Lotta and her iconic uniform were inseparable. She wore it everywhere. It became part of her public persona.
And it inevitably led to some misunderstandings and amusing stories that she herself would enjoy relating.
Here is what her biographer, Clyde Sanger, has written on page 150 of his book, “Lotta and the Unitarian Service Committee Story.”
“Dr Lotta’s sense of humour made her collect stories of misunderstandings about her uniform:
- The RCAF veteran who congratulated her on still being in the air force;
- the waitress in Winnipeg who wanted her to baby-sit when she had explained that her agency looked after children;
- the guest in a Korean hotel who exclaimed “Telegrams!” on seeing her in the elevator; and
- the Japanese tourist who tried to buy a bus ticket from her to Niagara Falls.
“She also recounted episodes when her uniform helped save the situation. Once she was disturbed in the middle of the night on a 480-kilometer train journey in Korea, when two strange men pulled aside the curtain of her sleeping bunk and shook her awake. ‘Under such circumstances, a uniform like mine is the only thing to travel in’ she said later.”
If you’d like to explore more deeply the story behind Lotta’s uniform, here is a great article published by curator Dan Conlin of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax.