Dirty Legs

By Jabo
@jaboUK (64956)
United Kingdom
February 14, 2021 1:45pm CST
My mother was so neat and clean she hadn't yet turned thirty, I was a child and did not know why her legs were dirty. She made a potion, stirred and mixed just like a witches' brew from gravy browning made a paste then what d'you think she'd do? She smeared that paste upon her legs she thought that it looked great then drew a black line down the back and asked if it was straight. I must explain the war was on, to get new clothes was rare but women didn't think it right to have their legs quite bare. So my sweet mother stained her legs hoped they'd look like stockings I can't believe that folk were fooled I just thought them shocking. On looking back I realise how hard my mother tried to keep herself and us all smart I think of her with pride. Photo is of my mother.
29 people like this
27 responses
@sunrisefan (28727)
• Philippines
14 Feb 21
This reminds me of the stockings of our teachers when I was in my elementary years. The stockings had those black line at the back part. I was wondering what was its purpose. Was it to let the onlooker know that the lady was using stockings?
4 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
14 Feb 21
I think the answer must be in the way they were made. The seem was where the material was joined together.
3 people like this
@sunrisefan (28727)
• Philippines
14 Feb 21
@jaboUK But why should it really be black when it could be the same color as the rest of the fabric?
4 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
@sunrisefan It probably wasn't black, just darker than the rest.
1 person likes this
@rebelann (97461)
• El Paso, Texas
14 Feb 21
Wow, what a kool shot. Do you know who took this shot?
4 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
14 Feb 21
I've absolutely no idea. I do know that Mum never played the piano
4 people like this
@rebelann (97461)
• El Paso, Texas
14 Feb 21
So who played it @jaboUK ?
3 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
14 Feb 21
@rebelann No idea - we never had a piano in our childhood home, and I don't know where it was taken.
3 people like this
@CarolDM (181993)
• United States
14 Feb 21
Wow, this is so cool. Love the photo of your dear Mother. And this little story is precious. I miss my sweet Mother.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
14 Feb 21
No matter how long they've been gone we still miss them. We only have the one mother.
2 people like this
@CarolDM (181993)
• United States
14 Feb 21
@jaboUK So very true.
3 people like this
• United States
15 Feb 21
@jaboUK and @CarolDM yes I miss my mom too.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (68171)
• Germany
14 Feb 21
That was an ingenious trick. It was also used by women in other countries affected by the war and the meagre post-war years.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
14 Feb 21
Yes I know this wasn't confined to England, and they would have to careful not to go out in the rain
2 people like this
@MALUSE (68171)
• Germany
14 Feb 21
@jaboUK I remember my mother and grandmother unravelling old pullovers and cardigans and knitting new ones. Something else: Envelopes of letters were carefully opened, turned round, glued together again and used another time. I grew up in the GDR (German Democratic Republic) where the economic situation was even worse than in West Germany.
4 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
14 Feb 21
@MALUSE Oh I remember the unravelling the wool to use again, but not the envelope thing.
2 people like this
@thelme55 (75009)
• Germany
14 Feb 21
I know this when watching an old war movie were women put a dark line on their legs to show they have stockings on.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
14 Feb 21
I think it was a common practice during the war and the years soon afterwards.
3 people like this
@thelme55 (75009)
• Germany
15 Feb 21
@jaboUK I think it was.
1 person likes this
@allknowing (102894)
• India
15 Feb 21
Quite an innovative idea. Great poem.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
It was quite a common thing here at that time. Thanks for liking the poem.
2 people like this
@Nevena83 (65351)
• Serbia
14 Feb 21
Mom is always a very capable woman. A beautiful photo of your mother.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
14 Feb 21
Thank you, it's nice of you to say that.
3 people like this
@jstory07 (119192)
• Roseburg, Oregon
14 Feb 21
You had a very pretty mother.
3 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
14 Feb 21
She was lovely inside and out.
