Archive | April 6, 2015

What happens when your mother gets a 2 tomboys and a gay son, sooo not what she signed up for

I think part of the reason I hated the whole Easter outfit thing was the fact that my mother had absolutely no taste and she wanted me to be a girly girl. The fact that I won the fight to wear blue in the photo in that other post is a miracle. I think she got tired of me screaming I was not going to wear pink and this was right around the time she got me pink glasses and I promptly went out and “accidently” broke them. Most Easters after this I ended up in yellow not because I looked good in yellow but because it was a battle she was getting passive aggressive about.

The year I was in 7th grade it got really bad. She actually bought me a dress but it was Kelly green and she bought me a big daisy brooch to wear on it. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Well she bought a huge patent leather purse and matching patent leather Mary Janes in sunflower yellow. I was still very short, under 5 feet but my feet were starting to grow. They were size 8 or at least the left one was. I looked like a duck, a tiny Mallard duck with immense yellow feet. Mom thought the ensemble was lovely. I wanted to hide my feet which was virtually impossible and to top it off she took me to tea and insisted I wear the damn thing in front of my Campfire group. So my school friends got the pleasure of seeing the hideous outfit as well as my church friends.

My dad was the one who had great taste in clothes, I would have done anything to have him pick them out. One year he came home from shopping for my little sister (in the boys husky dept, mom had given up getting a girly girl when Alison came along) and bought me a rust corduroy pant suit that fitted perfectly. It was my first pantsuit because girls still weren’t allowed to wear pants to school unless they were a suit in 1972. For some reason that outfit made me feel pretty and stylish in a way dresses never had. He even came home with a peach mock t to wear under it. My mom hated that suit and I wore it out, every chance I got. Even if I had to wear it with 2 tone brown saddle shoes.

I had to wear saddle shoes because they had corrective heels on them and the one time I complained about them being blue and white, she bought shoe paint and painted them royal blue and it wasn’t a good paint job. Never complained about that again and she was sooo proud of herself. I was so glad when they started to make brown suede ones. They weren’t nearly as embarrassing.

And that doesn’t even cover the battles we had when I wanted to wear black, Black anything at all except shoes. I started asking to wear black in elementary school. And kept asking all the way through until I could buy my own clothes. Mind you this was way before punk or goth or anything that would have made it even slightly normal. This was right in the middle of the summer of love era. The only way I finally got a black dress was that I bought the material and made it in an advanced sewing class I was required to take in 8th grade and mom hadn’t taken me to the fabric store, dad did and he waited in the car for me. Last time he was allowed to do that for a while.

Is it any wonder I hate clothes shopping and if it doesn’t come from LL Bean or Lands End, I’m probably not going to own it?

She lucked out with my brother, he was the perfect fashion plate. He was doing his best gay vogue already in that photo. I don’t know how many times mom told the story of his potty training but I could have cheerfully drowned him. Evidently the first time mom but him in a suit, he wet himself and went to her and said, “Dirty! Change me!” and never had an accident again. I was the kid who was playing in the dirt and really didn’t care. I was more interested in how my radishes were growing or catching frogs. It made me want to brain the little bugger because he was only a year and a half behind me and I would hear about how clean my brother kept himself. Of course, my abilities to not mind dirt and bugs came in handy all my years working at camps.

I can only remember getting really grossed out once and that was cleaning Arts & Crafts grease trap at Singing Pines. I had to reach in and pull stuff out and no one remembered anyone ever doing it before and it was about the slimiest nasty thing I’ve ever done but by the end there was a fascination to doing it. How much stuff was in there and what the hell was it? I never knew probably toxic and I probably should have been wearing rubber gloves but no one ever mentioned it until I was done.

I’ve never liked Easter

I have no good memories of Easter. Easter was torture from the outfits forced on me, to the egg hunts that were impossible for a blind kid to the hours long torture of never ending church services when I didn’t find anything useful to believe in.

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Don’t I look thrilled.

Little girls in the 50’s and 60’s were forced into hideous outfits bought new for the day. Socks with lace edges that doubled as buzzsaws when they hit the other legs. Petticoats that were so new and stiff and full they threatened to pop up if you didn’t forcibly hold them down and when you couldn’t always do it you heard a chorus of “I see London, I see France”. Hats always dorky and especially dorky if you had to carry a matching handbag that had el zippo inside except maybe a hanky your grandma gave you. A Lilt permanent given the day before that stunk to high heaven and was just gross for a kid with stick straight hair. And my mom hand embroidered my dresses which now would be worth tons of money but at the time all I wanted was to wear a store bought dress. And to the piece de resistance, patent leather shoes that Dad had to take out and sandpaper the bottoms so you didn’t slide and land on your butt.

One year, this lead to an incident at Sunday School. Mom always had to buy them too big because I would “grow” into them. They were too big and since my left foot is 2 sizes bigger than my right, the right one was way too big. Somehow there was a high kicking contest and my new right shoe landed on the roof of the Sunday School building. Can you say swift swat to the keester on the way home?

When I joined the kids choir and we had to get into robes, we had to take off our hated finery or we looked like Rose Parade floats with those petticoats on. And of course, put the flaming things on again after we sang. Church was normally 2 services and an overflow. Church held about 1500 people and on Easter would be full of Easter and Christmas Christians so they had to add a third service. If you were in the adult choir which I eventually graduated to that meant sitting through 3 sermons that were longer than normal that made you start thinking you were going to gnaw your leg off you were so hungry and when you finally got home a big meal with ham or lamb neither of which would I eat.

I only got taken to a public Easter Egg Hunt at the park once. Dad thought it was a fun thing to do but somehow he forgot I couldn’t see very well. Kids were running all over grabbing eggs and by the time I finally spotted one some kid would swoop in and take it. I remember standing there in the park crying because I hadn’t found a single egg and my dad telling me I hadn’t tried hard enough. Yeah, we didn’t do that again even after I had eye surgery. We had them at home where Dad knew where they were all hidden and could help point them out.

It didn’t help that for some reason the minute I saw my Easter basket full of candy I used to have to run and get sick. No idea why except that it happened every year. The only good thing I can remember was way back in the dark ages before backpacks girls carried their books in woven lined book baskets and after I got to Junior High my Easter basket was a new book basket since by this time in the year mine would be thrashed. We all had one hip and shoulder high than the other from carrying all our books around in them because everyone in my neighborhood walked to school.

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Kind of like this one but with raffia handles and lined with bright cotton fabric.

Anyway, Easter isn’t a holiday I remember fondly so as a pagan, I don’t miss it a bit.