Previously posted at Blissimo.
School shopping with your grandparents is probably every kid’s nightmare. It is bad enough just being a farm kid. Parents are thinking, how can we provide serviceable farm clothes, good for the combine image in the fall? They consider things like,” how can we get more flannel items?” They do this because once they are worn out, they make great rags. These are not good considerations for the conscious savvy teen wanting to look cool. Hence most of the guys wore lee jeans, a belt, runners, and a tee shirt. On spiffy days their shirt had buttons. Whoot, talk about having to hose down the girls.
If your local, near-by town(80 kms away)had more than 8 people in it then you probably had a hardware store. Wow, amidst the mice traps, rose dust, hammers and chipped blue daisy tea set, they brought in “clothes’” Fashion stores have a buyer for their fall collections. Hardware stores pay the guys who pick up the bottles in the ditches, to pick up the clothes they find, wash them up, press them, pin on a handwritten $ 9.99 sign and voila … instant fashion for the farm.
Some of the girl’s mothers sewed for them. Wow, who knew calico was so versatile? Some girl’s mothers had the shopping channel on their TV and omg weren’t their jeans bedazzled!! And some girls forgot the clothes and focussed on hair, riding the school bus in pink sponge curlers and taking them out just before they arrived to school. It was a polite way of announcing to the boys who rode the same bus “don’t even think about asking me out, you are scum and unworthy of my consideration. “ On the other hand, see a girl without pink sponge curlers and she was fair game. It is the unspoken law of the prairies and the language of the pink sponge. (see The Prairie Hand Book page 111)
But shopping with grandparents … first of all the trip takes two days. Humpydora drove that slow, leaning forward over the wheel and clicking her false teeth as she went. Anything over 20km and Biff and I were hanging on to each other for dear life and admitting we love one another. Her ability to control the vehicle was limited. Grandma would want to get groceries being as we were “making a trip to town,” so by the time the grocery man finished telling her all the latest gossip while he tried to chip the bag of frozen peas off the side of his stellar, state-of-the-art, freezer – having been in there for 8 years (the peas not the freezer), the morning was shot. I wouldn’t have minded so much except the grocery store had only one aisle and it was filled with things like pemmican, dried berries, beef jerky, twinkies (also there for at least 8 years), and lotto tickets of course. And, there was always a stand from the CWA with crocheted dolls or such for your toilet paper rolls ’cause what farm house decor was complete without a couple of those. Farm hands lived for those dolls.
Then it was lunch at the greyhound bus stop/gas station/bug spray emporium/lawn motor blade sharpening palace/porn corner (under brown wrappers of course to protect the innocent), café. There, you and your loved ones could sit and eat in the ambience of Kings. John and Sharon King. Sharon was toothless and had boobs that hung down to her navel and had burned her bra back in the 70’s and never quite got enough money saved to buy a new one. John was bald with 3 teeth and obviously a load tester for a belt company judging by the ever increasing load on his belt. The place stunk of greasy fat and the booths were circa 1940 with red booth seats now taped with grey electrical tape and checker flecked tables with corrugated iron edging. And of course there was a counter with stools.
We sat in a booth, after all we were damn important and it was a big day. Humpydora would always smile and tell us we could have anything we wanted from the menu. Hmm fried cheese sandwich with fries, hamburger with fries, or fried chicken with fries … decisions decisions. I usually had fries with fries, which Sharon always had to go and check with John to see if it was “allowed.” One time they were trying something new, “liver meatloaf,” and wondered if anyone would like to try it. I volunteered Biff cause I love him and he is precious to me. I wanted him to go first out of deep respect for the fact he was the eldest. He was sick for a week. Meatloaf wasn’t on the menu the next time we went, liver or otherwise.
The afternoon was spent getting the school supplies. The hardware store just happened to have a “stationary” department as well. It consisted of 3 binders, one red two blue, some loose leaf, a box of pencil crayons – slightly used with the pink one missing, a box of pencils – a couple of them already chewed, 8 bic pens, post-it notes (what a progressive town) and a batman lunch pail. She bought it all. We were exhausted. We had to put off getting our clothes until the next morning. The store was so big, we would have had to turn our heads to check out the “clothes department.” Clearly we learned to pace ourselves before all the excitement took its toll.
Staying in town usually involved visiting some sick ass person or a relative. Either way it was always, “don’t worry about the 23 years of garbage parked in your living room, the kids will clean it up.” And we did. Or, “don’t worry about the quintuplets screaming and crying – the kids can babysit them.” Nowhere on my list of things I most wanted to do here while on earth was the word “babysitter” to be found, but I was always being volunteered for that one. We, of course, slept on dirt floors in an outer shed somewhere, snivelling and hungry, fighting off skunks and feral cats, hoping to live until morning so we could finish off our big shopping trip.
Like I said, blue jeans, flannel shirts, tee shirts, Stanfield underwear – white (the new women’s line), sturdy shoes, and my all time favourites .. gum boots. Damn those things were styling. The worst year of my life was when the square dancing fairy had visited the store, died and left them her pink sparkle square dancing outfit. No matter how much I protested and told Humpydora that Biff just would not look good in pink, it went nowhere. There I was, front and centre, at church the next Sunday … in my square dancing outfit. I handled it in the only way I could. During the opening hymn I got up and began “do-si-doing,” and “alamaning,” left and right, flipping the crinolines way over my head to reveal my “sturdy, sensible” underwear.
I never got to wear the dress again. Shame. Still in therapy over that one.
..Eyes Intense Collection
s Whisper Lashes
Gacha – Lapis Lazuli Drop Earrings
Visit http://bliss-imo.blogspot.com/2015/08/its-that-time-of-year-again.html for original post date.