It's All Uniform
The end of the Sixties decade created a metaphorical piñata
packed with counterculture, social revolution, libertine attitudes, recreational drug use, individual
freedom, and radicalism that would spill its contents into the seventies, eighties, nineties, and beyond.
Ironically, through all of the social upheaval conducted by the nonconformist generation, the 45 rpm spinning
the windmills of my mind is stuck on “uniforms” I remember during the Sixties. .
1. Back in the day when restaurant servers were called
waitresses and waiters, they were formally attired. Mainelli’s on Chalkstone Ave., Providence happened
to be one of the family restaurants we frequented. Except for girth and height, the waitresses were
indistinguishable, each attired in a black dress with a white scalloped half apron, ruffled cap, and white
support shoes. The waiters were clad in black trousers, white short-sleeved shirts, black bowties and turned
their heels in wing tip oxfords.
2. The nurses, all female back then, scurried up and down the
corridors at Rhode Island Hospital, starched in Casper white-- including the stiff cap bobby pinned to their
head. Their white stockinged legs made a
swishing sound as these nurses made their rounds.
3. The attendants at the Texaco station on Mineral Spring Ave.
where we always got gas and had our car serviced because my dad worked their part-time, wore coveralls with a
4. My father always left the house each morning wearing a
fresh set of work clothes consisting of navy trousers and a blue shirt with the company name on its
5. The milkman who delivered glass quarts of unhomogenized milk
to our milkbox standing sentinel outside the breezeway door, wore brown pants, a brown jacket and no
surprise-- a brown peaked cap. Let’s hear it
for the man from Monroe Dairy!
6. The soda jerk working the fountain at Marieville Pharmacy
wore a white short-sleeved shirt, bowtie, and a paper garrison or envelope cap.
7. All of us girls wore a regulation one-piece, blue gym suit
throughout junior and senior high. We would have received demerits if we didn’t file out of that locker room
like a chorus line.
Just as the pinata of the Sixties spilled its contents into
future decades, the uniform has maintained its impeccable formality the way it always has in certain segments
of society—the military, law enforcement, and private education to cite examples. Uniforms seem to project
dignity, neatness, and professionalism. Ralph Kramden put it so succinctly—“Alice, the reason you married me
was for my uniform!”
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