WPA Theater hosts performance of ‘Starch in Their Petticoats’

Published 7:25 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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On Sunday afternoon, the Brundidge Historical Society hosted a historical presentation, “Starch in Their Petticoats,” at the We Piddle Around Theater, with nationally acclaimed storyteller Dolores Hydock sharing the stories of these women who helped settle the American West.

Johnny Garrett, BHS president, said “Starch in Their Petticoats” was sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Alliance and was offered free to those who were curious to know more about those “rascal” women who settled the Great American West.

“The Brundidge Historical Society greatly appreciated this opportunity for our community,” Garrett said. “The BHS has received great support from our local communities for nearly 30 years. This was a great opportunity for us to thank those who have and continue to piddle around with us and with special thanks to the Alabama Humanities Alliance and Dolores Hydock, who we consider one of us.”

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The audience for Starch in Their Petticoats was estimated at 83-plus and included men and women from the area and as distant as Dothan and Montgomery.

And what a Sunday afternoon treat it was, said Bennie Jinright of Troy.

“I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed anything more,” Jinright said. “I didn’t know what to expect and it took a few minutes to realize that it was not going to be funny stage play. It was even better.”

Jinright said Dolores Hydock, who is always amazing, shared stories of women that raveled 2,000 grilling miles on wagons to seek new opportunities in the Great American West.

The story was not what might have been expected Jinright said. It was not about homesteaders like the Ingalls family or Plum Creek. It was story about the more adventuresome women who took the opportunities of the 2,000-mile wagon journey to learn to ride and rope, to shoot pistols and long guns, to change a wagon wheel, to play poker, chew tobacco, drink hard whisky and dance with many men in noisy saloons.

They were the women with starch in their petticoats and helped settle, and perhaps, tame the American West.

Women including Poker Alice who won and lost a fortune at the poker table and Adah Menken an actress, who rode a horse on stage very scantily clad, and became America’s first global celebrity.