Art, blog, History, Kansas City, Story, Uncategorized

1868, my house the trading post


Fashion in KC-Westlake

My favorite story, Little Women, is a novel by Louisa May Alcott. She lived between 1832 and 1888. In 1868 she published her book. The black and white movie version, made in 1949, was on T.V. the other night.

Inside the 1860s general store, preserves, sewing material, and winter coats are for sale. The matriarch of the family, working at the store, comforts an elderly customer. The audience is introduced to her four daughters. Jo, Beth, Margarete, and Megan. The girls are getting ready for Christmas.

Jo reads to an elder woman, Aunt Marge. In the background a dog and a parrot. Their father is off at war. Jo shows her disobedience as she tries to slip away when her aunt dozes off to sleep. Suddenly, the Aunt grabs Jo’s arm, and as she scolds, gives Jo a few dollars to spend for x-mas gifts then criticizes her for not cleaning the dusty bannister.

Another sister, Megan stands with a naughty sign in a classroom as school lets out. Ashamed and crying for drawing sketches during her English lesson. The tears convince the school master to  dismiss the incident without telling her mother. As she leaves school she taunts  her peers.

Hanna the maid, sets the table as the school girls are arriving home. As the girls cross their yard, they notice the young man living next door in the old man’s grand house. Once in their own house Beth greets them. Jo shares the money Aunt Marge has given them. Each distants themselves as the discuss what they will buy. The sisters want to buy according to their talents and likes.

Jo is a tom boy and almost a lady. Jo aspires to be a famous author. Her sister, Amy is a girl. Jo directs a play in the family parlor. She instructs her sister Amy to swoon. The girls giggle.

Mother arrives home. “”Mommy!” They greet her with kisses. She reads a letter from Father. He tells them he is proud of them. Each girl is encouraged; they want dearly, to be better, to please father in his absent. Mother leaves to fix tea and dinner. The girls make plans to best use the money from Aunt Marge, to buy mommy a gift.

After dinner mother and girls fold cloths near the fire. Later, Beth, afraid of people, is a gifted musician, plays the piano as the others sing a hymn like song. Mother then sends them off to bed.

In the morning, it is Christmas. Hanna the maid has breakfast ready. The girls have put together their money and bought a large bottle of cologne for mommy. Popovers and sausage delight the girls. The war has caused them poverty and such food was indeed a treat. However, Hanna remembers a time when the family was wealthier and food plentiful. She apologizes for not having more.

 

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