don’t get your panties in a knot (aka “fiddledeedee”)

Caught “Gone With the Wind” on one of the classic movie channels over Thanksgiving. Not all of the nearly-four hours, but enough to recall why it made such an impression on me as a 12-year old.

And I happened to tune in just as Mammy was lacing Scarlett into her corset which would go under the camisole which would go under the green gown that showed too much shoulder for a mid-day Southern social. People would talk, Mammy insisted. “Fiddledeedee!” replied our headstrong heroine.

The costumes caught my attention in a special way this time because I’d just read this:

It provides some highlights and lowdown on the unmentionables of the Civil War. Except that they were mentioned. And coveted. And gifted. And stolen. And killed for. And even worn on their own in some military parades, it seems. For me, well-researched pieces like this humanize the horrifics of that still-echoing war in ways equal to Matthew Brady’s photography.

But lest I get too grim on a Monday morning, I’ll also remember the underwear wisdom shared by my nephew Jeff during his first year of college: a roommate had advised each pair could be worn for four days. Frontside, backside, inside, outside.

A decade later, Jeff’s mother is still appalled.

And his aunt is on her way to do some laundry.


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