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Experience... is the best rule to walk by. --George Washington to John Parke Curtis, West Point, August 24, 1779

* SPRING 2003, Seattle
* WINTER 2003, Los Angeles
* FALL 2002, Las Vegas
WINTER 2002, Promotional:
“George Washington: A National Treasure” on Tour
Will the Real George W. Please Stand Up?
Pledge It Forward—Self to Service
Students in Pasadena, Texas Help Fund The Patriot Papers
Together, Museums Create Wall of Expression
A Blast From the Past
18th-Century Paradise Lost
In Other Words...

The Patriot Papers
print-friendly version WINTER 2002, PROMOTIONAL

Miss Faith Proctor

Miss Faith Proctor

18th-Century Paradise Lost
Faith’s Fashion Frenzy
—by j.k.pulles

Hi! My name is Rachel Proctor. I was raised in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts by Abigail and John Proctor, two very sensible people who believe in a life of simplicity and purity. For more than 200 years, we Proctors have preserved the ideals set forth by George Washington, our nation’s first President. It was not until my recent 18th birthday that I learned of the existence of my distant cousins in Washington, D.C. My parents decided it was time that one of us ventured into “big-city America” to see what advances had been made.

Meeting my aunt, uncle, and cousins was enormously exciting, and I was simply awestruck by all of the amazing inventions of the 21st century outside world. First and foremost in my thoughts, however, is my trip with my cousin Melody to the “mall.”

At Melody’s first mention of the mall, my heart pounded with fear. Mistaking the word for “maul,” I feared they planned to leave me in the forest to be attacked by wolves. Melody carefully explained that the mall was like a large market where tradesmen gathered to sell their wares. My fears allayed, we entered the maze.

I was shocked to see all the women in pants! The most popular pants seemed to be a very low-slung pair of dungarees called “hipsters.” I think they should be called “come hither misters,” for this will most certainly be the effect of wearing such pants. Looking down at my own ankle-length skirt and quilted petticoat, I reminded myself of the prudence of keeping some details hidden from young gentlemen.

We next came upon a shoe seller called Paidless. Over the door hung a sign that read “Buy One Get One Free.” Well obviously! One wouldn't get very far with only one shoe and no mate. This seemed to me a most unscrupulous vendor. Upon entering the store, I found none of the sturdy leather lace-up boots to which I am accustomed, but instead found boxes and boxes of large wedges of cork and wood with small straps of leather attached to the top. How uncomfortable and impractical! However would one walk to the well?

Leaving the shoe-seller, we entered a very large vendor called Gracy’s with many varied wares to sell. In the clothing area, my eyes fell upon a one-armed shirt! I asked Melody if this was another “buy one get one free” swindle, wherein the other sleeve would be supplied only after purchase. Melody explained to me that this was the way the shirt was supposed to look. And she thinks that I am na´ve! What good is a shirt with one arm? What a terrible sunburn one would have after working in the field all day. Glancing in a mirror at my own clothing, I was thankful for my high-collared blouse with two full sleeves.

Our next stop was at Linens, Loofas, & After, a vendor that sells toiletries. I was thoroughly shocked to find men and women browsing together! Hiding my shock, I began to peruse the soaps and finally had to ask the vendor where I could find the lye soap. She had never heard of lye soap! She said that she recommended the “cucumber-melon” soap. Cucumber melon? Why would a person put cucumbers and melons in their soap? How unsanitary!

Our final stop was a clothier called the Snap. Inside they sold many sheer, knee-length, belted nightgowns that women wore over their clothes. My cousin Melody told me they were called “dusters.” Obviously these are clothes only to be worn by maids. It is very strange that a vendor sells only clothing for one profession!

All in all I had a wonderful experience at the mall. However, I believe that in 200 years people’s sensibilities have regressed, for I saw the most impractical choices in dressing oneself. And still I wonder, with no blacksmith, who will shoe your horse while you shop?


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