Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Pinkstaff Sisters Part 3

The Pinkstaf sisters continued:

An identification marking the Pinkstaff sisters  where ever they went, was the high topped shoes, long flowing skirts often of solid black but occasionally of colored or flowered gingham  or calico with full waists  and bosoms. Pleats and tucks were worked into the design of the dresses. They did all their own sewing in patterns of a long outgrown mode.
Underneath garments were of cotton and several underskirts were worn at one time. Silk hose were rarely if ever worn.
The only head dress worn was the bonnet, with stiff starched sides or ribs, to make them stand out and shade the face in summer and protect from the wind in winter. In cold weather a scarf was wrapped around the ears and neck on the outside of the bonnet.
Each spinster carried an individual purse on shopping trips to Lawrenceville or Vincennes. The purse was carried in a pocket sewed in the first underskirt. When working in the field they sometimes wore overalls.
Not until 1929 did the Pinkstaff sisters go modern and then only to the extent of purchasing  a Ford car yet in use, but the speedometer showing only 7788 miles in six years.
A Lawrenceville automobile salesman, Thomas Phillippi, hit upon the idea of selling them the car. They complained that cars crowded their team off the pavement and by-roads. He found they were willing to buy on the condition that one of them be taught to drive.
The salesman failed to teach any of them the art of driving but they finally enlisted the aid of  a grand-nephew  Keeford Pinkstaff, whom the sisters thought was the “World’s best driver.” The nephew spent a week with them and taught Clara Ann to drive.
Only on the longer trips was the car used. But even then the back roads were kept to as much as possible. The main business sections of Lawrenceville and Vincennes were just too hazardous for their travel.
Lunch at the A & P Store
An incident occurring last spring (1935) illustrates the fact that the “girls” never deviated from customs and habits of long ago. While shopping in Lawrenceville they went into the A & P store and purchased lunch meats and crackers. They then asked for water. When this was provided they sat down in the store and ate lunch much to the surprise of the manager of the store.
When a purchase was agreed upon while shopping, the merchant was often surprised when the outer skirt was pulled up to enable the spinster to get at the pocket containing the purse. The action was of no concern to the spinsters however.
The sisters helped maintain the East Pinkstaff United Methodist Church and attended as much as possible, but were not members there.
 Mary Ann is left alone  
It was the custom in the home that the sister that might be ailing (this in later years) would be comforted by sleeping with one of the others.
The two sisters,  Susie Ann and Clara Ann, were lying side by side when death snatched away the youngest. She lay a corpse by the side of the sister who had given her advice for many years. It was a comfort to Susie Ann in her last hours to be near the body of Clara Ann, even though her spirit had gone.
In the cemetery in East Pinkstaff, in the family lot, the grave of  Clara Ann is first, followed in order by the father, the mother, Susie Ann and Martha Ann. It was the request of Susie Ann that she be buried by the side of her mother. (The rest of the story will be told tomorrow)