Week 30: #52 Ancestors – Colorful
By Eilene Lyon
This is not really a story about an ancestor, just a bit of family history. My father was an Army officer for about 20 years, and one of his “overseas” assignments was a 3 ½ year stay in Guatemala. This was in the 1970s and I was entering my teen years at the time.
One thing you can say about native Guatemalans is that they have colorful apparel! My mother bought a ton of Guatemalan fabric and sewed some of our clothes from it. Since I don’t do much work with textiles, I recently gave a friend who does a large stack of beautiful, patterned, hand-woven cloth, some with metallic thread undulating through it. I regret I didn’t photograph the pieces first.
Each native village has its own particular style, weave, color palette, dye pattern, etc. Women’s tops are called huipiles (pronounced wee-peal-ays). Here are two that I still have in my possession.
I believe both of these are from Santa Maria de Jesús. Certainly the top one is.
I borrowed this chartreuse dress from my mother for a formal dance, and the gold sandals!
It’s a little difficult to see, but check out the colorful, rainbow-hued jumpsuit my little brother is wearing – that’s a Mom original. Hey, it was the 70s. Jumpsuits were the rage. Taken in our colorful front yard in Guatemala City. That’s our shepherd, Taurus Bulba. Loved that dog!
Another Mom original (Me!) – well, really, the cobalt housecoat. My brothers and I were not happy to be dragged out of bed early in the morning so Dad could take our picture before he left us for several months. That’s my grandma, Reatha Halse, equally thrilled, in the background. Oh yes, and what later became my first car, a 1974 Vega.
Another one of my holdovers from those crazy days. Quetzal birds are a Guatemalan icon on this forest-green shirt.
Singing was always a big deal, especially church cantatas and Christmas holidays. Here’s a group of women from church singing Christmas music in their scarlet Guatemalan dresses. Mom is on the guitar.
Of course, Guatemalans wear it well. Threshing time.
Feature image: Guatemalan market, possibly Chichicastenango, taken by Dad.