A Story of Saris

Meet my dear friend, Pam Barick. Pam is an American expat who lives in Amstelveen. She was born in 1955 in Kodaikanal. Kodaikanal is a city in the hills in the state of Tamil NaduIndia. Its name in the Tamil language means, The Gift of the Forest. Later Pam lived with her family in Andhra Pradesh, one of the 28 states of India, situated on the country’s south eastern coast.

Pam’s father was missionary doctor and ran the hospital in Andhra Pradesh. Pam’s mother, Margaret Durkee; known affectionately as Peg, bought a collection of saris over her time in India, during the fifties and sixties. Peg wore some of the saris for various official functions when she wanted to add a touch of glamour to the occasion. Her favourite was the green silk one pictured below. The collection is eclectic and many of the saris she bought for the sheer joy of owning such exotic and colourful textiles.

Pam also occasionally wore saris as a child. Every Wednesday night was dress-up night at her boarding school. The dressing-up evenings added a bit of sparkle to their otherwise humdrum lives at boring school, I mean boarding school! All students and teachers changed into Indian clothes for dinner. Pam favoured a Punjabi outfit, consisting of trousers and a scarf. It conjures a slightly surreal image of expat children sitting around a traditional Western dining table wearing bejewelled outfits; Hogwarts meets Bollywood perhaps!

Pam moved to Holland in the eighties and married her American husband David Barick. They have lived happily together since then, in Amstelveen. As an artist Pam always remembered the saris from her childhood and was overjoyed to rediscover them while clearing out the parental home in the States after Pam’s parents had died. The saris were concealed beneath a pile of boxes in a trunk in the basement. Pam’s mum suffered from Alzheimer’s and because of the confusion in her latter years had lost some precious family jewellery.  Pam was overwhelmed with relief when she discovered that these beautiful fabric memories hadn’t been lost for ever. Here are a few pictures of the contents of that box of hidden treasure…



About susancarey

Angela writes using pseudonym, Susan Carey. She has dual nationality, GB/NL and lives in Nijmegen. Susan has had short fiction published on multiple platforms and was a runner-up in the 2018 and 2017 Casket of Fictional Delights Flash Competitions. Her writing has also been published and performed by amongst others: Mslexia, Liars’ League, Reflex Fiction, the Casket and of course the wonderful Writers Abroad. In 2020 she published her short story collection, Healer. Tweets at @su_carey
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6 Responses to A Story of Saris

  1. Louise Ferguson says:

    Morning Ang, I clicked on the links and they don’t work. Louise


    • susancarey says:

      How strange, Louise. I just checked them myself and they work from my screen. Interesting to hear if they work for other readers. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


  2. susancarey says:

    I realise you meant the picture links. Hopefully that is sorted out now!


  3. nessafrance says:

    Wonderful fabrics – the colours and textures are like jewels.


  4. pfornari says:

    Ooh I just love saris. So beautiful, and so comfortable to wear. I think I have collected eleven so far, and wore a green silk one to a wedding a few days ago. (‘No tummy’ I say to the woman who helps me drape it. No way will I have an ounce of midriff flesh showing!’ Will I buy a new green one for St Patricks this year? Hmm…


  5. Sally Robinson says:

    Stunning! I have a collection of Indonesian sarongs, and African Kikois, which I love. Indian dressing up at boarding/boring school sounds much better than mine. We wore grey tunics during the week, then – Big Deal -a grey flannel dress on Sunday!


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