Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/The Iconic White Shirt

I like to begin the week on an upbeat note, but this morning, I'm sad. As a child, I always knew that my father's mother had been adopted. She wasn't adopted as an infant, so it was no secret. The earliest census that I have found shows her to be living with her adoptive parents at the age of 5. In the earliest picture I have of her, she looks to be possibly 3 or 4.

The story was that her biological mother died in a mental hospital. Now I know that the story was true. Yesterday afternoon, I found her death certificate, she was only 40 years old and it says that there was some type of damage to the brain as well as a gastric ulcer. Who wouldn't have an ulcer living in a mental hospital, especially in those days? Her name was Katie.

Even worse, the certificate says that she was divorced. As I researched her husband, I found that he had been married prior to their marriage and there were a number of children. What happened to this family? He then married Katie and had 4 children with her. What I have always thought was that due to the time frame of my grandmother being adopted, her mother may have suffered from postpartum depression. It was common in those days for women who suffered from postpartum to be placed in a mental institution.

Her 2 sons ended up in an orphanage in Houston where they were labeled "inmates." Children who were only 9 and 12 years of age labeled "inmates." The youngest of the 2 died when he was only 12. What could have happened to him? Quite honestly, I don't want to know. 

Katie died on November 10, 1928 and was buried on November 11th. Just thrown into a grave. Most likely, there was no one there to mourn her passing. Her husband married soon after their divorce and went on to have a number of children with his 3rd wife. He abandoned his family, and then just went on to have another. 

What shocked me was to find out that Katie is buried in Houston in a cemetery that while living in Houston, I drove by each and everyday. It was just blocks away from where I lived. 

Since this is still all so new to me, I am trying to process the information. When I was a child, my grandmother showed me a picture and told me that it was her biological mother. The woman in the picture was so pretty. Sadly, that image is most likely lost to time. But, Katie is now in my heart, no longer abandoned. On my next trip to Texas, I will visit her grave site, pay my respect and say thank you. She suffered greatly, but because of her, I am here and I have a lovely life that I share with a husband who would not abandon me if I lost my mind. 

I now need something beautiful to think about :)

When I was doing the research for last Monday's Inspiration post, I saw the Carolina Herrera white shirt collection. The white shirt is her signature garment and she wears it so very well. 

Carolina began doing a white shirt collection in 2013. I've attached the video below where she and her daughter talk about the collection. It's only a little over 3 minutes long, so not long and well worth the time spent.         

Below I've posted shirts from that collection. Take note of how well they would fit into a wardrobe today as they did in 2013. Truly timeless.

Love the sleeve below!

This is by far my favorite. Love the asymmetrical front tied neckline and the sweet sleeve treatment.

Since 2013, Carolina Herrera has been doing a collection dedicated to white shirts. You can see the 2017 collection HERE.   

I think that every wardrobe should include at least 3 white shirts, something with sleeves, maybe something with a small sleeve or sleeveless, and then just something funky and fun. At the moment, other than white t-shirts, I only have 1 in my wardrobe, and on a regular basis when I go to get dressed, I think about the other 2 white shirts that I REALLY need. Hmmm, wonder if I could make them? ;)))

The only issue with a white shirt is that it needs to be white. Sadly, this is not a garment that you can wear for years on end as they tend to become yellowed, or at least lose their vibrancy when washed repeatedly. So I would recommend dying the shirt after a season or 2 if you like the style and then making something new. 

Enjoy this last day of July.

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This


  1. Quick and to the point--I love white shirts, just not on me. I grew up in the 60's and 70's, wearing white shirts with sweaters, jumpers, wool skirts, etc.They were an ever present part of my wardrobe--and requirement for school and church programs--worn with a navy blue skirt, white socks or tights, and black patent leather mary janes. My mom was a homemaker and managed to keep them pristine white, ironed and starched. Occasionally, she ventured into baby blue, yellow and pink. Oh how she would fuss if we spilled tomato soup, mustard, or ketchup on them. Lol.

    Now onto your journey...Over twenty years ago, I adopted two daughters, blood siblings, when they were quite young. Last fall, they found their birth parents. Father, recently deceased, who dying words were to his older children, 'find your sisters'. He wanted to raise them, but their mom was mentally ill and a drug addict, and he and their mom, not married, lived in the same home. They were taken and placed for adoption. The girls met their biological mom and siblings through SnapChat (social media is fabulous--sometimes) and they were sorely disappointed. I think most adopted and foster children live with the fantasy that one day I'll find my real parents and live happily ever after. I'm so sorry that your biological great grandmother went through what she did. People did not understand nor were compassionate concerning post partum depression, even husbands. Mental health has come a long way. Taking that trip to Texas is a great way to bring closure. I wish you well on your journey.

    1. I think that my paternal grandmother always longed for her mother, the "if only." History has proven that she truly had the best outcome, loving parents that did the best they could for her. I'm so sorry that your daughters had to suffer all over again when they met their mother. But I hope the outcome has been a true appreciation for the life they have.

  2. Sorry to hear about your great-grandmother. Family history is fascinating, but it gets weirder and sometimes more tragic the deeper we dig. I recently learned that my great-grandmother died because of some really peculiar medical beliefs of my great-grandfather.

    These white shirts are so lovely. They are like a blank slate to show the intricate details of each design. I've decided not to wear stark white anymore, but I find that an ivory cotton sateen or silk shirt provides a similar dramatic effect.

    1. Thanks Katrina 😊 While this portion of my search was so heartbreaking, there have been ancesters who are just amazing, including a many times great-grandfather who was knighted by the king of England. I was even able to find a portrait of his daughter who is a many times great-grandmother and she is absolutely stunning. From everything I have been able to read about her, she was gracious, kind and loving. A nice offset to some of the heartbreak.

