEVER beer.

cyndee said...

My son-in-law is from LA area. He was blown away while up at our home in Santa Cruz, as he had not seen women with gray hair. LA women do not age, in any way at all. Up in Santa Cruz many go natural.
Loved this post :-)

Lindy D. said...

I have a couple of these folded up rain bonnets in my glove compartment. I bought them at estate sales in Wisconsin. I think they have bank logos on them. I've never used them, and after reading this... I may never use them. lol

I like reading about your "granmas." It sounds like they had full lives in retirement which is not always easy to do.