Monday, November 16, 2009

My Marimekko's by Sally

This gorgeous drawing with text that I can't entirely read appeared in my e-mail from Sally. Her Marimekkos. 

I couldn't be more pleased.

After I heard an NPR piece, probably by a Brit, about the left and right hemispheres, how the left dominates western thinking, focused, goal oriented, and the right is more likely to be found in eastern thinking, a more encompassing vision, not concentrating on the specific parts, I, for no reason that's connected to whether that version of the hemispheres makes sense to me, started thinking about why I wanted to transmit Sally's stories. Yes, they follow a thread about these clothes and that material which started with the blog about Elsa Dorfman and the DR store being recreated, but more than that, she was talking about high school -- a time of life that I'd kill myself if I had to go back to.

But she had seen a dress that she wanted, a $48 marimekko that her mother wouldn't buy. "It's cotton."  So, she baby sat in order to buy it for herself. And she marked down how much she earned each time. Was this on a sheet of paper tucked into her mirror or did I make up that detail? At any rate, I got the idea that this tally was always visible in her room. And it sounded precious. Wanting something, a wonderful item of clothing, and working to get it (perhaps, she said,  not figuring in the tax) and then getting it and loving it. All that seemed quite remarkable to me. Very different from what I'd experienced. And quite lovely.

I can't entirely retrieve my mental-tape-recording of her story, but another part that touched me was when her mother said something like, "You're not wearing that to a college interview. It's winter." And Sally saying, "I'll wear tights and boots." And wearing it.  

There was something important to me, healing if you will, though that sound hideously corny, in hearing a story of Sally so successfully wanting this dress that was, truly, like a symbol of independence, removing herself from her mother's taste and perhaps from her school mates taste.

I, who leaps rather than thinks, and leapt to recreate her story, think this is the underbelly of why. 

And those dresses were so important that she'll actually make a drawing of them. Isn't that quite remarkable?

I will enlarge the drawing on my computer so that I can  write what she says in her own words about those dresses.

I mentioned, in the original piece which I deleted when I didn't understand that Sally was only slightly miffed at appearing on a blog, that when I met her, she was stunning. Tall, a gorgeous if unconventional face, unruly dark curls and straggles, the remnants of having taken dance apparent in her carriage. I'm sure she could wear a marimekko without it overwhelming her or making her head disappear into that strong design. 

In those olden days, I was attractive, too, in that pseudo waspy way that I've never favored. And my head would have disappeared entirely had I put on a marimekko dress which I never would have, anyway. My opinion is still that ordinary mortals shouldn't have worn them, even though almost every woman I've mentioned them to has a precious marimekko memory.


  1. i hope you just keep talking about marimekkos forever.

    what happened to the Design Research building in cambridge, anyway?
    is it still there? wasnt it designed by philip johnson, of the Glass House?

  2. It's empty. Crate and Barrel moved out. I forget who it was designed by, though I have a pamphlet on it and will let you know. Not Philip Johnson...

  3. Sally's story reminds me of one by MFK Fisher about taking herself out for dinner at a fine restaurant when she was--I believe--in her teens. It's freeing to take action for ourselves!