A daughter interviews her mother for Mother's Day

Janelle Hillemeyer interviewed her mother, Lavonne Hatfield, about her life, her fashion and her memories.
BY HEATHER WARLICK MOORE hwarlick@opubco.com Modified: May 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm •  Published: May 2, 2011

When we asked you to send photos of your mothers and grandmothers and to describe how their personal style influenced you while growing up, you did so en masse.

Derrick Ho, an intern at The Oklahoman, had a great idea to go along with our tribute to mothers. He suggested we invite a grown daughter and her mother to our video studio and let the daughter interview the mother about her life and style.

So Janelle Hillemeyer and her mother, Lavonne Hatfield did just that.

Lavonne will celebrate her 58th Mother's Day this year.

Her story is similar to many women's stories of her age yet unique to her.

Lavonne was born just before the Depression in 1923, during the dust bowl days. There was little money for clothing, she recalls, but her mother and grandmother were wonderful seamstresses.

“I recall one time, (mother) made me a beautiful suit out of my cousin's tuxedo,” she said. She admitted not liking it because it was made out of somebody else's clothes. She also remembers wearing clothing made from curtains.

Her mother dressed her for school in an “ordinary cotton dress with a winter coat over it and long underwear. Those were awful.”

The minute she left the house, she would push those long underwear up under her skirt, and when she came home from school, she'd let them back down so her mother wouldn't know.

She was always fashion conscious, Lavonne said.

“I think little girls are interested in fashion all through life. They compete with their friends,” she said. “I can remember doing my hair and all that. We're just all very vain.”

When she was a young woman, fashion remained important to Lavonne. Her favorite places to shop in downtown Oklahoma City were Kerr's, Streets, Halliburton's and John A. Brown.

She and her mother would go to these stores, and Lavonne would pick out her favorite outfits.

“She would go home and ... and make it for me, and it would look exactly like that one in the store,” Lavonne said.

During World War II, Lavonne took a job at the War Department making copies of GI's dental records. Her future husband was fighting in that war, but they were not yet dating.

Janelle asked her mother if she remembers being afraid during the war.

“You know, we had no idea what the war was like,” she said. “The boys that were leaving Will Rogers field were going directly overseas.”