Pikes Peak High ©1997 by Janet Brugos Mixed Media private collection

I have noticed that a particular word often invokes a whole scene. That scene could be from childhood or from a different period in my life.


I see stripes everywhere. Rain running down a window pane, shadows elongating in a courtyard. Streams of water running down high mountains as in Pikes Peak High and in Ice Stripes.

Ice Stripes ©2020 Mixed Media by Janet Brugos collection the artist

Non conforming or eccentric:

Invokes how I came to be that way. My mother was a force to be reckoned with. We all loved her. That is my father, my brother, my sister and I plus many friends. My mother would suggest to me from an early age on what I should wear, how I should behave and what manners I should exhibit. Either table manners or how to meet a person. I always listened. I never did anything outrageous but I do remember one day when I was about ten, my mother asking me how many colors was I wearing. I think it was 13. I had plaid pants and a different plaid shirt. She let me leave without changing clothes. However that did make an impression on me. I always dressed for comfort but also counted the colors.

My father worked in the banking industry. From my earliest memories, he always wore a suit, a white shirt and a tie plus a hat. My mother often drove him to a train station in Chicago as he always tended to run late. There were occasions when he walked the five blocks to the 47th Street IC station in Chicago. Over the years he wore a number of hats but they were all rather similar–light colored straw with a black band.

Jacket from Guatemala worn by Harry Thomson in 1970s

When my father retired (early due to a medical condition) his manner of dress changed dramatically. I don’t recall him wearing a hat after that time. He grew a beard which was a bit scruffy–he would have been in style in the 21st century. When I think of him, I see him wearing his favorite jacket from Guatemala in black fabric with embroidered with colorful designs.

In a recent discussion with my East Coast daughter, she told me that she takes after me in the concept of how to dress. I wear what I want to wear even if that is not in style. I always loved to dress in costume. In my many years associated with the Esperanto Organization, their annual world conferences had an occasion where people would wear their native clothes. I always felt I could not dress as a Native American as I do not have the right DNA. That event was always one of my favorites seeing lovely Japanese Kimonos, Eastern Block nations wearing their “elf shoes” with curled toes and then the colorful dresses with shawls and aprons of many of the Europeans. I told my daughter that the concept to wear what I wanted was inherited from my father.

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