Monday, October 25, 2010

When I Was A Young Girl

Being the only girl in a house with all boys, going school clothes shopping every fall with my mother was a very special treat. Something that almost made me happy that summer vacation was soon to be over. She always dedicated one special day, just to the two of us, leaving the boys at home. On this day, we always did the same thing. First we went to the little cafe inside The Broadway department store for lunch. I thought this was very elegant, being a young girl. To me it was. I can still see the dining room where we would sit. Mostly ladies, lunching and chatting like ladies do. Some were taking a break from their shopping, sipping coffee and sharing girl talk. And some were mothers and daughters, just like us, sharing a day of shopping for back to school clothes. I looked at the menu, reading all of the selections, but knowing full well before we ever even sat down that I would be ordering the Monte Cristo sandwich. It was heavenly. It was tradition. It was perfect every time. With jam oozing out the sides of a lightly golden fried bread that had been delicately dusted like snow with powdered sugar. Cut into triangles to reveal the delicious combination of ham and cheese, both sweet and savory, that would melt in my mouth. I seldom have seen this sandwich anywhere else, but on the rare occasion I do, I must order it, for old time's sake. It always falls short of my memory of the ones I had in my youth. I felt so grown up on this special outing of ours, minding my table manners, and feeling proud to be in such a "ladies" place as this little department store dining room. After our lunch, we went to The Broadway to begin our search for a couple of new school outfits. Mom always steered me towards the winter clothes, even though it was still blistering hot and I would not be able to wear my new clothes for some time yet. I can still remember excitedly scooping several things off the racks, then hauling them all into the dressing room, where Mom would take her place in the corner seat, to begin the process of our selections. Off went the shoes, the skirt and top. I step into the pleated plaid skirt with the large decorative gold pin closure (think tartan kilt), squealing with delight at the perfect matching  crisp white blouse to match. Mom lifting my tartan skirt to give the blouse peeking out underneath a good firm tug and then smoothing the skirt back down before I twirl to look at the back in my stocking feet. Oh how I loved this outfit! Not wanting to take it off, but doing it anyway so that I can rush on to find another outfit that equally delights me. We always got the complete outfit too. The skirt and matching blouse, or dress with the perfect shade of knee sox. I wasn't allowed to wear pants at my school, so it was skirts and blouses mostly. Mom puts the blouse and skirt back onto the hangers and places them on the hook we have reserved for our "KEEP" pile. And we repeat the process, again and again, until we have found the "perfect" back to school outfits to die for! I know that back in those days, my parents saved for, and set aside some money for each of us for our school clothes shopping. I don't know what the amount was, but I know that it didn't come easily. We didn't get a lot of things, but we shopped carefully for a few quality things, that could be mixed and matched. And of course, following the clothes shopping excursion, we always got two pair of new shoes. Usually a pair of sneakers, and a pair just for "school" and nice occasions. I remember that we had to change out of our "school" shoes, and into our "play" shoes after we got home from school so that our good shoes would last. The last stop to complete our back to school shopping in those last days of summer, was always at JC Penney's. This is where we got our underclothes and nighties. This trip was often done with all 4 of us in tow. New packages of white tee shirts, boxer shorts and white tube sox for the boys. Cotton floral print panties and new silk slips for me. But this particular year, I was getting something else too. My very first bra!! I recall standing in the aisle, between rows and rows of neatly stacked PLAYTEX boxes. Slightly embarrassed, but giddy with excitement, at what we were about to purchase. What I was going to be wearing!!! My very own bra! It was happening. I was growing up!! Becoming a woman!!! I can remember it as if it were yesterday. The sales lady measuring my back and underneath my barely there boobies. My brothers, David, Mark and little Timmy.....a couple of feet away, where my Mom had directed them to be, so as not to embarrass me. David was making faces, and posing like a girl, hands on hips, strutting to and fro. Mark was motioning to his "bra" and pretending as though he was getting fitted too, in very exaggerated motions! Timmy laughing out loud drawing attention to them.  I thought I would die. Right there on the linoleum floor of JC Penny's unmentionables department!!! My Mom turned and wagged her finger in stern warning at them. But I think I may have even caught her stiffling a bit of a smile when she didn't know I was looking. Despite the horror of having my brothers tease me so, I left JC Penney's that day with two new bras, in rectangle shaped boxes, white with pretty lace detail, and a tiny silk bow at the center between my triple A trainer cups! I. Was. Growing. Up!!!
I will always remember those late summer shopping trips with my Mom with such fondness. And that one special summer, about 39 years ago, that I got my special rectangle box!

19 comments:

Genn said...

Mom I loved reading this post! I think I was smiling the whole way through. And then laughing out loud at David strutting with his hands on hips, and Mark pretending to be fitted for his own bra! I'm still laughing.

And I was smiling at the thought of you and Grandma sitting at the cafe in the department store lunching, just like Erika and I have done with you, and with Grandma so many times as grade schoolers ourselves. Those are very fond memories for me too.

