Lady-go-lightly

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 A post by writer Frances Wood:

With today’s revealing styles, the average woman shaves some 414 square inches of leg

That’s what the ad said.

What it didn’t say was that today, 45 years later, I’d still be using the same razor on legs that maybe have a few more square inches on them. Width-wise, not length-wise. I’m not so skinny as I was at 18.

That girl who took this electric razor to college, did she realize she was creating memories?

I don’t think so.

She was thinking about classes and boys. About a new roommate-who-wasn’t-her-sister. And boys. She had no picture in her mind of the woman I am now.

But I can see her so clearly.

I see her 414 square inches of legs, and her short skirts, and the ski sweater her Arizona-based grandfather bought because he was convinced she might freeze to death back in New England.

She almost did. Well, her legs almost froze, because of those skirts.

But the sweater…

I still have that, too. And when I touch the still-beautiful wool I feel an immensity of love so much bigger than 414 square inches.

That love, and the usefulness of the razor, have kept me going (and feeling pretty) throughout my life.

The girl I was then didn’t know she was creating memories. She didn’t know she was saving love to warm the woman I am now.

I am so grateful to her.

1968, Edward's wedding

Photo Top: Ad for Remington’s Lady-go-lightly, circa 1968.

Photo Middle: Frances in the dress she made for her brother’s wedding.  Not shown are the shoes she dyed to match.

Photo Bottom: Frances now, still sporting lovely shades of blue. She’s the author of When Molly Was a Harvey Girl, Daughter of Madrugada, and Becoming Rosemary. To learn more about Frances Wood and her writing, visit her website, Frances M. Wood.com. 

frances

 

19 responses »

  1. I remember those razors–didn’t have one myself though. Are you saying you still have it and use it? They don’t make things to last like that anymore if you do. Interesting how little things like a razor can bring on memories of the past. I remember well those short skirts (and bright red frozen legs!) and that same style of dress you have on in the picture. In some ways, those were the days!

    • Yes, I still have it and use it. I’ve had to replace the blades a number of times. Although I haven’t seen a razor kiosk in the malls lately. Maybe I’ll have to send it back to Remington?

  2. Mine was a Schick and is still going strong since 1968! (Wish other things I had were as long-lasting!)
    I marvel at how long it has lasted unchanged and how much I have changed in all those years.

  3. Wow…just seeing this ad and the colorful packaging and the “mod’ dress on Frances 😀 brings me back to yesteryear. Age ten to twelve…could.not.wait. to shave my legs 😉 How trends change…my 22 1/2 year old daughter proudly forgoes the shaving of legs or underarms, and believes that American women have been cleverly brainwashed into thinking they ‘have’ to shave these areas. I don’t know… Honestly, I just like the way I look and feel after shaving 🙂 Thanks for the memories.

    • Thank you for the comment, and thank you for reminding me of the word ‘mod.’ Do you remember ‘Francie, Barbie’s Mod Cousin’? I may not collect dolls like Barbara does, but I do have a Francie doll sitting in my bookcase. I’ve made some clothes for her that suit my more modest time of life – leftover fabric from my current wardrobe.

  4. I have an Irish wool cap given to me by my ex mother-in-law many Christmases ago.It still keeps my head warm and dry on those damp wintry days in NC. Have fleeting fond memories of that kind lady when I wear it.

  5. When I saw this post, I thought I actually have nothing to write! . . . because no one ever gave me a woolly sweater, or fuzzy warm hat, or even a “hug” as I went off to college.

    But, then, I realized that you were thanking the person that YOU were for the memories you have now. We all create these memories in different ways, some of us with a lot of help, and some of us with not too much, at least not initially.

    In college, I was to find someone who would wrap me in warmth and caring. So thank you, 24 year-old self, for having the wisdom to know what and who could make memories.

    And, on a lighter note!!: I do remember “Barbie’s Mod Cousin,” a dress just like you have on (but yours is infinitely better made!), and the “70’s” days, when (not our daughters) but, WE thought shaving our legs was having been brainwashed!

    • I’m so glad that you found friendship in college. Tomorrow I am meeting up with my freshman roommate for the first time in many years. She and her family offered me so much kindness and warmth.

      • Thank you so much for your kind response to my post. When you mentioned your roommate, it reminded me of mine – from “sophomore year.” This was prior to my finding someone to help me know how to receive and to “make memories.”

        So, one late Fall into Christmas break, my sophomore roommate told me she was making me something special, for Christmas.

        She was a great roommate, who would without fail go down to the dormitory “common” area to watch “Mary Tyler Moore Show” every single week (and, yes, she was a lot like “Mary!”). So, when our families came to get us to take us home for Christmas break, she gave me a beautifully knitted scarf! To this day, I will remember her. Thanks, Carol.

        I hope that you have a wonderful reunion with your college roommate!

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