24 May 2012

The Muse: Uniforms

 'm lucky that as a teacher I've never had to wear a uniform, however all through high school I did. I can't say I ever really minded, because a) you could literally roll out of bed and get dressed b) all the fabrics were basically plastic so if you got wet walking between buildings you dried instantly because the water beaded up and rolled off and c) ever before I wore a uniform I used to be my mother to buy me clothes in the school uniform section. I'm still a sucker for plaid skirts and V-neck sweaters over an Oxford shirt, its sick I know but something about it just gets to you. Now confession, I have no outfit pictures from the graduation party I went to on Saturday, but the subject of uniforms was very much on topic that night so I thought I'd share a few photos regarding that topic.

First the graduation party was for the two sons of Michelle, who is the director of religious education at my church. I have taught with her as a catechist for the past few years, and last year we ate dinner together every Tuesday night. She is genuinely the one of the kindest, most loving woman I know and would do anything for you. A few years ago she survived brain cancer, and since then has embraced life in so many new and wonderful ways. Her family is very important and she, her husband Mike, and their sons have an extremely special relationship. Her oldest son Sean was graduating from Johnson and Wales while her younger son Shane was graduating from high school.
The beautiful Michelle (in the flowered top and white pants)
with her sons, Sean is on the right and Shane is on the left

Now for the uniforms, every person at the part got a wallet sized portrait of the boys she had done ( I took both versions, not only because I was one of the last to leave but they were so darn cute I just had to share them). Apparently neither was thrilled with the prospect until they saw the photographer, a twenty-something chick in hip-huggers and a belly shirt, then morale improved greatly. Far from being simply a formal portrait like a senior picture she had them photographed in their respective uniforms, for Sean his chef's smock and for Shane his mechanic's jumpsuit. Then they dueled with their chef knives and wrenches. Though the tools of our trade are important, clearly the clothing we wear is just as expressive, in fact it seems the clothes really do make the man.
Sr. Kathee, you can see her lapel pin on the left, don't let the pink fool you, she's a real nun!

The cake was make by one of the contestants on the show Cake Wars, I've
never seen it so I can't really elaborate further than that. The top was
Sean's with the Johnson and Wales crest and a chef's hat, inside was white
cake and chocolate chip cookie dough filling. The bottom was Shane's
obviously a tire with his wrench and wing nuts (before they hit Sr. Kathee)
The bottom was chocolate with mousse filling.
Then ironically one of the women started to tell a story about how afraid she was to travel alone, and Sister Kathee, our resident nun in shining armor at St. Mary's jumped in to tell about how she is viewed when she travels to her religious council meeting all around the world, particularly in Africa (where the bulk of her order, the Holy Union Sisters is based). Other than a cross lapel pin they don't wear any distinguishing markings, a disadvantage in places where women are scarce. We all suggested for such trips it might be time to take the old habit and wimple out of mothballs, safety before vanity. Like it or not people treat you differently as a religious when you in the habit or Roman collar, which in East Africa is a good thing. Given that she was in lay clothes at the party Shane had no shame in throwing one of the fondant nuts on the beautiful cake at her. How long in purgatory for throwing your nuts at a nun, I wonder?

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