I love the way you write with such detail, and I love to read stories from your past because I learn that much more about who my Mom was, and what kind of a true lady she is today.

I love you.

Linda said...

OH Kris, you do bring back sweet memories...such a lovely post! I can so remember those days~ my special treat was a strawberry soda at the Woolworth's counter! And I remember that first rectangular Teenform box...

Diane said...

I LOVED this post, Kris! You have a wonderful way of telling a story. I could picture the whole incident. What a special memory!






Dr.Sameena Prathap
said...

Hi,

Love the story...Saw your profile and thought wow..a beautiful person..And in your blog you had said you are a grandma....i cant believe it!!lol!!:)You look so young...

Dr.Sameena@

www.lovelypriyanka.blogspot.com
www.myeasytocookrecipes.blogspot.com

Lauri said...

Love the memories! School shopping for us was always a big occasion as well but my dad owned a small clothing store and we went down after the store closed and tried on clothes for hours. I too remember the "school shoes" and wearing dresses to school. My how things have changed.

Helen said...

What a beautiful story! What wonderful memories!

Pam said...

Great post Kris. Back to school shopping was very special for me too! I am trying to make it very special for my daughter... lunch, shopping, and a treat afterwards like hot chocolate or ice cream. Good times!

Carrie @ Dittle Dattle said...

You can't buy memories like that!

Thanks for inviting me to your daughter's blog. Kris, you have a beautiful family.

Queen of Crafts, Current Events, and Such. said...

Nice walk down memory lane....Thanks.
What the bestest part for me was, that your Daughter commented... :)

Kristi said...

This was so cute. I read it last night and was going to comment but got interrupted!

I too remember shopping with my Mom for school clothes, and new shoes. It really did always get me excited to actually be going back to school. You wrote this so beautifully, I hope your Mom gets to read it!

It also made me chuckle when your brothers were teasing you about your very first bra....brothers!!!

Katie said...

This was so darn entertaining!!! Just love it! I can see your brothers snickering & making a fuss!

Your Mom use to take me and my sisters back to school shopping for several years too & I can remember "trying" to be on my best behavior for that outing. I can remember as well having to pick out 2 pair of shoes, 1 sneaker, 1 more fancy. I can still remember so vividly how much my sister Kelly looked forward to that occasion and I was more interested in where we might Eat ;)

Nana bought me my very first bra, on the same day that she introduced me to DEODORANT & A RAZOR!!!! ;)

So grateful to have had both your Mom & Nana to help steer me in the right direction.

I just LOVED this story Kristy, so heartfelt!!!

The Garden Bell said...

What a nice story this afternoon. Boy, does this bring back memories. I did just send you an email with the T.S. pattern attached. Hope it got to you. Let me know if you have any questions.

Diane said...

Dear, Dear Kristy,
This was so much fun to read. Oh how I remember those days too. I remember shopping with you, Kelly, Keri & Katie, Gennifer, Erika & Deanna too. Hopefully, I will get to share this with Hannah & Claire someday.

This is always a very tough week for me, today especially. But, this made me smile, remember & just plain laugh out loud.

I love you.......Mom

Suz said...

Hi Kris..what a fabulous walk down memory lane...wonderful post made me smile a lot
Hugs Suz x

Sharon said...

Kris!
Loved, loved, loved reading your post. Brought back so many of my own memories. You write with such great detail -- I felt like I was right there on your shopping trip. Thank for sharing!

Debbie said...

Oh Kris I don't know how I missed this post...sometimes I am such a glue...but I LOVED IT!! I remember similiar things about school clothes shopping (though I wore uniforms ~ there was still the undies and sock and new shoes) but what I REALLY remember and miss soo much is my times with Mel. We did the same thing...lunch somewhere fun and then me sitting while she tried things on and paraded around, haha...my boys just could never get into it, imagine that? haha But I LOVED those times with Mel. The shoes, the back pack, the hair accessories, all of it....I miss it so...thanks for trip down memory lane. HUGS

Jennifer said...

What wonderful memories! I do remember when department stores had restaurants in them...ok, barely but I know there was one in our area. I vividly remember, though, that the Sears Dept. Store had a large center area where they sold fresh, hot nuts....and my dad NEVER left the mall without warm cashews...heavenly!...and a nice size bag of chocolate covered raisins!! An evening of shopping was just about perfect then:)

And I most certainly remember when there was a real difference between school clothes and play clothes - and, my goodness, you had better change when you got home before going out!!

Thanks so much for sharing a great memory.....maybe you could create your own Monte Cristo at home:)

~Niki~ said...

what a great post here kris~
I remember shopping at the Broadway too. Gosh, what did that store become? I think Macys? Anywho, it's those little moments when we were younger that we remember. awesome~have a great halloween!

Katie said...

Well, since you have updated your blog in a few days I had to come back and read again, still loved the story just as much the 2nd time ;)