Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blast from the Past

There is nothing like a visit from our favorite charity, the Purple Heart Veterinarians Veterans, to motivate me to comb the closets for clutter. And how much more so when we're packing up to move!

So I spent all day today itemizing the stuff I've been collecting for weeks, getting it all set out on the front step and checking in the dark recesses of both attics and that mysterious storage area under the basement stairs to make sure I haven't missed anything I got possibly get rid of.

And I discovered things that haven't been touched since the day we moved in, 12 years ago. (Ya think maybe we don't need 'em?) I discovered things I didn't know we had, and things that I'd forgotten existed. I even discovered a few things I've been looking for!

One of those items was a box of clothing--my own--dating back to junior high. The very first pair of Levi Strauss jeans I ever owned was in there. So were my Osh Kosh carpenter bib overalls from high school. Blondechick15 snapped up my lightweight letter jacket, with my maiden name sewn on the front, my graduation year on the shoulder, and my hometown's name emblazoned across the back. (She also grabbed her dad's high school show T-shirts, from when he played the leads in Once Upon a Mattress and Pajama Game.)

There were several skirts, a blouse and a couple of dresses that my mother made for me in my junior high and high school years, as well as my first store-bought Easter dress; I remember wearing it to a spring band concert and feeling very fine indeed. I found one of my all-time favorite skirts that she ever made for me--it was so full that the pattern indicated that one could use a round tablecloth to make it--and it was such fun to twirl around in! (The kids were so impressed, Mom. "Grandma made those?") Blondechick took several of the skirts to wear for fun.

I had several Jessica McClintock (anyone remember Gunne Sax?) quilted vests and blouses with loads of lace and big mutton chop sleeves. I had "knickers" or "jodhpurs" in corduroy, velvet and denim. I also still have a Wheaton College sweatshirt from the 50's, a matching set of his/hers argyle wool sweaters from the early 60's that had been my parents' and two wool plaid skirts that had been my mother's in the 50's.

Why save this stuff?

Some of it I saved for Halloween costumes for the kids--like the carpenter bibs and the velvet knickers. Some of it was purely sentimental, like a monogrammed sweater in my high school colors that I wore under my band uniform every game for four years. And of course so much love had gone into every stitch of the items my mother made.

But the best part of all was looking through it with my kids. They really thought it all was so cool, and I could tell they were enjoying the glimpse of their mom as a teenager.

No, wait. I have to be honest. The very best part? To my shocked amazement, I was able to zip up and fasten the snap on my high school pair of Levi's. I wasn't able to sit down in them...but still. (The kids couldn't understand why I was so delighted by this discovery.)

I always tell people I got the skinny genes from my dad, and they always joke about jeans. There's a great ending line in there somewhere--I know it--but I'm off to bed. A friend and I are packing up the kitchen tomorrow!

Oh! And did I mention that there is SO MUCH STUFF on the front step that we'll be unable to use the front door until the Vets get here in the morning? That's what I'm EXCEEDINGLY proud of!

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