Fall meant the start of school and the end of play. Mom would spend afternoons going through the latest Monkey Wards studying the styles and then giving hand-me-downs new life. Olive Fell, an artist friend who lived a secluded life on a hilltop up the river sometimes gave us boxes of once stylish dresses from her days of living in the East. These would be refashioned into dresses that looked like they came right from the catalog. Mom would also turn flour sacks into dresses on an old treadle Singer sewing machine that Daddy had rescued from the neighbor’s scrap pile. We each got a new pair of shoes, sometimes from town, sometimes from Monkey Wards catalog. The catalog not only served as a store, but also a window into the fashion world. Although, everything we wore was hand made, it was current with the latest trend. We were always the best dressed kids at school.
After the catalog’s days as a fashion guide, it was relegated to the outhouse where is continued to be useful.