Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Author: jackikellum (page 1 of 26)

Will The Circle Be Unbroken? Remembering My South and My Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority at Ole Miss

When I was a kid, I HATED country music. Nonetheless, every morning before dawn, my dad would blast country music from the kitchen radio. I despised country music, and I hated waking up to it. I could almost say that I hated my dad for invading my morning tranquility with his cacophonous musical preference. Oddly, life has brought me almost full circle now, and it has softened me and enlightened me and changed me. I rather like country music now, and I love the fact that I grew up in the rural South, which is the place out of which Country Music is extracted.  I’d give anything to be awakened by my dad’s blasting Mother Maybelle Carter from my kitchen once more, and I absolutely LOVE Iris DeMent’s version of Will the Circle be Unbroken? I like the tune now. I like the singing, the musicians, and the message. I like everything about this song. It is a music that resonates within my bones now. This song is home now, and I appreciate the fact that I have begun to reap the harvest of the seeds that  God planted in the mud of my childhood, which is the same soil from which country music is distilled. And I am thankful that I have been granted the peace of understanding that the memories and the relationships of our youths are the experiences that become the framework for who we become.

When I was 18,  I left my childhood home in the Bootheel of Southeast Missouri, and since that time, I have only visited the area a few times.

When I was 18, I moved to Mississippi, and I lived there for almost four decades. I attended college at Ole Miss, and I was in the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma. Life has changed since 1968, but when I was at the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss truly was the heart of Dixie.  When I hear the Hastings Choir sing Dixie, I weep. I do wish that I was still in the land of the cotton of Ole Miss in 1968, but that Dixie is gone now.

When I was at Ole Miss, I lived in the Kappa Kappa Gamma House with a host of other girls. It was like living at Tara. We had a large dining room in our house, and a staff of cooks prepared our meals, which were served on China. We ate with silver. Our meals were served by House Boys. That was another time. Life was soft and genteel then.

Image result for sheraton peabody memphis

My freshman year, I went to the OIe Miss- Memphis State game with a Phi Delt, and we stayed at the Sheraton Peabody Hotel. Before the game, there was a pep rally in the foyer of the hotel, and Ole Miss Rebels were hanging off of the balconies and chanting. After the pep rally, I got on the elevator with my date and about 500 other Phi Delts. All of the Phi Delts were singing and chanting their fraternity song. Every time that they stomped the floor, the elevator skipped a floor or two. I was the only person sober in Memphis that day. I had come from a country home and had not learned to drink yet. I believe that I am the only person on the elevator who knew that it was about to snap its cord, and I was scared to death. Life has always scared me. At the very least, it has always taken my breath, but I have survived, and because God gave me the gift of feeling, I have fully experienced everything that has happened to me. I remember. My Phi Delt friend and I shared stories, and he told me that his father was a planter. My jaw dropped. He came from the Mississippi River Delta of the state of Mississippi. I came from the Mississippi River Delta of Southeast Missouri–a couple of hundred miles North and still a million miles away. In Missouri, there are no planters. Farmers grow the cotton there, and that is only the tip of the iceberg which distinguishes Missouri from Mississippi. But I am part of all that I have met, and both Missouri and Mississippi are home to me now.

While I was living in the Kappa House, I played guitar and sang with a little group that we called the Kappa pickers. It was a fun time–a special time. This past weekend, my sorority sister and roommate from the Kappa House visited me. We had not seen each other for 47 years. Neither of us is still 18, but half a century later, we partied hard and made up for the years of friendship that we have deprived ourselves of. We spent a night in Atlantic City and ended the weekend at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia. My friend flew over 1,000 miles to visit me. We have followed different paths since 1972, but time cannot erase the commonality of the lives that we shared as youths in college. At one point, my friend leaned over and sang a bar of an old Kappa song: Remember the Kappa Gamma. This morning, I tried to find that song on Youtube, but I don’t think that Kappas sing that song anymore. They didn’t know the Kappa Gamma of 1968-1972. They never knew the Mississippi of that time either. It hurts me that in our rushes to try to “fix” the inequities and the racism of the Old South, statues are being torn down, and life as it once was is being eradicated. As I watch the statues fall, part of my soul falls with them.

I live in the Northeast now, and I try to explain how it hurts me that people are whittling away at my Old South. In many ways, I am a liberal or I would not live in the North. But it hurts me to watch people as they try to destroy centuries of history–simply because one interest group or another is offended. Where does that campaign end? Some people simply love to be offended. They love having an ax to grind, and I believe that after we the offenders have given away our souls, we will realize that we did it for nothing. The offended will find something else that causes them offense–or some other reason to play the victim. Some people enjoy playing the victim, and that will never change.

