I spent twelve years in various forms of school uniforms. Plaid jumpers with knee socks and white shirts with peter pan collars, plaid skirts with knee socks, white shirts with peter pan collars and cardigans, black skirts and navy skirts with button down shirts….you get the idea. Parochial school did not have “Office Fridays” in the 1980′s and my off-time clothes didn’t have a whole lot of variety, especially in elementary school. I wore a lot of hand-me-downs, mostly from my cousin Elena. For all intents and purposes, I was a fashion “no”. Though I remember a pair of worn out jeans that had applicaqued vines and flowers up the leg that I wish I still had to this day.
For anyone old enough in The City of Presidents to remember, my mother shopped for any new clothes in The Bargain Center. Ahhh, The Bargain Center. It was that space between The Salvation Army and Marshalls. Overstock from anywhere, it was a dimly-lit labyrinth where every mom within a 50 mile radius went to buy pretty much everything – towels, sheets, every pair of brown leather mary janes I wore every year from 1st to 6th grade…an institution. My mother dragged our sorry butts in there at least once a month. My brother would complain of “dizzy spells” and collapse in towers of towels, marked $1 a piece, until she’d snap her fingers in a gesture for him to move his sorry ass and get going or get smacked for dragging his feet. Then TJ Maxx opened (“Get the max for the minimum at TJ Maxx!”). They had lay-a-way!!! And so, we moved up in the world. And The Bargain Center closed.
Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I spend a great deal of time dressing in clothes that my cousin had already worn. We spent weekends in Plympton where my cousins Elena and David lived, collecting pine cones for some craft project that never came to fruition. I suspect now that said project were ideas planted by mothers who wanted us to go outside and occupy ourselves so we’d get out of their hair. I remember collecting a whole green trash bag full of pine cones that the boy across the street stole from us and then hid it amongst similar bags of leaves. He said I could only have it back if I guessed the right bag. I was six. He was ten. A ten year old dickhead.
Anyhow, we’d come back from those trips with bags of clothes. The problem was that by around 10 years old, Elena had shot up into a tall girl like her parents, and I was fairly short. I continue to remain fairly short. Her hand-me-downs didn’t fit me anymore and my mother was forced to buy me clothes. And take us shopping with her. And we dreaded every single moment of the entire shopping experience. While my brother was having dizzy spells in piles of folded towels and clothing, I could be found hiding in the middle of the circular clothing racks, either in a ball on the floor or hanging from the bars like an orangutan. Either way, my mother was not amused. We all hated every moment of it.
These days, I do 90% of my shopping online, including groceries and drugstore items. So after all of this, how is it that I have a six year old who cannot help herself but to pull every dress, every frilly skirt, every pair of shoes off of every rack and shelf within reach to plead with me to buy it and then stand in front of any mirror available anywhere to pose in her haute couture, real or imagined?
What child is this?
I need to find a Bargain Center and drag her there every weekend until the damage is repaired.