“When I Wore Dresses”
by Raynor Moore (as remembered by his daughters)
ca 1897 Arthur Moore family
Clockwise: Arthur, Johnnie, Raynor, Cotten, Jim Ward, Bess
“Daddy, Tell me about when you were a little girl.”
You see that picture of Mammy and Daddy and all us children.
I always wore a dress just like the one my brother Jim has on until my Uncle Marc gave me some material for Mammy to make me that suit.
When I was little, I often went to visit my Rayner grandparents.
Now, the first thing that happened —
It was Easter; Grandmammy had dressed me in a new white dress she and my aunts had made– a white sailor outfit.
Then, while the women were getting dressed for church, Granddaddy took me out with him to milk the cow.
Well, his old red cow didn’t like me in that outfit and she just off and caught me between her horns and just rolled and rolled me in the muck.
Those women were just as upset as I was!!
The next day my cousins were all in school;
Aunt Arrie and Grandmammy were busy doing the wash, and I was having a grand time playing with my cousin Tom’s new wagon, all by myself,
suddenly, the handle came off!
The tap that had held everything together had come loose, and it was lost!
I hunted and hunted all over the yard, but I couldn’t find that tap.
Pretty soon Tom was going to be coming home, and I didn’t want to be there when he discovered that I had lost part of his new wagon.
“Aunt Arrie, Aunt Arrie!”
“I want to go home.”
“Can’t you see I’m busy trying to get these clothes on the line–now you just run along and amuse yourself until I get finished here.”
Well, I played for a little while and then I was back,
“Aunt Arrie, I want to go home–now!”
She stopped, turned putting her hands on her hips and looked at me, then she pointed. “Well, there’s the road–just step into it.”
said she, bending back over the scrubbing board.
Heeding her advice I set out for home;
but I didn’t get very far before I met a cow! in the middle of the road.
I quickly decided to join some colored children I’d spotted playing in their yard. Pretty soon one of them said,
“Look out, here comes your Auntie!”
I looked, and I could see Aunt Arrie,
a switch in hand, coming down the road like a ship in full sail–bonnet and all.
“I’m going to switch that young’un, I’m going to switch him, even if he were the last child on God’s green earth I shall switch him.”
By this time she had come to where I was
and I looked up at her and quickly said,
“But Aunt Arrie, you told me to.”
She deflated as if I had punctured her,
the steam slowly escaping. “Sh ..s..s..ss. sss.ssh!
Yes, child, I did say that” admitted Aunt Arrie,
“but I didn’t mean for you to do it.”
Back at the house, Uncle Armstead arrived and was told to entertain me while the women finished the wash.
“Hmm,” he said, “You’re getting to be a big boy –too big to be wearing a dress.
Let’s see what we can do about that.”
So he fashioned me a pair of pants out of quilt squares we found in grandmammy’s sewing basket.
I thought those new pants were the finest;
but I still wanted to be somewhere else when Tom got home
and discovered his wagon was missing its tap.
Right about then Uncle Marc stopped by
and I was quick to ask, “Uncle Marc can I go home with you?”
“You certainly can, son.”
After we got in the buggy, Uncle Marc says to me,
“What in ‘Tar-Nation’ is this you have on.?”
“Uncle Marc, I’m just too big for a dress,
Uncle Armstead made me some pants!”
“Humph!” We went straight to Uncle Marc’s store.
“Percy, we have got to fix this young man up with some real pants!”
And Uncle Marc gave me the material with which my Mammy made me the suit I’m wearing in that picture.
And there was enough material for several pairs of pants plus the jacket and the vest.
I was well dressed for years!
Back to Arthur and Johnnie Moore