One of my friends from back home put a comic on Facebook that captures the ludicrousness of trying to end bigotry by erasing and eradicating any allusions to the past. I am not a bigot, but I don’t want my Southern heritage destroyed. The destruction will not fix anyone’s feelings of inadequacy. It will only destroy my home.

Today. I find myself singing old songs. Please, let the Circles be Unbroken. Cherish the friendships of your youth. They speak volumes about who you will always be. Cherish your homeland. I respect other peoples’ rights to love and remember their homelands, and I only ask that others allow me that same privilege. As we grow older and older, we need to be able to recall our pasts. Our past is the soft feather bed where we rest our souls.

Ode to Grandma's Feather Bed

Ode to Grandma’s Feather Bed by Jacki Kellum

Ode to Grandma’s Feather Bed
by Jacki Kellum

Like Great Aunt Edith’s too-long grip-
Too soft, too close, too tight,
You took me on a feather trip,
That lasted through the night.

Rollercoaster up and down,
Hot and sweaty through the down,
Carried me to slumber town,
And rocked me there,
Til dawn.
©Jacki Kellum October 8, 2015


©Jacki Kellum October 23, 2017


Jacki Kellum Announces Beginning Cartooning Class Wednesdays at 3:30

This week, an 8-year-old boy took his first-ever art class with me. For his class, we began by learning to draw basic cartoon heads and by placing guidelines to help accurately place the features.

Whether you want to draw cartoon faces, fashion models, or more realistic portraits, the first step is that of learning how to place guidelines and then by drawing the facial features according to those lines,and cartooning is a great way to learn how to draw any kind of face.

Jacki Kellum Pencil Drawing of a Dog

Even when I drew the dog’s head, I began by drawing simple shapes and by adding guidelines to help place the features.



Week 1:  Draw Cartoons Facing Front

On the first day of class, my new student drew 2 of the cartoons from the following sheet, and he drew an alien and shaded it with colored pencils :

During Lesson 2, the Students will learn how to draw Angry Bird and to color-shade him with Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Classes, the Students Will Learn How to Draw and Color-Shade Cartoon Halloween Figures.

The students will be drawing with pencil and paper some figures that Jacki designed and created with Photoshop. The will be taught to color-shade the figures with Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

In order to draw the witch, the students will learn to draw patterns and will learn to draw with radiating lines.

In November, the Students Will Learn to Draw A Simple Turkey and an Owl with Radiating Lines.

They Will Also Begin Drawing and Shading Turning Heads and Bodies.

The students will draw and color-shade Sponge Bob and Angry Bird in 3-d, using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

Next, the Students Will Learn How to Add Emotions to Their Faces.

By December or January, the Students Will Begin Drawing in 3-D, Shading, and Color-Shading with Colored Pencils More Complex Forms From Mark Kistler’s Book Imagination Station.

By spring, the class will be ready to learn to draw houses in 3-d, and I want them to learn how to architecturally draw some simple, little bird houses and to actually build them and paint them in class.

Jacki Kellum Cartooning Class Wednesdays at 3:30

We have set Wednesdays at 3:30 as the class time for this beginning cartooning and drawing class, and I can accept 3 or 4 more students in that class.  If 4 children are in the class, the cost of the class is $20 per hour, and if 2 or 3 children are in the class, the cost of the class is $25 per hour. If a two siblings take group classes, the cost of the second sibling’s class is reduced 20%.  If any 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grader wants to join the Wednesday at 3:30 class, beginning this Wednesday, October 4, 2017, they need to meet with me this weekend and to catch up with the student who has already begun.If you want to arrange your own group of 4 call Jacki to set up a time.

609-204-9528 Call or text Jacki Kellum now to get into a fall art class and to learn how to Draw Simple Cartoons. Email: jackikellum@gmail.com

Prices for Art Classes with Jacki Kellum:

  • The cost of a private class is $30 per hour

  • The cost of a semi-private class is $25 per hour

  • The cost of a class with 4 – 6 students is $20 per hour. Classes Are Limited to  6 Students

  • If siblings take group classes, the second sibling’s tuition is reduced 20%

Jacki Kellum has 3 Masters Degrees and while she was teaching art in schools, she was named National Teacher of the Year.

