Recently we attended an incredible concert at The Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. Lucky enough to enjoy the one and only Art Garfunkel, part nostalgic song, part story and verse, every word chosen with dedication and thought. All, an intimate glimpse into a legendary balladeers life. I wonder how long he will continue to give from his heart so much to his fans. I hope never to hear his sounds of silence.
The Pabst Theater is a gem in itself. Built in 1895 it wears the crown of the oldest theater in Milwaukee, gloriously ornate, gilded and outfitted appropriately with crystal chandelier, it is referred to as the "Grande Olde Lady.” It is the fourth-oldest continuously operating theater in the United States. I picture the concert goers of 100 years ago, gentlemen in top hats and long black woolen overcoats, women in satin and damask dresses bedecked with ribbons and lace, carrying a chatelaine bag holding her finest lace hanky and opera glasses. Of course she would not be without her fan, to hide her blush or send a beguiling message to an ardent fan.
It is with that image in mind that I enjoy dressing for a theater such as this. Undertoned compared to eras of the past, but total overkill compared to blue jeaned theater goers of today, I choose a long flowing skirt or dress, some nice jewelry, my best coat, a little nail polish and then, my Mother’s finest silk scarf.
It was her Christmas Eve scarf, the only time I remember her wearing it was to Christmas Midnight mass. When she wrapped that shining scarf around her neck she seemed different than my every day mom. She was regal. The soft cream and gold tones illuminated her warm complexion and dark brown eyes, the subtle pattern stately and noble. She looked proud. I felt special, pleased to be holding her hand.
I have no idea of it's history or where it came from, perhaps a treasured gift from my Father, deceased when I was three. Now, bittersweet as it is, the scarf is mine to wear with gentle memories and dignified appreciation. It isn’t very long, not meant to be wrapped in one of today’s multiple-sometimes-complicated knots. It simply rounds my neck and crosses ends over my heart. Invariably someone, often a generation younger than I, compliments this simplistic piece of beauty. I smile, and tell them with pride “it was my Mothers.” And sometimes, every once in a while, I too feel the resplendent charms of
an old silk scarf.