Friday, February 12, 2016

Lucy Locket's Lost Pocket

An embroidered pocket on exhibit
at Colonial Williamsburg.

     I curtsied to my father, and thanked him for the birthday pennies. I then reached through the slit in my skirt and carefully placed the pennies into the linen pocket that hung underneath by strings tied around my waist. My cousin Hetty scorned the old-fashioned pocket, saying that all young ladies these days carried embroidered reticules on their wrists instead. But this old-fashioned pocket had belonged to my mother, whose name was Caroline. She had embroidered it with the words, “Carrie, Her Pocket” in the staggering stitches of a young girl. I would never trade it for a fashionable little wrist bag, especially when this cherished pocket might now hold what I needed to fulfill my greatest dream.
 – from A Buss from Lafayette, Copyright 2016 by Dorothea Jensen
     When I was a child, the “Lucy Locket Lost Her Pocket” nursery rhyme baffled me. How could someone lose a pocket?? Later I learned that pockets started out as items that were separate from clothing. They had strings that could be tied around the waist underneath a skirt, which had a slit in the side. The wearer could reach through the slit to reach the pocket. Lucy probably lost her pocket because the strings came untied or broke.
    I once played Lucy Lockit (not exactly the same but close) in Beggar’s Opera. I did not lose any pockets, but I did .lose the hero. To the soprano. As usual.