1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

Sharp Dressed Man

Grandma and Grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary.

Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th wedding anniversary.

Grandpa was born in 1875, but still knew how to look spiffy in 1961. However, his choice of wardrobe raised some eyebrows.

Dad pulled our car into Grandma and Grandpa’s long driveway. A huge open-house was about to get underway in celebration of my grandparent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary.

We walked toward the stoop where Grandma and Grandpa stood waiting.

“Oh my gosh, I don’t believe it,” whispered Dad.

“Is he wearing what I think he’s wearing?” asked Mom.

“Yup, that’s his burial suit all right,” said Dad.

“What’s a burial suit?” I asked.

“Shhh, he’ll hear you. I’ll explain later.”

The second we kissed Grandma and Grandpa goodbye and headed down their driveway, I asked, “So what’s a burial suit, Dad? I thought Grandpa looked nice.”

“Yes, he did,” agreed Dad.

I paid close attention as he enlightened me on Grandpa’s suit. “When Dad (Grandpa) turned seventy (five years before I was born), he figured he didn’t have much longer to live, so he bought a suit to be buried in. It’s been sitting, unworn, in his closet for the past sixteen years.”

“And that’s the suit he wore today?” I asked.

“Since it’s the only suit he owns, yes,” answered Dad.

“And that’s what he’s going to wear when he dies?” I asked, for absolute clarification.

“I presume it still is,” said Dad.

“Wow.” I wished I’d had this information at the party. I’d have studied Grandpa’s suit much more closely.

Grandpa’s suit lay dormant for many more years. He lived to the ripe old age of ninety-four.

Lesson Learned: A multipurpose suit suited Grandpa just fine.

Related Stories: Chapter One: Grandma and Grandpa’s Farm; Chapter Two: Cheap Mowers

Now it’s your turn: What do you remember your grandparents wearing?

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. Elle Knowles says:

    When my grandmother was in the hospital at deaths door for three weeks one of her children came to stay and help and
    brought her funeral dress with her! One of the other aunts threw it out when Ida was out of danger and on the mend as she had forgotten to take it home with her. I guess she had just presumed death was at my grandmothers doorstep! Your post may me think of that.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Gee, Elle, I never gave any thought to what I’d be buried in. Guess I should give it some thought. My main worry was always that I’d end up with a horrible hair and makeup job.
      I’m glad your grandma’s dress didn’t need to get used.

  2. spunkybong says:

    Terrific piece as usual, Skinny. My Granddad was born in 1889 and passed on in 1963, when I was 8. Here we are, more than a century after they were born, still remembering them. 🙂

  3. parrillaturi says:

    Nice post. You have some good memories. Sadly, I never met my paternal grandma, and only saw my grandpa for about 10 minutes. He was a very famous musician, so, the only time I got to see him was in the entertainment section of the news paper. Never met my maternal grandpa, and the last time I got to see my grandma, I was just 12 years old. Through he years, I have often wondered what it would have been like, to have had such a relationship. I missed out. Blessings.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      That’s so sad, Parrillaturi. My maternal grandfather passed away when my mother was quite young, so I didn’t get to meet him.
      And not all grandparents are created equal, just like parents, etc. I was lucky to have had some wonderful ones.
      I hope you had a wealth of aunts and uncles.

  4. ksbeth says:

    oh how cool. what a precious memory. my grandmother, on my italian side, would wear rolled up stockings, and flowered house dresses. i thought she was magic.

  5. mikesteeden says:

    A very fine post. I’ve always like stories of things that are sometimes a tad absurd to some; common sense to others. I have an aged aunt who – for donkeys years I told – dons a brand new pair of big knickers every time she goes to the shops in case a bus runs her over and she is thereafter rushed to the hospital or the mortuary!

  6. Wonderful post, I relate as I have a dress that I refer to as my funeral dress, a generational thing…no doubt. AJM

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      That’s great, Writer Ann. I’m hoping your dress is for attending and not as the guest of honor.
      My two sisters are 9 and 15 1/2 years younger than me, so I assume I’ll be bidding fare-thee-well first. I’d like them to oversee my hair and makeup since they know what I like. But I think it would creep them out.
      I’m going to have to start designating a dress or top for the big event. As styles change while I keep hanging on, I’ll designate a new outfit. It will definitely have to be something comfortable, yet fashionable, while still suggesting that this silent hostess might be long in the tooth now, but was once considered hot. I better get shopping!

  7. C. Suresh says:

    As usual – a fabulous post, Mary – though nostalgic more than rib-tickling.

  8. My grandmother was always sharply dressed in a nice pantsuit and heels. She wore heels for so long that the muscles in her legs shortened, and she had to wear slippers or house shoes that had a heel in them. She wore a bright red one often, that I referred to as her tomato suit. The other grandmother had boxes & drawers full of material and buttons and trim, but never wore anything but a house dress because she never went anywhere. Her husband was the “pants all the way to the chest” type. But the one that really embarrassed me was my own father. Imagine: Orange golf shirt, red, black, and white Bermuda shorts, black socks with dirty sneakers. Yuck.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Rachel, you paint a vivid picture. I can see your grandparents and father now. My own mother made the fashion transgression of sticking a tissue or hankie inside her white ankle sock.
      We can only imagine what our own children and grandchildren will say about us!
      Thanks for stopping by and reading my little story.

  9. Creativ1 says:

    Great story as usual.
    I remember one of my Grandfathers (who was originally from New Orleans,La.) always wearing a classy hat with a feather on the side.
    For some reason I imagine that was a style he picked up from him having grown up in the South.
    He was a tall man, always dressed well. Either a nice dress shirt and pants or suit with gold cufflinks on (those you do not see anymore.)They were engraved with his nickname Moon.
    He was so cool. Drove too -when most of the other Grandparents of the time walked to where they were going.
    I can picture him now- always with that hat of his and always smoking a Bering Cigar.(Though looking back I wish he did not smoke.)
    My Grandmothers both wore those type of floral dresses that tied around the waist. Definitely 1960s style.
    My other Grandfather was more the white tee shirt and boxer shorts kind of man..but when he did dress up he always had a nice suit on, hanky in his pocket ..and strikingly handsome.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Creativ1, I love the nickname Moon. And his hat sounds wonderful.
      One of my favorite church hats that my Bochi wore had a pheasant feather flying back from it.
      My father is almost 87 and looks like a silver fox in his suits. Guys just don’t do that anymore, unless they are dragged to a wedding.
      Thanks for enjoying my ancient memories.

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