©Jacki Kellum September 29, 2017

Launch A Writers Group – Build It They Will Come

Almost two years ago, I began teaching a writing class on Thursday mornings, and because of that, Thursday has become one of the best days of my week. When I agreed to teach the class, I had very few good expectations of the assembly. In fact, I thought that a couple of unmotivated people would probably begin the class and quit a week or so later, and that did happen. But several other people also joined the group, and those members have proven to be inspiring as human beings, as well as good writers. Somewhere along the way, the lines became blurred, and I am no longer teaching a class. I am merely the facilitator of a group of well-honed writers. I decided that it was time to take the writing class to another level.

For at least a year, I have been encouraging my fellow writers to start a WordPress blog site and to begin making their writings more public, but none of them seem to be interested in blogging. I decided that I would launch an official writers group blog in the form of a literary journal, and today, I am excited to make official both the New Jersey Shore Writers Group, and to announce the launching of its official literary journal: The Sand Castle Review Here

I am not sure of the Sand Castle Review’s publishing schedule yet. The endeavor is new. In fact, there is still only one post on the site, but it is an excellent one and it expresses many things about my hope for my newly formed writers group and for the future of its journal.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost: that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau

In some ways, it might seem pretentious to simply assume that my writing associates and I are worthy of the distinction of calling ourselves a writing group but in a Build-It-They-Will-Come-Way, I feel very good about moving to a higher rung on the ladder. As I said before, I am no longer the teacher of my group, I am only the facilitator, and the rich reward of having begun teaching my writing class is that I have learned about the beauty of association. My band of fellow writers and I have moved beyond the status of class and teacher, we have become a group of tight-knit friends who meet once a week and encourage each other about all of our individual endeavors. In a prophylactic way, we are a unit of group therapy. We support each other and lift each other up. I encourage everyone to find a writers group to join, and if you cannot find one, start one. Build It, They Will Come.

©Jacki Kellum September 28, 2017


Albert Einstein Quotes

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

“For it is intuition that improves the world, not just following a trodden path of thought.” – Albert Einstein

“Intuition is the father of new knowledge, while empiricism is nothing but an accumulation of old knowledge. Intuition, not intellect, is the ‘open sesame’ of yourself.” – Einstein

“Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity. Intuition tells man his purpose in this life.” – Einstein

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

“A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”  – Albert Einstein

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”  – Albert Einstein

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.” – Albert Einstein

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” – Albert Einstein

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Albert Einstein

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

“I  have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”  – Albert Einstein

“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” – Albert Einstein

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign? If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” – Albert Einstein

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Albert Einstein

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” – Albert Einstein

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.” – Albert Einstein

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” -Einstein

“Imagination is the highest form of research.” –Einstein

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

“Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.”

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Einstein

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.” – Albert Einstein

“Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.” – Albert Einstein

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” -Einstein

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” -Einstein

“The only sure way to avoid making mistakes is to have no new ideas.” – Albert Einstein

“The secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” – Albert Einstein

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” – Albert Einstein

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

“You never fail until you stop trying.” -Albert Einstein


Cinderella Tales Told Around the World – Multicultural Cinderella

There are hundreds of versions of the Cinderella story, and it is believed that the tale may have originated in the 9th Century and that it was called  “Yeh-Shen.”



The Egyptian version of Cinderella begins:

“Long ago, in the land of Egypt, where the green Nile River widens to meet the blue sea, there lived a maiden called Rhodopis. When she was still a small child, Rhodopis had been stolen by pirates. She was snatched from her home in Greece, taken across the sea to Egypt, and there sold as a slave.”

In the West African Cinderella, the heroine is called Chinye.

“Long ago, there lived a girl called Chinye. Her mother and father were dead, so she lived with her stepmother Nkechi and her stepsister Adanma. Every day Nkechi made Chinye do all the work and sent her back and forth through the forest to fetch water. Chinye was a quiet, obedient girl, and she worked as hard as she could to please Nkechi. She got no help from Adanma, who was spoilt and lazy.”

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is another African version of Cinderella.

In an Algonquin Native American Cinderella, the heroine is called Rough-Face.

The Ojibwa Native American Cinderella is called Sootface.

The Mexican Cinderella is Adelita

In one of the Korean Cinderella stories, the heroine is called Pear Blossom.

Jouanah Is Another Asian Hmong Cinderella.

