Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hand-me-downs

As I walked in the house today, I was immediately greeted by my daughter Meg. She was jumping up and down excitedly, wearing a dress that I can only assume was from the nearest polygamist factory outlet.

"What in the world are you wearing?"

Meg smiled at me triumphantly as she twirled for me to see. "It's a hand-me-down."

"From this Century?" I asked.

As I piled the rest of the hand-me-downs together for Goodwill or the garbage, I wondered why in the world we feel compelled to give away clothes that even the Salvation Army would turn down. As the youngest girl in my family, I am well acquainted with hand-me-downs. I think it wasn't until I got into High School that I even realized that underwear had elastic on it. I figured everyone had to be super careful when changing in the girls locker room not to have their underwear slide off. It was then that I understood why the other girls would ridicule my underwear belt.

Then there was the family trip to Las Vegas when Jordan, who was 12 at the time wore one of my Dad's undershirts.  Jordan was about five feet tall and 75 pounds. My Dad on the other hand was six foot five and probably over 280 pounds.  Really?! None of us happened to see that something was amiss with Jordan's outfit when we left for the day?? I mean I know he's the youngest, but didn't the fact that to be able to walk he had to lift the sides of the shirt as if he were a Countess descending a grand staircase in an over-flowing ball gown tip us off? What kind of people were we??

To say that it was thrilling to get hand-me-downs from the neighbors and cousins is a huge understatement. I remember wondering how in the world the clothes managed to stay so clean, not realizing that hand-me-downs after one girl are very different than hand-me-downs after four. It dawned on me that someone else may have experienced the same thing I did as a child. They probably remembered their own thrill and wanted Meg to feel the rush too and don't worry, she did. Still that didn't account for the style of clothing- especially the Polygamist dress. I mean I'm all for being modest, but that thing was straight off the compound. It reminded me of the night before my sister got married.

My Mom brought my sister into her bedroom, where she then gifted her a long flannel nightgown, complete with buttons to the neck. I still remember the conversation.

Jane: "Are you kidding me?? I'm not wearing that for my wedding night! Seriously was that Grandma's?"
Mom (angry at Jane's rudeness) "Jane! This is how a mother should dress and you will be a mother one day!"
Jane: "Not if I'm wearing that I won't!"

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