2 people like this
• Kenya
15 Feb 21
@jaboUk I must say mums are always amazing
2 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
They are indeed
@Dena91 (17714)
• United States
15 Feb 21
Your Mom was very smart in finding ways to save money during the war. I admire her and all who lived through that period of time.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
The women had to be really resourceful in that time, lots of things were unavailable and what there was was rationed.
2 people like this
@snowy22315 (135529)
• United States
15 Feb 21
Lively picture and I am sure people did what they had to do in those days.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
They did indeed, it can't have been easy for the women - their men away at the war and children to bring up as best they could.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Feb 21
What a nice photo of your mom I loved your poem and it brought back stories my own mom told me about how women drew that line down the back of their legs to look like stockings. It's funny now to think of even wearing those types of stockings. We certainly have life so much easier than the women of the depression era.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
A lot of people don't realise how hard things were in those days. No washing machines, vacuum cleaners, fridges etc.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Feb 21
@jaboUK life was tougher but I also think our moms turned out to be strong women.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
@Marilynda1225 You're right, they were very strong.
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
17 Feb 21
I remember you sharing this before. I can't imagine doing that especially the line down the back but we've (as in humankind) have done the colored tanning solutions before too. I'm remembering coppertone. If it wasn't blended in correctly one could appear quite orange. At least the brown might have looked more flesh colored or similar to wearing the dark brown hosiery which I liked to do when I was younger.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
17 Feb 21
I don't remember sharing this before, certainly not in a poem. Anyway, it must have been very difficult to get that line straight.
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
17 Feb 21
@jaboUK I don't know that it was in as poem and it may have been on bubblews.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
17 Feb 21
@MarshaMusselman I only wrote the poem recently.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (274941)
• Rockingham, Australia
15 Feb 21
More great rhyming. I've heard about this practice before. The women of the era were incredibly innovative in very many ways.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
Yes they were indeed. If they couldn't 'make do and mend' they had to think of something else.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (274941)
• Rockingham, Australia
15 Feb 21
@jaboUK I know in England girls made their wedding dressed from old parachutes. I don't think things were quite so difficult in Australia.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
16 Feb 21
@JudyEv We had some skirts made from parachutes - I wrote a poem about it, may put it up sometime.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
17 Feb 21
Beautiful photo of your Mom Jan clever poem.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
17 Feb 21
Thank you for that nice comment
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
17 Feb 21
@jaboUK That´s okay its a reminder of the things our Mothers had to do.
1 person likes this
@just4him (265356)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
16 Feb 21
I didn't know women did that to make it look like they wore stockings. Good poem about that era.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
16 Feb 21
It was quite a common practice and apparently some used tea to stain their legs.
1 person likes this
@just4him (265356)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
16 Feb 21
@jaboUK I'm sure tea worked.
1 person likes this
@moonandstars (57591)
• Zagreb, Croatia (Hrvatska)
15 Feb 21
very sad and meaningful. thank you for sharing
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
Thank you.
1 person likes this
• Zagreb, Croatia (Hrvatska)
17 Feb 21
@jaboUK no, thank you!
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (386562)
• Switzerland
15 Feb 21
My mother told me that her sister did the same, of course with a straight line on the back. Those were difficult times and women were creative.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
It would be really difficult to get that line straight, wouldn't it?
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (386562)
• Switzerland
15 Feb 21
@jaboUK I think to remember that it was very difficult also wearing the real things.
1 person likes this
@LowRiderX (23299)
• Serbia
15 Feb 21
@jaboUK Nice photo, nice memory
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
15 Feb 21
Thanks, I appreciate you saying that
1 person likes this
@LowRiderX (23299)
• Serbia
15 Feb 21
@jaboUK You are always welcome
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (61888)
• United States
17 Feb 21
Your mom was an amazing woman and resourceful too!!
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (64956)
• United Kingdom
17 Feb 21
She had to be, those were difficult times.
1 person likes this