Princess Furball is a European Cinderella


Learn to Draw, Shade, & Paint a Simple Forest at Jacki Kellum Studios

One of the first things that I teach new students is how to draw and shade in color. I use Prismacolor Premiere or professional colored pencils to teach shading in color, and after a student grasps that simple concept, painting is a cinch.

Michelangelo said: Painting is Colored Drawing

I begin to teach shading with simple exercises, and with younger kids, I use Mark Kistler’s book Imagination Station.

On the first day of class, the students will draw and shade this furry creature with pencil.


During the second class, we’ll draw the Knight that is comprised of shaded spheres and cylinders.

Drawing trees is nothing more than drawing cylinders, pyramids, and spheres, and shading trees is no more difficult than shading the Knight of the Drawing Table.

This is the first class group of classes for the Jacki Kellum Create a Magical Kingdom Series.

Session Two of the Jacki Kellum Create A Magical Kingdom Series: Draw, Shade, and Paint a Cottage for the Kingdom.

In the second session, students will be taught how to draw houses in perspective.



In Session 3, the students will draw and paint a castle.

Each session will require about 6 weeks of study.

The cost for private study with Jacki Kellum is $30 per hour. For classes with 4 students, the cost is $20 per hour per student.

For more information or to reserve a spot in one of these classes, call Jacki Kellum at 609-204-9528

©Jacki Kellum September 24, 2017

Pamper Yourself with Photoshop – Learn to Make Art with Photoshop at Jacki Kellum Studios

Many people believe that Photoshop is merely a software tool for editing photographs, but Photoshop is a powerful drawing and painting tool, too, and it is the only Adobe product that you can be leased for $9.95 per month.

Photoshop is a highly sophisticated program, and anyone can learn to create an amazing array of visual effects with it. An experienced designer can learn to combine images and to remove undesirable objects from a photo.

 An experienced designer can learn to combine images and to remove undesirable objects from a photo.

 Both adults and kids can learn to use Photoshop to jazz up posters, websites, Etsy shops, and Pinterest pages.

I have several blog sites, a Pinterest page, and a Youtube channel, and to improve those sites, I use Photoshop several times every day.

But I also use Photoshop to create images.

I created all of these Halloween images with Photoshop shape tools and by manipulating the color palettes in the program.

Learning to draw with paper and pencil is learning to put shapes and lines together, and drawing with Photoshop is exactly the same thing.

Because the art workplace is becoming more and more a matter of digital design [learning to use Photoshop and Illlustrator], I recommend that children begin learning to use Photoshop very early. Photoshop is a way to learn to see more visually.

Photoshop is also a way to learn to think more creatively and to learn creative problem-solving.

Photoshop is a computer program, and it is yet another way to increase one’s computer performance, but it is also a valid way of making art.

At Jacki Kellum Studios, I am offering private classes in Photoshop. After a month of classes, I recommend that my students subscribe to Photoshop so that they can practice at home. I’ll provide plenty of homework suggestions for my students.

If you buy Photoshop in a package that includes all the other Adobe products, like Illustrator and the rest of the crew, the cost is $49.95 per month. And all of the other products can be leased individually for $19.95 per month. At least for the time being, Adobe has reduced the cost of the Photoshop software to $9.95, and I believe that they did that to help people realize how easy it is to learn how to use Adobe software and to also learn how invaluable the Adobe products are.

Call me today, and begin loving to learn to create in a digital way.

©Jacki Kellum September 24, 2017

Movie and a Book Club Selections for 2017 – 2018

I lead a Book and Movie Club that meets once a month. In this post, I am sharing the selections for 2017 and 2018. I create some fairly extensive reading guides, quotes, and book club questions. Anyone who is interested can join free. If you will send me your email address, I’ll email you the notes for each book-movie selection, and you can participate here and through my youtube channel.

Jacki Kellum Movie and a Book Club List

September 2017 – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Book by Truman Capote

October 2017 – Something Wicked This Way Comes
Book and Screenplay by Ray Bradbury

During 2017, the group read some lengthy and very adult books, but during the latter part of 2017 and during part of 2018, we’ll be reading some books that were written for little people but that have great big heart.

