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Bob Lind, Published May 14 2012

Lind: Memories of fashion, one mom’s award

To be fashionably dressed years ago, a woman wore gloves.

That’s what a woman Neighbors recently wrote about said. Margaret Klinger, Oakes, N.D., agrees with her, both on the importance of gloves and of their disappearance.

In 1985, Margaret had a special reason to wear gloves. That’s when she was North Dakota’s Mother of the Year and was asked to participate in festivities marking the 50th anniversary of American Mothers Inc., the group behind the national observance. It would be held in the plush Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.

She was sent a letter telling her to wear white gloves to the event.

But that presented a problem. In 1985, Margaret found there were no white gloves to be had in Oakes or for miles around.

Well, three cheers for the ever-popular rummage sales.

She found a pair at a sale in Oakes that “were clean and hardly worn,” she says.

At the Waldorf, the women representing all of the states gathered in a room adjoining the ballroom, where they made their grand entrance.

“I looked around to see how all the others had fared on white gloves,” Margaret writes.

They had done well, she says: “There were full arm-length, button closed, short gloves, frilly or decorated gloves, crocheted, and even some that seemed to be gardening gloves, but all were white!”

The mothers were lined up alphabetically by state, each on the arm of a white-uniformed Coast Guardsman.

As each state’s name was called, the woman and her escort marched under an arch of swords.

Calling off the names was Willard Scott of NBC, who, when Margaret made her trek, announced that “North Dakota has the most sunny days in the nation.”

Margaret was led to a front table facing the women’s husbands and other relatives, including actor Tom Selleck, whose mother was California’s Mother of the Year.

“This (1985) may have been the last year for the wearing of the gloves,” Margaret speculates: “Except for formal occasions, they likely were out of fashion.”

There you have the memories of one of North Dakota’s Mothers of the Year, who, incidentally, now is 98.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com