  3. Rhonda, what a sad history, poor Katie and all those children. I know that your visit will bring you a measure of closure.
    57 1/2 years ago my baby sister died at a few days old, unnamed and rarely ever mentioned (she doesn't even have a birth certificate. When I was 4 1/2 my twin sister died too, all I knew was she disappeared from my life never to be mentioned again.
    I'm 60 yrs old now and a dear friend is a local hospital chaplain. Tomorrow she will hold a rememberence service for my two sisters which I will attend with another friend. My twin had 3 names, Ayesha Jill Selena and I have named my baby sister Brielle Calli Grace.
    It may be many years after the event and I am the only living relative but they will be remembered as you are doing with your family.
    It is so good that mental health is more recognised today, but I believe each one of us needs to make sure it stays that way and not let this kind of history repeat itself.
    Have a joyeux week.

    Lucy ~ England

    1. Now I know why I felt lead to go ahead and share this today. I light a prayer candle every morning and tomorrow it will be lit for you and your 2 precious sisters. So I too will be there in spirit 😊

  4. Oh there is no doubt in my mind that you can't make those gorgeous white shirts! Come to think about it, my wardrobe is quite white shirtless! I really need to do something about this.

    1. Whenever I have use a safety pin to fasten something, or need a certain garment, my joke is that maybe I can find a seamstress to help me out 😉

  5. What a sorrowful tale. If only she could know that her story was told through a lovely great-granddaughter who cherishes her story and mourns her anguish. Maybe she does know.

    Re white shirts: I read once that a person should never wear a garment whiter than their teeth. Carolyn Herrera looks smashing in her shirts!

  6. Sending Light to you for the Highest Good of all Concerned. May there be peace and healing for you and yours.

    Thanks so much for all that you create, share, and teach. Those white shirts inspire!

  7. I think every family has a story like this, if you poke at it. My best friend's father never knew she existed, for example. Her grandfather lived in the barn.

    My mother swore me to promise never to look for her mother, who left when my mother was a year old. I broke my promise, but I did wait until my mother died in 1980 to do so. The Salvation Army has had a program to reunite families if BOTH parties inquire, btw. I had to wait for the internet to make any real progress. I was surprised by how much I found in the census reports, which led to specific state searches for records. A twentyfour hour membership in Ancestry.com was worth the money to get started in the right direction.

  8. Rhonda,

    I have been successful in rescuing white shirts from dull, graying, yellowing, pit-stained, ring-around-the-collar oblivion with OxyClean. Amazing results.

    My lone white shirt has French cuffs. The only problem is that I want to wear every pair of cufflinks with it at the same time!

    Every white, TRUE cotton T-shirt is snapped up at thrift stores: bateau neck, jewel neck, 3/4-length or long sleeves... amazing uses for white Ts.


    1. Okay Mrs. Dibble, I need some more information 😊 The OxyClean, what brand do you use, and is there something special that you do? I had tried it, albeit a number of years ago, but didn't have great results. Any info you can pass along will be greatly appreciated!

  9. Rhonda,
    Thank you so much, I didn't get this message until 9.30 in my evening and it made me smile.
    We had a beautiful memorial in a wild meadow with birds, bees and 5 different kinds of butterfly. The sun shone and there was such a sense of peace.
    I took 2 white roses for my sisters but I also took a spray of pale pink roses from the bush outside my flat. 6 flowers and twenty buds.
    When my sister's part was finished, my friend Lynda (the Chaplain) prayed for your Katie and all her children and family up to you. We sang "Abide with me" for Katy and left the pink roses in the meadow, beside the white roses. A note says "For Katy and her children, long ago gathered into God's loving presence. Remembered still here on earth and held close in hearts."
    I do hope that this is ok with you, it just felt right when I woke this morning.
    So to read of your lighting a candle and being with us in spirit made me smile.


    1. Oh Lucy, what an honor! Thank you for including my family and me in your lovely memorial service. And the pink roses, could not be sweeter or more perfect, especially since they came from your garden. I am going to make a special little card with the sentiment that you left for us as it's something I always want to remember. So very kind of you. Such a gift.

  10. Such a poignant post! Even though the story didn't have the happiest ending , you have chosen to keep the memories alive - a great way to honor your great grandmother 😘
    I always love your inspiration-white shirts so classic !

    1. Thanks MaryEllen 😊 Maybe there was a bit of a happy ending, I'm here 😊

  11. Rhonda,

    I was delighted to be able to include your family and I'm so glad you approve.
    Tuesday was a special gift of sunshine in days of rain. If you would like the next time we have sunshine I could take a photograph for you of the part of the meadow which is now for me "Aeysha, Brielle and Katy's Memory Place."
    My friends Lynda and Ellen gathered me a single one of each wild flower and grass (can't reach from my wheelchair) so that I can press them and make a picture to keep in my home. I'd love to do one for you if you would like?

  12. I am so sorry to hear of Katie and what a sad ending. I am so glad you are honoring her now and keeping her close to your heart.

  13. I'm sitting on my bed, Sunday evening and prepared to research the white shirt i absolutely need very badly and happened upon your very timely 'white shirt' post Rhonda, thanks once again for the fabulous inspiration. It has me launched into action. Thanks also for sharing your very sad story. The past was so cruel to women. My own mother - one of 6, recalls being sent to an orphanage for a time while her Mother was incarcerated at a 'sanitorium'. Speaking as an ex midwife, I'd guess postpartum depression also. Hopefully we've come a long way in the treatment of depression. Sending love and hugs across the world to you, Lesley

  14. I love the idea of those nice pure white tops...but have discovered that a pure white isn't a good look for my coloring - think 'deathly-ill' look. Now, if shades of turquoise were a neutral...�� I'd be good!

    -Jean Marie