10. May 2013 · Comments Off on Dressing Down · Categories: N. Grail School Year, The Beast

My trunks are still on the floor of my room.  Whenever I have a little time, I sort out and put into one trunk the warm weather clothes I won’t need till next spring.  All my clothes are new.

My sister has done a marvelous job of putting together this wardrobe, which really is her idea of what a college girl should wear.    Going with classic and elegant, she said, you can’t go wrong.

But just for fun she threw in a ready-to-wear bright red wool jacket with whip stitching.  It has a warm yellow sun and happy palm trees embroidered on the back.  She said it was the latest fad.  It would be perfect for going with Juanita to an amusement park.

My sister kept a team of tailors, dressmakers and knitters busy for weeks.  I designed some of the clothes, just as I did for my paper dolls.  But it was my sister who made them real.   She saw to every detail so that everything fits me and is so comfortable to wear.

She suggested that we order a padded mandarin jacket for dressy occasions.   Wouldn’t that be smart and original?  I find Chinese high collars uncomfortable, so she had the tailor make a lower collar for me.  I chose a pearl grey silk satin with gold dragons.  It is my favorite jacket.

My sister gets the best of everything at unbelievable rock bottom prices.   She knows fabrics and cut and what each tailor is best at.  But most of all, she knows how to bargain.

At tea time we go to Dairy Farm and order their huge, preposterous ice cream sundaes.  I love to read aloud the elaborate descriptions on the menu and am always amazed when the waiter brings in what the chef dreamed up.

My sister and I have so much fun when we are in her world.

Oona comes into my room.  She is a staffer with an officious air.  She gets right down to business.

We need your camera for our missionaries, she says.  She picks it up and puts it on the other bed.

It is an expensive new camera in a leather case.  My uncle’s clients in Hong Kong gave me a farewell lunch and presented me with it.  I didn’t even use it on my voyage because my friends were better photographers and took lots of photos.

What?  She is not even asking, she is just taking the camera.  I feel shock and outrage, but I freeze.

Oona then goes to my trunks.   She sees the souvenirs that I bought in Japan.  She takes all of them and puts them next to my camera.  We need these for the Oriental Room, she said.  That is a room in this house that the staff uses to entertain guests.

She sees the six beautiful silk scrolls that Father Minelli asked me to bring.  They are scenes from the Gospels that Chinese artists have painted in original Chinese settings.  Father wants me to try to find buyers for his artists.

They are not mine, I explain.    Oona doesn’t care.   She takes them and all my souvenirs to the Oriental Room down the hall.

Oona returns.   She goes through my clothes.  She picks the red jacket first, and then all the dressy pieces and whatever else she wants and piles them high on the bed.  The whole time she is giving me a lecture on giving of myself.

Then she slings my camera on her shoulder, grabs the pile of clothes, and walks out the door.

It feels like a mugging.

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