With a baby on her back, my paternal grandmother ran from Japanese soldiers who commanded that if she continued running, they would shoot. She was lucky to survive the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and much later, with the onset of the Cultural Revolution, she somehow managed to flee China and make a new life for herself and my grandfather in Fiji. I don’t know a lot about my grandparents. All I know is that neither spoke a word of English and both wanted to forget the hardship– never relaying stories of their history to their only son.
After a few years of my grandparents arriving in New Zealand, my grandfather passed away. I was about 7-years old. After that, life for my grandma seemed long and dark. I remember that she wasn’t good at throwing things away. She kept important things like family photos and documents, but also bits of string and old newspapers, along with boxes of crockery–some old and mended and some new. All of this amidst curios–throat lozenge tins and cigarette cases from the 1940’s, and one of my favourite finds was an old plastic camera which, when you looked through the view finder a different lady wearing a 1950’s bathing costume would appear each time you pushed a button.
On the odd occasion that my sisters and I might stay with our grandma, we had to share a bed. I’d lay awake transfixed by my grandma’s wind-up rooster clock– the chook’s head would bob up and down through the night, while the the fluorescent hands ticked -tocked around the clock, until I eventually fell asleep.
The one thing that I’ll never forget about my Grandmother was her obsession with pockets. Upon each visit she would inspect our attire and tug at our waists, asking my father where our pockets were. She would impress upon us the importance of pockets as a means to keep things safe, and every now and then she would sew us dresses with over-sized Peter Pan collars and the biggest pockets you can possibly imagine. They were substantial these pockets–a feature of the dress, and so deep that my small hands would be swallowed up if I dared to leave them in there for too long. She was right though. Pockets are useful, and when I’m without them I feel less secure, maybe even lost. It means that there’s nowhere for me to store my phone, debit card or i.Pod when I’m on the move, business cards get lost in the ether and loose buttons that I wanted to sew back on my shirt, somehow fall from my hands onto the roadside, never to be found again.
Yes, this is a long meandering way to go about making reference to the extremely large ‘feature’ pockets on this Cameo the Label White Sky top, but I was reminded of my grandmother, who I’m sure would have greatly approved of these ones….
Style File: Cameo the Label White Sky Top ,Washed Grey Skinny Jeans (similar), Owl Pendant from Swonderful in Wellington (similar), Beau Coops Kingsman Boots from here, (similar in black), Marc by Marc Jacobs silicon bracelet (similar in purple), Maymayking double sided print deer/ communist lady bag (gifted), Quay Eyewear BellPop Sunglasses in clear and black. Street art (Christchurch) by Askew One. Photography credit: Howard Sly.
Over the holiday break I’ve been thrashing these Beau Coops Kingsman boots. The colour is a little pinker than they look in the photos, but they’re actually a perfect, light-weight summer boot.The weather down South has also been pretty cold, so jeans have been my go-to, and my summer dresses have barely made it out of the suitcase. The black top is another new favourite –the pockets are HUGE and absolutely a major feature of the top, (just like the pockets on grandma’s home made dresses!). I think I’ll stick with earrings or a shorter necklace to wear with the top next time though, as this pendant kept getting stuck in the v-neck, although I like how it breaks up the black. Having packed limited items of jewellery, I just had to make do!
Have a great week!