Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm A Second-Hand Girl

Yesterday was Second-Hand Wardrobe Day.

And I suspect my mom
was the queen of utilizing
that special day-
only year round.

I know that most of my
childhood was spent
in second-hand clothes.
from my older sisters,
cast-offs from the church family,
and I suppose an occasional
yard sale find.

If you happen to study
our old school photos,
you'll find that the dress
Linda was wearing in her
fifth grade picture
was the same one I wore
in mine.

And I wouldn't doubt that
our little sister Tina
had a go at that same dress
somewhere along the line.

But, it didn't bother us then.
We didn't know that not every
family shared cast offs like we did.

Hey- there were nine of us!
Can you imagine getting us
ready for school in the fall?
And I can proudly say
that my parents never got
any financial assistance
or charity back then.

Why not recycle clothes?

I still do it today.
I'll buy a jacket or jeans
at a yard sale
or resale shop.
Most times they're like new.

Of course, when we were kids
we might have to doctor
our hand-me-downs up a bit
with patches and pins-
but they got us through
those tough years of school.

I still remember a time in
high school
when I was wearing Linda's
old loafers and I had a bit
of tissue stuffed in the toe
because they were too big.
I also had a rubber band
snapped around the
leather tongue because
it was loose.

I was in the gym
waiting for first bell to ring
and I unconsciously propped
my feet up on the bleacher seat
in front of me.

Then I suddenly looked down the line
and saw all the other girls
in their new shoes -
nice, white canvas sneakers
and shiny leather sandals-
and immediately my feet
rolled under the seat
like the Wicked Witch legs
under Dorothy's house.

I think that's the first time
I was embarrassed
and I went home that day
and cried.

But the experience of having a
second-hand wardrobe
has humbled me.

I appreciate all that I have.

I can go buy new clothes now
if I want.
I can have the coolest jeans
and best shoes
and all kinds of fashionable
bags and coats and

But that's just not me.

I can't see buying $50 jeans
when the $20 WalMart ones
will do just fine.
Or some that I unearth
at a garage sale.

I don't spend money on lots of
or jewelry,
or snazzy things for my house.

I'm a Second-Hand-Girl.

And today I'm celebrating that
liberation from peer-pressure,
fashion divas and
overpriced merchandise.

I'm a better person
for having shared
and cared for my clothing.
I'm a better person
because I don't judge others
who might have their
loafers wrapped in
a rubber band.
Or a skirt safety-pinned
at the waist.

I never thought I'd say it,
but, "Thanks, Mom."