My Little Clothes Horse

Bayshore, fall, school, shopping

. . . or is that Clothes Monkey?

Fall is finally in the air.  Cooler temperatures, falling leaves, shorter days all mean one thing for a clothes horse, a new wardrobe.  Our extended warm weather of the past couple of weeks played havoc with the notion of back to school clothes.

When I was a child my Grandparents would take their little clothes horse shopping for back to school clothes.  Actually this ritual occurred all throughout my days in school, including college and law school.  Taking me shopping was a joy that they looked forward to every fall.

In my younger days they would take me to Bayshore, that was back in the day when it was an outdoor mall.  There we would shop at Sears and Mansfield’s.  Mansfield’s, the store we would go to for “dress” clothes.  No matter what you size, Mansfield’s had it.  They even had a department for girls like me who were slightly chunky.  They called it the “plus size” department.  Great, I was shopping in the “plus sizes”.  Pluses are good; an A+ in school or a plus size banana split, but “plus size” clothes.  What’s the “plus”?  Fat.  A “plus size” kid was a fat kid, so “plus size” clothes, clothes with more material to cover us fat kids.

Another store with a “plus size” department for us slightly chunky (fat) girls was Sears.  Here’s where my Grandparents would take me to buy “play” clothes.  Here I would get my industrial strength Toughskins, my favorite being the purple denim bellbottoms.  Also from Sears I bought my winter parka.  It was always an Eskimo style parka with big round buttons on a placket that covered the zipper, a fur-trimmed hood, and a pocket for a pen on the sleeve.  This too was purple.  I looked like a cross between Nanook of the North and the Purple People Eater!

It was always a thrill to wear my new back to school clothes and Mother Nature never interfered with my ability to wear them.  The first day of school always meant new clothes regardless if the temperature outside was eighty degrees or fifty degrees; but then again, we never wore shorts and T-shirts to elementary school.

My Mom is carrying on the tradition of her parents and two weekends ago she took Monkey shopping for back to school clothes.  Stylish low-rise jeans have replaced the industrial strength Toughskins.  Mansfield’s is long gone but there are several stores at the once again outdoor Bayshore Town Center, stores that meet the needs of an eight-year old fashionista.

Okay, so here was the problem; Grandma bought the clothes but Mother Nature prevented Monkey from wearing them.  This past week was too warm for Monkey to wear her new jeans and sweaters.  As the zookeeper, I had to tell my clothes horse (or is that clothes Monkey) that she would still be wearing shorts and short sleeves to school, attire that is now perfectly acceptable to wear to elementary school. The idea of wearing the clothes she wore all summer when she has a new fall wardrobe, well that did not make for a happy Monkey.

Mother Nature apparently saw how upset Monkey was and the battle that occurred every morning; sweaters (Monkey) versus short sleeves (Mom the zookeeper). Thankfully, this week Mother Nature has cooperated and cooler temperatures are on the horizon.  Cooler temperatures mean that Monkey’s new clothes will begin to make their debut on the school playground.  Thank you Mother Nature.  I again have a happy Monkey.

Every fall the tradition of back to school shopping continues in my family.  My Grandparents took me shopping, my Mom takes Monkey shopping, and I hope that one day I too will be able to carry on this family tradition when I take my grandmonkey shopping for her back to school clothes.   

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