Saturday, October 2, 2010

Too Proud to Whitewash

My Aunty used to say that we were too poor to paint and too proud to whitewash, which put us in one Hell of a fix. Not knowing exactly what whitewash was for a longtime, this was pretty much lost on me. I knew that we were "OK" financially. We were never hungry. We had clothes, although my mother would never buy me that pair of blue Papagallo flats I wanted badly when I was 11 years old.

It was at that point, I determined we must truly be "poor". She constantly refused to let me shop in the "cool" stores and for years made my clothes (See December 12, 2009 ). This was a fate worse than death to a preteen. After all, it didn't matter how "cute" those patterns were in the McCalls and Butterick pattern catalogs, the final product never looked the same.

And, she would never consider a Vogue pattern, even though I tried my darnedest to get her to. Jeez, if I had to be humiliated, let it be something a little sophisticated and fashionable. But no, it was not be. I did win a concession by putting my foot down when it came to Simplicity. That would have surely been the downfall of my life. Right there in sixth grade, I can hear it now, "Young  lady forced to wear homemade clothes from Simplicity catalog, attempts suicide by Ric Rac, film at eleven." But I digress.

One morning, my mother and I were going at it once again about her determination to humiliate me with my gingham and corduroy wardrobe.  Dad stepped in, "Like what clothes are you talking about." I went to my room and came out with three hideous outfits." "See," I said crying, "and they make fun of me. And, Mama says we can't afford anything else." He didn't say anything.

That afternoon when I got out of school instead of my regular carpool, there was one the young ladies who worked for Daddy waiting for me. She said, "Come with me, we have some things to do." I was shocked when we walked into the coolest shop in town. I just looked at her. "Your father said to bring you down here and let you pick out whatever clothes you need for this season."

After I got over the amazement of actually being in the store, I realized I had no way to pay for these clothes. "But we can't afford these clothes," I said quietly to my friend. The shop owner laughed, "Honey, that's not  what your Daddy says." That afternoon, I had the time of my life, even though I still did not get the Papagolla shoes. In fact, I'm still waiting for those tasselled flats.

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