Crazy Aunt Helen: Trouble on the Job!

A few Halloween’s ago Stella and Coco were invited to a costume party with the theme “dress as what you used to want to be when you grew up”.  Stella’s earliest ambition was to be a rich lady, an occupation that would combine her twin passions of getting dressed up and lying around all day doing nothing.  For the party she donned a black silk dress, a series of scarves, mountains of costume jewelery and high heels.  She turned and faced the mirror.  Staring back at her was  a once-wealthy bag lady who, having lost all of her assets and most of her sanity wears all her valuables at once in a desperate effort to impress the gilded, twinkling elegance of her former self on passersby.
Through this form speaks the voice of Crazy Aunt Helen, avatar of the dwindled prosperity of generations past.
Now in an attempt to bring this voice to the public,  launches our advice column. “ASK AUNT HELEN”.

Dear Aunt Helen,

My boss refuses to show me any respect. No matter how well I do, and how  much praise I get from other people in my office, she constantly undermines and disrespects me. Could she be threatened by me?  How can I deal with this without straining our relationship or making her more mad at me?

Troubled in Little Rock

Dear Troubled,

I don’t like this question.  What kind of woman is so obsessed with her job anyway? Hm?  Maybe you should put your energies into finding a husband and stop meddling in your supervisor’s personal affairs! Nobody likes an ambitious woman!

How’s about a nice question for the nice young ladies reading this?  Let’s see.  “Dear Aunt Helen: I have the Caucasians of Considerable Wealth Whist Club’s New Years Eve Dinner Dance to attend and haven’t a thing to wear! How can I look chic without spending a fortune in this unforgiving recession climate?”

Now I may have made that question up myself but it’s a good one and something I know a thing or two about!  When I was a girl during the Depression we were so poor my mother had to fashion brassieres for me and my sister Mamie out of  tuna fish cans and fishing wire.  It was  a little uncomfortable, sure, but the support kept us looking modest and we had a lovely oceanic scent about us at all times. So there’s a tip.

Another thing I like to do to save money without sacrificing style is to make jewelery out of  shiny objects I find around the house.  Why, right this moment I’m wearing my late husband Drederick’s dog tag chain strung with an assortment of canned cat food pull-tabs, paper clips,  a doorknob from the abandoned house next door and some gold reflective balls that someone left carelessly lying around hanging on a tree by the Church’s Nativity scene.

All that shine and it barely cost a dime!

Scarlett O’Hara really set an amazing precedent when she pulled those old drapes down and fashioned a handsome dress for herself which left her community none the wiser that she had fallen on hard times.  We’d all do well to take a page out of her book and take some material from around the house and fashion a snazzy dress out of it!  Few of us can boast the sewing skills Mammy had during the Antebellum South, but no matter. Simply take the coverlet from your bed and follow the following directions:

1.Cut out a hole in the center (head hole)

2. Cut out two holes further down on either side (arm-holes)

3. Place the garment over your head, slip the arms through the arm-holes and gaze at yourself in the mirror adoringly. You’re a vision in flannel

4.  You may want to add a brooch or a sash if your occasion is very fancy.(optional)

Another oft-neglected thing during hard times is makeup, but listen up!  Dire economic circumstances, no health insurance and questionable job-security are no excuse for letting yourself go.  With a little old-fashioned gumption you’ll find that corn starch and baking soda make very fine face powders and that the color your mouth gets from eating exclusively cherry Popsicles for 5 weeks is practically identical to Yves Saint Laurent’s “Rouge Volupte”.

Now that you are completely dazzling from head to toe, go out, have a marvelous New Year’s Eve, and remember, if a bearded man with glasses and a college degree asks you to dance, run screaming down the street and alert the authorities because he is most certainly a Communist.


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