Image result for legend of sleepy hollow arthur rackham

November 2017 – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Book by Washington Irving

I’ll also present a detailed slide presentation and discussion of Arthur Rackham’s illustrations–especially those that he did forThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow

December 2017 – The Gift of the Magi
Book by O. Henry

January 2018 – The Giver
Book by Lois Lowry

February 2018 – The Good Earth
Book by Pearl S. Buck

March 2018 – Angela’s Ashes
Book by Frank McCourt

April 2018 – Boardwalk Empire
Book by Nelson Johnson

May 2018 – The Midnight Garden of Good and Evil
Book by John Berendt

Image result for fight club movie

June 2018 – Fight Club
Book by Chuck Palahniuk

July 2018 – John Adams
Book by David McCullough

August 2018 – The Grass Harp 
Book by Truman Capote

September 2018 – To Kill a Mockingbird
Book by Harper Lee

October 2018 – The Scarlet Letter
Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne

November 2018 – Elmer Gantry
Book by Sinclair Lewis

December 2018 – A Christmas Story
Book by Jean Shepherd

January 2019 – The Nun’s Story
Book by Kathryn Hulme



Leaf Watching Dates for the Poconos Mountains – Photos of Autumn

Bushkill Falls is one of the bezillion waterfalls in the Poconos, and that entire region is about to explode into its annual display of fall color. Every year, I post all of the latest info about the leaf changes on my blog, and since the whole thing is just beginning to unfold, I’ll begin to share what I have discovered about Leaf Watching in the Poconos.

Poconos Leaf Report for September 21, 2017

Only part of Pennsylvania is comprised of the Pocono Mountain Region;


On a map made in 1749, the Poconos region is labeled as the Land of Endless Mountains.


If you study the entire map carefully, you will see that the Poconos’ Endless Mountains are in Pennsylvania, and they begin less than an hour above Philadelphia, and near the top of the state.

Resica Falls Is Near Bushkill Falls

Bushkill Falls is in the northern part of Pennsylvania, but there are waterfalls all along the Delaware River from the Lehigh Valley and North. As the map says, this is the Land of Endless Mountains and on the East Coast, when the mountains are endless, the waterfalls are, too.

For the purposes of leaf changing dates, the Poconos is divided into three parts. A continuously updating map and fall foliage report is at the following Poconos Mountains site Here  

The fall foliage report is also available by calling 570-421-5565.

The Northern parts of the Poconos will be in peak color on October 16, 2017.

The Central and Southern parts of the Poconos will be in peak color between October 14-20.


Hickory Run Park is in White Haven, Pennsylvania, which is in the northern part of the state.


This old church is in the woods at Hickory Run Park.

Tobyhanna State Park


Bender Swamp at Tobyhanna

Tobyhanna is one of the best places to watch the leaves change, and it is only 36 miles away from Hickory Run. Resica Falls is South and East of Tobyhanna. Again, Resica Falls is near Bushkill Falls.

I live on the Jersey Shore, which is the Land of the Endless Sand Dunes, but I can drive less than 3 hours and be in the center of the Fall Foliage Display. I try to make that pilgrimage every year, and today, I am looking at my calendar and trying to decide when I’ll go this year. Wanna Join Me?

Ode to My Autumn Leaf – My September Song

September Song
by Jacki Kellum

I just took a nap for my mind, to see,
Flickering fae breath blew in, restored me.
Visions of sugarplums danced, set me free.
Sang me that September song.

Rain showers dripped down through the limbs of a tree.
Moonbeams and crystal shards lit up my sea.
Soft webs and angel hair dropped down from a flea,
And tow-tugged my leaf-boat along.

Image result for jacki kellum fall

©Jacki Kellum September 22, 2017


Coco Chanel – A Fashion Designer Rags to Riches Story

Coco Chanel’s Life is a Rags to Riches Story

Coco Chanel was born in 1883 in Saumur, France, and she spent her earliest life, along with four siblings, in a one-room house.

When Chanel was 12 years old, her mother died, and her father abandoned her and her two sisters at a Catholic orphanage at Aubazine, where the Order of St. Mary had been established to take care of the poor–especially the young, poor, and dejected girls.

There are conflicting reports about Chanel’s childhood. Chanel herself is said to have embellished her own humble history, but most reports say that it was at Aubazine that Chanel was named Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, and that it was at Aubazine that Coco [Gabrielle] learned to sew. Apparently, the children at Aubazine were expected to work hard, and they live a frugal and disciplined life. It was the sewing that she learned as a child at Aubazine that probably saved her from a continued life of poverty.

When Chanel was 18, she was too old to remain at Aubazine and was sent to study at the Notre Dame School at Moulins. While she was at Notre Dame, Chanel was united with her aunt who was only a year older than she. Her aunt’s name was Adrienne. While she was was at Notre Dame, Chanel continued to study sewing.

