Friday, June 12, 2009

Flashback Friday: School Clothes

Near the end of every summer while I was growing up my mom would take us school clothes shopping. It was definitely necessary because we outgrew our clothes every year for quite a few years in a row, and while we did abound in hand-me-downs, it was always nice to get a few new outfits.

Ideally, we'd change out of our new clothes and into "play clothes" after school so that our new outfits would stay nice-looking longer.

One year, I believe it was grade 2, I picked out a Little Mermaid outfit, complete with accessories. I had a Little Mermaid shirt, Little Mermaid shorts, socks, shoes, and a headband. And you'd better believe that I wore them all at the same time. I have a picture somewhere, but not here.

Another lovely little number I had was a troll doll sweatsuit. The front of my sweatshirt featured a humongous troll head, while the back was royal purple to match the sweatpants. I probably looked like a walking plum, but I thought I was pretty stylin'.

In grade four I picked out a Lion King t-shirt, but my favorite outfit was a blue skirt and vest combo.

In grade five I got a number of t-shirts and sweaters as well as a few pairs of jeans, but nothing with an overarching Disney or Mattel theme. I guess I got a little sick of being a walking billboard.

That's kind of when my clothes-shopping slowed down. Not only had I stopped growing as much, but I was finally fitting in my sister's rejected clothes better, and I was terrible to shop with. I never liked anything, would try a million different things on and never buy anything. My mom hated shopping with me; I don't blame her.

Back in the day when I was little and cute and still fit in the front seat of a shopping cart, I remember going clothes shopping with my mom. I'm sure some of my siblings were there, but I don't remember who. All I know is that we were going clothes shopping and I was sitting in the cart. That probably meant that I wasn't even school-aged yet, otherwise Patrick would have been sitting in the cart.

My mom was pushing the cart and every now and then would lean over and use my head to push her glasses up on her nose instead of letting go of the cart with one hand and pushing up her glasses herself. I found this very irritating. Somehow I found a way to bring it up.

"But you're my scratching post," my mom said.

"What's a scratching post?" I asked.

"Sometimes when cows are itchy they'll rub up against a fence post. That's a scratching post."

My mom grew up on a farm in Southern Alberta. Although I was born in a small town in Southern Alberta, most of my memories were centered around the bustling metropolis of Vancouver, British Columbia. The idea of seeing a cow scratch itself on a post was a little foreign.

"But you're not a cow and I'm not a fence," I pointed out, dismissing the analogy.

Children develop impressive reasoning skills at a very young age, I am learning from my daily conversations with Rachel. (I tried to get her to give up a crayon at church today by trading it with her toy tiger. She refused. Why? Because. "Two hands! Bof hands hold. One hand--cowor," she said, referring to the crayon she had a death grip on, "'Nover one--yion." She gets lions and tigers confused all the time, but this was a tiger and the crayon belonged to the church. I stopped trying to reason with her and just took the crayon. Rebekah and Jessa distracted her by taking her down to the kitchen for a cup of water).

My other memory is about our neighbours in High River. Trina was pregnant with their sixth child and they were about to move to Oklahoma so that Brad could go to grad school (to get his PhD in accounting, I think). Needless to say, they were kind of pinching pennies.

Trina had a big container of coins that they had collected throughout the year. Change from pockets, coins from couch cushions, money from any random source would go into this jar. In Andrew's world, this would be considered "free money" at this point since it was completely off the books. This was the fund for our neighbour's school clothes that coming year.

I spent a lot of time helping them get ready to move, since they moved when I was in middle school and was homeschool and therefore home all day everyday. One of the jobs she gave Tacy and I was to count all the money and roll the coins so that she could take them to the bank (because she didn't think paying with pennies would make the cashier happy for some reason).

We counted up a couple hundred dollars of loose change. I was amazed! I hadn't realized that you could collect that much money in coins in one year. Of course, I was like 13 and had $60 to my name, so yeah, a couple hundred dollars sounded pretty astronomical.

When I first recalled doing this, I thought, "Oh, boy! That's going to be us when Andrew's in his PhD program! Pinching pennies all the way through!"

Then I remembered that, while we'll definitely be pinching pennies, we'll only have two children when he starts his PhD program (if we ever get around to could never know) and that we have no hope of collecting that much money in coins. Society has become much more cashless in the last decade. I can't remember the last time I went searching under the couch cushions for money--why bother? I never have any coins in my pockets.

I still think it's nice to get something new to wear every once in a while. Wearing new things makes me feel spoiled and pretty. Unfortunately I haven't outgrown anything in years and it's really hard for me to get rid of things so I have become something of a clotheshorse. I definitely need to purge my wardrobe when we get back to the States.


  1. Flashback Friday:
    The Heiss girls and I would frequently walk down to Allen's during the summer time. Of course, we'd take as much money as we had and go spend it frivolously on candy and pop. Somehow, even though Sarah had already spent her allowance, she'd scrounge up a couple dollars just from looking in the couch cushions.

    And it happened the next week.

    And the next. Hmm....

    Apparently, the in-law's couch is where it's all at--an always abounding weekly supply.

    (Who knows where it really came from.)

    I had a little mermaid shirt too. I loved it. I also had this horrific green and blue polka dot outfit that I loved. i can't believe I wore it. My first day of 1st grade, I wore all pink, from HEAD to TOE. I was HOT!

  2. Flashback: We used to have a bag of change in the drawer under the telephone. Anyone remember the little red bag? Somehow it seemed to lose more money than I put into it. Does that give you a hint where Sarah got all that extra money? And just so you don't think I was stupid, I finally had to hide that little red bag.

  3. When we lived in BC, Bruce would give each of the kids 50 cents to buy penny candy at the Hub, the nearest convenience store. And Nancy would only spend 25 cents, so every time she went to the store, her own penny bank got a bit heavier. Which has nothing to do with school clothes, but Karen's little red bag reminded me of it.

  4. Because when I was a little girl penny candy existed and if I ate my candy slow enough I still had it longer than everyone else, even though I bought half as much.

    At six years old, that fifty cents was pretty much my only steady source of income!

  5. Ah school clothes shopping. And yes, I feel for you with the clotheshorse. I have stuff from junior high still! I plan on taking it to Goodwill this summer though. That's my plan: To not be a packrat any more.

    Oh and you have terrified to do a glucose test now. Even though I have a fair amount of medical knowledge, I am not a fan of vomiting, diarrhea, etc. I do love sugar though! I guess we shall see once I am pregnant. Cameron will be home in a couple weeks so maybe sooner than we think.