Ettie Newlands

It’s that time of year again, when I remember my mother’s advice.

She didn’t give it often, so when she did, it was memorable.

Never, she told me, under any circumstances, does a proper lady wear white clothes or shoes or carry a white pocketbook between Labor Day and Easter.

Now, if you’d known my mother, you’d know how ironic the whole “proper lady” instructions were, but I digress.

Open-toed shoes were in the same category as white anything. They were a true fashion faux pas out of season.

But after she moved to Florida and I visited in the dead of winter, there she was, like an ice queen decked out in – you guessed it - white.

White blouse, white slacks – even that was strange because growing up, I never saw her in anything except a “housedress” – and oh my gosh, white, open-toed shoes.

Wondering what else she’d misled me about, I asked about her pigment-less ensemble.

“Oh, this is winter white,” I remember her saying.

She’d never told me about winter white, and to this day, the white accessories get moved to the out-of-season part of the closet.

The only other advice my mother gave me was when I went out on my first date.

I was about to leave the house when she said, “The best advice I can give you is on the lid of the mayonnaise jar.”

Naturally, I went to the refrigerator to read it.

Back in those days, it said, “Keep cool but don’t freeze.”

I don’t plan on having any more first dates, but that proved to be better advice than her fashion wisdom.


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