Thursday, March 26, 2009

NARFE Is Educational

My husband Jack seen here in the green shirt next to the U.S. flag is the new president of the Manassas Chapter of NARFE. NARFE stands for National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees and Jack with 32 years with the federal government qualifies to be a member. NARFE works to keep our organization strong and to be the one group that negotiates with the federal government concerning retirement and health care benefits. In these troubling economic times we need to work to maintain our current benefits. NARFE also provides educational and social programs for its members. Here are photos from our February and March meetings.

Note: spouses are invited to join and participate. In fact the current NARFE president, Margarite Baptiste, is the widow and spouse of a federal employee. Now look below.

At the February chapter meeting we got to meet a Portuguese water dog like Obama is getting for the White House daughters. This beautiful black dog has a large head and expressive eyes. His coat is similar to a poodle's coat and his feet are webbed like a Labrador retriever since this breed functions as water retrievers. We learned that the Oakland A's use Portuguese water dogs to retrieve stray baseballs from San Francisco Bay. And some golf clubs use these dogs to retrieve stray golf balls in the water.

Nice doggie. This one works as a social therapist by visiting senior centers and hospitals. Notice that the webbed feet are covered with fur.
Now look at those intelligent and expressive eyes. Doggie, do you want to go to the White House when one of your breed gets to move in with the Obamas this spring?
Now look below again. This photo was taken last week at our March NARFE meeting. This lady is the coordinator of arts and history at the anti-bellum Liberia Mansion in Manassas. She came in full anti-bellum regalia and spoke on women's anti-bellum fashions. She passed around a hoop skirt, a corset and a pair of pantaloons.
Who knew that anti-bellum pantaloons were more risque than a thong from Victoria's Secret? Today we see the sanitized version of pantaloons. Back then they had an opening for the world to see version of pantaloons: two legs held together by a string but nothing in the middle. Why???? So that when a lady went to the privy in her hoop skirt she didn't have to raise the hoop skirt over her head to use the privy. She just slipped the hoop over the privy hole and spread her legs and went. There was no material to mess up since they were designed ala open. (I just reread this. I hope nobody thinks I'm being nasty and pornographic. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm just stating the facts as I heard them from this history buff. ) Now who says history isn't fascinating.
Final note: this historian does not want to be called a Civil War reenactor. She is a college educated historian. She told us that she likes to see the old movie Gone With The Wind but cringes when she sees all the inaccurate things portrayed in the movie. For instance, Ladies did not where hoop skirt on long train journeys because they would be too uncomfortable for both themselves and the people squeezed into close quarters with them. And notice that in the photo she has her apron pinned to her dress. It was not customary for aprons to have shoulder straps or ties. By the way, the outfit she is wearing would be the dress of the house servant or slave. The first wife of the man who had Liberia Mansion built was from the famous Carter Clan of Virginia and she died from childbirth complications. We learned that back then women were required to wear a corset even when nine months pregnant. Two reasons women died from childbirth during these times: those corsets shifted their internal organs around to create that 18 inch waistline and that deemed them vulnerable to birthing complications. Plus back then it was considered unacceptable for a male doctor to touch a woman that was giving birth. That's why the midwife came to the home: they were in the middle taking medical advice from the doctor to relieve the suffering of the woman giving birth.


Anonymous said...

You know all of this information is really available on the Internet and we no longer have to depend on re-enactors to show us how it was. But I think they are what makes things interesting to learn. I knew a lot about the privy and what to wear to go to it. It was a big deal when long underwear, for men, and boys and girls and women, came with the rear end without buttons. It had a slit in the read that was in line with our bum crack. When you sat down on the hole of the privy the slit opened automatically. The older kinds with the buttons on the corners were the cause of lots of cases of dirty underwear when the kids and old folks couldn't reach around and unbutton the flap fast enough. It is hard to believe we wore those long underwear all winter or from the first frost to the last. And now and then, usually on a weekend, moms would wash them when she had all the other wash caught up.

judypatooote said...

Yikes to Abes comment.... I never heard of that dog, until the Obama's mentioned does look like a poodle....any dog is cute, even the ugly ones....