Rain. All day today and tomorrow. So most likely no garaging this week. (A digression: have you noticed how accurate weather predictions have become? If the weather gadget on my google homepage says it's going to rain in two days, by gum it rains in two days.)
But last weekend I seemed to have so much to say that I had stuff left over. Wasn’t that fortuitous?
One of the leftover pieces has to do with dating vintage clothing. I knew it was cruel to mention that there’s a way to date clothing by the RN number on the tag and then not tell you how to do it. You can find quite a bit of information by googling something like ‘dating vintage clothing’ so I’m not going to give you all the history. Here’s the how-to:
RNs (Registered identification numbers) are issued by the FTC to clothing manufacturers. The first series ran from 1952 to 1959 and includes numbers 00101 to 04086. In 1959 they began with a new series of numbers starting with 13670. It's estimated that the average number of RNs issued per year is 2635. So here’s the math: subtract that first number (13670) from the RN on your piece of clothing, then divide by 2635 (the number per year issued). The result is the number of years after 1959 it was made. The RN on my sweater is 94209; so
94209-13670=80539; 80539 divided by 2635 = 30.56; 30 years after 1959 = 1989. Voila! I've used this formula with other pieces of vintage clothing and the results have always been close to what I estimated by the look and feel of the piece. So I think it works pretty well.
The other leftover piece from last week was the dogs I met. As I strolled up to a sale, these two little cuties were in the nose-sniffing stage of greeting a yellow lab.
Size matters not to dogs, it's all about attitude. Guess who was the dominant dog.
I petted them all. The lab was a rambunctious smoocher, and I had to explain to her that I do not French kiss dogs. Hardly ever. The Westie would have tried the same thing, but he was too short. The Scottie, Gwendolyn (sorry, forgot the others’ names) was a perfect lady. In a couple of minutes, off they went with their owners, continuing their walks.
A few blocks away I stopped at another sale and noticed another yellow lab being petted by a boy about 8 years old. Standing perfectly still and calm. Couldn’t be the same one I thought. But as soon as I got within petting reach, she just exploded with joy. More kissing. More leaping. It was indeed the same French kisser. Her owner kept saying something about her being so young still, which turned out to be two years old. Not exactly a pup. But that’s when I realized who she reminded me of…our dog Kate.
Kate was our second dog, after the Samoyed/pointer cross I brought to the marriage had left us. (There are worse dowries.) Kate was the most lovable maniac that ever lived. She was supposed to be mostly Springer, with a little Brittany thrown in; we never knew where she got her short hair. She loved everyone. LOVED everyone. People. Cats. Other dogs. Toads. An acquaintance with a crawling baby spent an evening with us once, and the whole time the baby crawled all over Kate. She sucked on Katie’s ears, and poked her eyes, and pulled her lips. The dog loved every second. The next day the mother called us and asked us to give her our dog for her child. We declined. More than once hunters tried to buy her from us, because she looked like she’d be the greatest hunting dog ever. And she did have the best nose, but the nose was all she cared about. She was the hardest dog to train I've ever encountered. At one point (after I realized dog training is something you can't necessarily learn from a book, which is a hard lesson for a librarian) I worked with a professional trainer to try to teach her to come, and the trainer said Kate was the hardest headed dog she’d ever seen.
But damn, that was one sweet dog. Everyone loved her back, and everyone kept telling us she’d settle down when she got a little older. Didn’t happen. She was as wildly enthusiastic at ten years as at ten months. It wasn’t until she was getting rather elderly, about twelve years old, that she finally slowed down a bit, and for her last two years she was really the perfect dog.
So I petted this yellow lab, and then she followed her owner down the street. And there they were at the next sale, and it was the same thing—an explosion of joy when she saw me. And it was just me. She wasn’t doing that with any of the other people around.
So I have to wonder, just a little bit, if my Katie got bored in heaven and came back as a sweet yellow lab. If she did, those people will have their hands full for about ten more years until she finally stops being a pup. But they’re going to enjoy every minute.