Granny's Birthday


Ellie Hall Keasler Baer

June 1 is a special day to me -remembering my dearest grandmother - Ellie Hall Keasler Baer - deep rooted in NC she is a loving woman who still means the world to me. I decided to use this picture because the dress has a story for me.

In the ninth grade at Piedmonth Jr. High School in Charlotte - I was thrilled and nervous to have a role in a musical-theatrical play for our Spring show. In the role I was made up with white powdered hair and long skirts to make me look like an old gypsy woman. A couple of costumes like that were easy to borrow - but an important black dress could not be found - until I remembered there was a favorite dress from Montaldo's Women's Store in Granny's closet. I was nervous when I went over and asked her if she would lend me "this special beautifuldress". She was quiet first. I watched her thinking about it - and then she said - 
"all right, Ellouise, you can use it if you promise you will be careful with my dress." I remember hugging her promising how careful I would be -- and I did bring it back in next day.




Finding More on a Memory
Last week I called the Carolina Room at the Main Library in Charlotte, NC where I always ask for research help and they were wonderful again. I came away with unexpected family history. From a 1937 city-information-book they found my maternal grandmother's Seventh Street address- along with her professional occupation - Manager of a Department at Montaldo's elegant women's clothing shop. I remember how she loved it there - and especially she loved packing for her yearly train trips to New York to select fine merchandise for the year. When I went to Montaldos to meet her I loved being drenched with wonderful perfume as I walked through the Tyron Street elegant entry. I remember the afternoon I stopped by to talk about the formal dress I needed . For Granny the reasonable solution was for her to help me try-on something beautiful --- that was perfect for me - to wear to the Junior/Senior dance at Central High School. Today was an afternoon filled with sweet memories.

  • I was surprised to find this pair of photos shown together, The photo on the left was taken by my husband in my "at home"art studio.. I am not sure of the absolute date but think it was probably in the mid 1980s, when I had completed my ERA job and had more time to work in the studio. The picture on the right was taken at American University when I performed my Pushing Boundaries feminist story. All these personal finds help me getting my story together.

    When people responded I added their comments to their comments:

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  • I remember the story you told of my Kilgore cousin that was, I think, a principal at one of the school's you attended in Charlotte at the luncheon we had at 1st Pres while you were at Stone Soup. I was sitting at the table with 3 of my cousins. We were blown away. You had walked around the church and noticed the Kilgore legacy within our church and added that story to your performance.
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