Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hollyhocks for Mother's Day

I was driving home from a grocery store a few days ago, and saw a huge row of beautiful pink hollyhocks in front of someone's house. (Did you know that Hollyhocks can grow in Arizona? I think my parents grew some after I went away to college.) But every time I see hollyhocks, they remind me of my mother. Why is that?

When I was very young, my mother got a print of John Hafen's "Girl Among the Hollyhocks" (painted in 1902). The painting hung on the wall above the piano in our front room for many years. I recall that my mother loved the painting very much. Why is this painting important to me? Because it was important to my mother, and it reminds me of her.

The painting probably reminds my mom of her own mother's garden, which was filled with beautiful plants and flowers. My grandmother was a very wonderful person, and certain flowers remind me of her. For instance, some dahlias (picture on the right) in San Francisco reminded me of my grandmother and the beautiful dahlias that she always grew on the side of her house. Sometimes when we visited, we could cut one or two dahlias for the dinner table.

Now, what does all this have to do with paper dolls? I guess I saw the hollyhocks, and remembered my mother, and the painting, and decided it might work for a paper doll.

Well, back to the painting. Do you see that little girl in the painting? She is wearing a white dress that is a classic turn-of-the-century fashion design. It has a rounded yoke with a ruffle, poofy sleeves, also with a drapy ruffle, and some more ruffles around the calf-length hem. Lace and ribbon would trim the dress. The black stockings and ankle boots are also a classic style, seen in many school pictures from the early 1900s.

Tuesday's paper doll will be my best guess at what the original model was wearing. I have referenced enough period dresses to be confident that the fashion page will be historically representative, if not completely accurate.

Now, I want to know: does a specific flower remind you of someone? Are there any flowers in your history or heritage?

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! It's so neat to think about flowers today and what memories they bring.

    I remember bushes of sweet peas--they were my favorite flower from growing up. They worked so well as cut flowers. I remember bringing them to teachers at school and putting them in vases in the house.

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