“The Mother Superior at Notre Dame found employment for Adrienne and Gabrielle as shop assistants and seamstresses in a draper’s store on the rue de l’Horloge, which sold trousseaux and mourning clothes to the local gentry, as well as layettes for newborn babies. The girls shared an attic bedroom above the shop, and also worked at the weekends for a nearby tailor, altering breeches for cavalry officers. It was there that Gabrielle and Adrienne were spotted by half a dozen men, who started taking them out to La Rotonde, a pavilion in a park in Moulins, where concerts were held for audiences from the local barracks.

“They were rowdy affairs – a combination of music hall and soldiers’ saloon – but Gabrielle was determined to start singing on stage, and eventually found a regular slot. She had only two songs in her repertoire: ‘Ko Ko Ri Ko’ (its refrain was the French version of ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’) and ‘Qui qu’a vu Coco? ‘, a ditty about a girl who had lost her dog. Soon the audience greeted her with barnyard cockerel calls, and christened her…[Coco].”

Things changed for Coco Chanel. As an adult, she lived at the Ritz in Paris for 37 years.

ca. 1965, Paris, France — French fashion designer, Coco Chanel, standing in her Paris apartment at 31 rue Cambon, with her back to a mantled fireplace, with a large mirror above, looking up at a chandelier. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive/CORBIS’



Place Vendôme, amb el Hotel Ritz a l´esquerra

“There are people who have money and people who are rich.” – Coco Chanel

On several occasions, Chanel expressed a suspiciousness about richness, wealth, and luxury, but her life’s mission seems to have been that of escaping her own poverty. I feel quite sure that Chanel’s efforts to “pull herself up by her boot strings” was less than delicate.

FRANCE – CIRCA 1936: Coco Chanel, French couturier. Paris, 1936. LIP-6958-108. (Photo by Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty Images)

Image result for Coco Chanel as an old lady

“Gentleness doesn’t get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs.  – Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel formed liaisons with rich lovers, and that undoubtedly helped her elevate herself, but the Coco Chanel fashion statement was one of simplicity.

“It is always better to be slightly underdressed.” – Coco Chanel

Image result for Coco Chanel as an old lady

Chanel’s earliest business venture seems to be that of designing and creating hats. Although some of her hats were extravagant, most were not. In fact, Chanel began her career as a milliner by buying very plain Boater Hats and by decorating them with simple bands of ribbon.

The above image is from the Sony film Coco before Chanel. It shows the actress Audrey Tautou wearing a Boater Hat like the earliest Chanel creations.

“Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.”  – Coco Chanel

During the 1920’s, Vogue Magazine lauded Coco Chanel as the creator of the simple, Little Black Dress

The Little Black Dress that Audrey Hepburn wore was designed by Hubert de Givenchy, but it is apparent that the Audrey Hepburn look is rooted in Coco Chanel.

Coco Chanel Also Turned the Simple Sailor Stripes into a Fashion Staple

In the following image, the Audrey Tautou is shown wearing the type of striped T-Shirt that is synonymous with Coco Chanel.

Coco Chanel Marinière et pantalon en 1928

“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”  – Coco Chanel

In 1858, the striped shirt or Marinière was designated as the official shirt of the French Navy.

In 1913, Chanel opened a shop and sold her interpretation of the  Marinière, as well as other sports and casual clothes and hats. Unlike fashion before that time, Coco’s clothes were made of jersey or underwear-type material.  Before then, French fashion had been a heavily corseted and overstated affair, but Chanel had the courage to break with fashion tradition and to forge a new path–one that forever changed the course of fashion history.

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” –  Coco Chanel

The Chanel-like striped shirt, which is also called the Breton, is still a fashion staple, and a must-have part of the maritime look.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – OCTOBER 18: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leaves the Copper Box Arena in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after attending a SportsAid Athlete Workshop on October 18, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”  – Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel Was Also the Mastermind Behind Redesigning Men’s Fashions and Interpreting Them for Women

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” – Coco Chanel

Although Coco Chanel was desperate to break from her bondage in poverty, she had the courage to move out of the safe zone, to think for herself, and to create what she felt compelled to create.

“Those who create are rare; those who cannot are numerous. Therefore, the latter are stronger.”  – Coco Chanel

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone. –  Coco Chanel

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. – Coco Chanel

Image result for Coco Chanel as an old lady

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.  – Coco Chanel


I am not young but I feel young. The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there. J’aime la vie! I feel that to live is a wonderful thing.” – Coco Chanel

©Jacki Kellum September 22, 2017

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