The Student News Site of Teen Scene, Inc

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Like Us on Facebook

The Lady in Red

The Lady in Red
Dan Dodge

A relic of the 1930s Great Depression, the lady of this story valued life and her surroundings differently than today’s modern women. During her lifetime, women of all social classes were subjected to “hard times” in various measures. These women learned to cope, to the best of their abilities, with circumstances beyond their control and sometimes beyond their imagination. 

    This lady, with a heart-shaped face, married her husband on Valentine’s Day. She decorated their home and herself in her favorite color, red. She thought of it as a happy color; the opposite of drab black too often worn by families mourning the loss of their loved ones due to accidents or illnesses for which there were no surgical or medicinal remedies. Her family, like many during dreary Depression days, suffered loss of income. Deprived of former luxuries, simple items like fresh meat, vegetables or eggs became welcome treats. She could only dream of a new store-bought dress, coat, or shoes. She never complained about the stresses of life, but handled every situation with grace and aplomb. Undaunted by electrical outages, appliance failures, natural disasters or tight finances, she creatively and cheerfully adapted to life’s vicissitudes. 

    She kept her family clothed and fed, despite shortages of money and supplies, by learning to stretch a dollar to the maximum. Out of necessity, she became an accomplished seamstress. She designed and sewed clothes for her family, but stitched her clothes and house decorations with red as the dominate color. For Valentine’s Day, she decorated her table with red candles in silver holders and a cube box centerpiece covered in white paper with large red cutout hearts on each side and top. The lid heart had a slit to insert handmade Valentine cards to and from family members. Heart-shaped biscuits at breakfast, heart-shaped sandwiches for lunch, and a heart-shaped coconut cake with red sprinkles for dessert became annual expectations. For Christmas, she decorated almost every room in her home with red ribbons, bows, bells and balls.

    When her children were young, the lady and her husband dressed to attend a New Year’s Eve party, he in his well-worn tuxedo and she in her pre-children red sequined evening gown. Thanks to the Depression, both ensembles fit them perfectly. Later her little girls played dress up in her Valentine red gown so many times, the sequins unraveled.

    In their golden years, the loving couple enjoyed short car trips. One afternoon, with his wife at the wheel, the lady’s husband said his lips felt chapped. She replied, “Honey, look in my purse for my tube of Chapstick.” That afternoon, they decided to stop at a fast-food restaurant for a bite to eat. The lady noticed the girls at the counter were smiling and giggling as her husband gave their order. After receiving their food, the couple sat in a booth opposite each other. The lady gasped when she looked across the table at her husband’s Valentine red lips.

    After her eyesight faltered, no one had the heart to tell “the lady in red” that she was wearing clashing shades of her favorite color. Her children chuckled when told their mother wore a red gown and sported her signature Valentine red lipstick at two o’clock in the morning when she died at ninety-eight years young.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Nancy Bryans
Nancy Bryans, Writer, Teen Scene Editor, Production Assistant
Nancy graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Business Administration. She enjoyed a marketing and sales career in commercial and residential real estate. She used her management, PR and sales skills to design and write construction newsletters, media advertising and promotional brochures. Nancy served as board chair of numerous academic, civic, patriotic and charitable organizations. She resides in Brunswick Forest.