Waking up in our shared bedroom. (that’s how it was back in the day, kids shared bedrooms and everyone shared the bathroom) My sister, Danielle, and I would find the days outfit laid out on our beds. Mom had specific rules on how her children should be presented to the world. (She had rules about everything) Hair, tidy and tied up, either in braids or pony tails (secured with baubles and barrettes), clean presentable clothing of her choosing and children never wore black (only shoes could be black). Our clothes categorized as:
- play clothes – old and comfortable, worn on Saturday and changed into afterschool.
- We had pretty Sunday dress clothes (my favorite)
- and of course school clothes. It was these clothes that gave my sister and I the most grief.
At this point in our school careers we are at elementary levels and not yet forced to wear the uniform of wool kilt and polyester sweater. That itchy ordeal will come later in high school.
So here we are, first thing in the morning staring down the dreaded denim gauchos draped across our bedspreads. Danielle and I are only a year apart in age and are often dressed the same. Mom says it is cheaper to make two of each. (This practice of dressing us the same leads all we meet to believe we are twins.) It is the eighties and I am sure gauchos are no longer in style. Mom assures me they are, she is pretty old – like 28 or 29, so how would she know? I haven’t seen anyone besides us wearing these hideous not quite skirt-not quite pants creations so I think she is wrong. More than that I think she is cheap.
Maybe if we had more money she wouldn’t have to make our clothes from remnant fabrics. Maybe she could have purchased current and trendy materials. Most of all maybe she’d have the money to buy the newer, up-to-date, stylish patterns. Ha! who am I kidding? My Mom prides herself on being frugal. We could be Richie rich and she would still get a thrill from getting a deal. Instead she has that one second hand sewing pattern. Repeatedly used over and over again until even she is sick of it. Oh, but wait… the pattern is still perfectly good. (one of her favourite catch phrases “Perfectly good”) After every use she has carefully folded the pattern and put back in the envelope. ” You never know someone else might be able to use it.”
Sisters, (thank god we have each other) uncomfortably dressed for school wearing perfectly good matching denim gauchos and choking turtle neck tops. Mine red hers blue- the different colour shirt is how to tell us apart. Standing at the front door ready to depart “Don’t forget to put on your sweater coat!” Oh no, here she comes with two bulky sweaters that zip up at the front like a jacket but not a jacket -so not at jacket. She zips us in and admires her children “perfectly good”. To Mom we are beautifully presented, tidy hair in pony tails, mary-janes on our feet and perfectly pleated gauchos of her own making. She kisses us good-bye saying, no singing, the same thing she will say everyday until we are no longer in school. “I love you, have a good day and watch for cars.”
You know we love her.