Posted tagged ‘new clothes’

“Happy Day After Christmas, Merry Rest of the Year, even when Christmas is over, The Light of the World is Still Here!”

December 26, 2017

Gracie and I are back home, and my car is in good order. It took longer than I expected as what was wrong didn’t matter, only my place in line. It is cold, 28˚, but tonight will be colder. By the middle of the week, we’ll be down to single digits. I will be hibernating.

Christmas Day was wonderful. I used the morning to prep for dinner, to get all the veggies ready for cooking. My friends arrived a little after 2:30. We drank some egg nog and then opened presents. We go in turn so we can see what we each got. Well, I’m thinking we were perfect, as good as gold, as Santa left great presents. I got a whole sackful of foot cozies which made me laugh. I love foot cozies and the ones I have left deserve retirement. I got a wrap to keep the cold at bay. I figure it will come in handy on Thursday. I also got a Christmas sweater as I didn’t have any Christmas clothes other than a t-shirt. There were earrings and so much much more. I gave my two friends each a bag of gifts, a bag Santa would be glad to carry from house to house. They loved their presents as well.

During the presents portion of the day, I was up and down finalizing dinner. We sat down later than I expected, but it is true that good things come to those who wait. The beef was scrumptious. The green bean casserole was a hit as were the potatoes. The carrots were good but were out-classed by the beef and the green beans. We sat at the table for a long while enjoying dinner and each other. Gracie was happy for her beef scraps and even Maddie enjoyed the meat.

After the dining room was cleared and the kitchen cleaned up. I turned on the dishwasher and we all sat in the living room. Gracie lost her footing on the couch and fell into the tree. She was scared but managed to calm down and get back on the couch where she fell asleep. I sat with her and patted her. Meanwhile, Clare asked about dessert. We decided we finally had enough room for the peppermint cheesecake Clare had made. It was unbelievably delicious from the crust to the peppermint cane topping. All of us yummed as we ate. The cheesecake was like tasting Christmas. It’s a good thing Clare left me some. I’ll leave it that.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were amazing. We honored tradition with our gingerbread houses. We laughed at some of our presents, and each of us belonged to the clean plate club even after a couple of extra helpings. Dessert was heavenly. The company couldn’t have been better. I loved Christmas this year.

“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”

August 31, 2017

Today is a delight. The humidity is still among the missing. The morning was even a bit chilly. I wished I had a sweatshirt on when I was outside waiting for Gracie. It rained all Tuesday night into Wednesday early afternoon but then the sun came out and the rest of the day was lovely. I hung around the house yesterday and finally did the laundry. It has made it upstairs only as far as this floor, but I still feel accomplished.

The kids around here go back to school next week, the day after Labor Day. It was also when I went back to school. I complained every year because that is the responsibility of kids the world over, but I didn’t really care. By the end of the summer I had run out of things to do. I was bored though I would never have admitted it.

On the weekend before going back to school, I checked out all my school supplies again and again. I sharpened my pencils and loaded and unloaded my school bag. I used to carry it with the strap across my chest, and I’d check out the look in the mirror.

I got to wear a new outfit on the first day of school, the only day of no uniforms. My mother would lay out our outfits on our beds. New clothes and new shoes were special.

On the schoolyard, I’d see my school friends for the first time since the summer had begun. When the bell rang, a hand bell rung by a nun, we’d go into the building but not in lines. Those would start the next day after we had found our classrooms and classmates. There were two classes of every grade, each with 40 or more students. One class got a nun while the other class didn’t. The nuns by their very natures kept us quiet and attentive. We didn’t dare do otherwise. The not nun teachers were just as strict. We all knew the being attentive position. It was sitting at our desks with our hands folded on top of it.

After the first few days, school became routine. We were back in uniform. Bells ruled our lives. We entered and left the school in lines. We did homework. It was a long way until June.

“The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country.”

August 29, 2017

Yesterday was a lazy day. I watered the newly planted flowers and took a shower. That’s it for the day except for the two naps I had. My mother would have said I must have needed the sleep. Today, however, will be different. It is the dreaded laundry day. It’s not the doing but the carrying I hate, the lugging of all that laundry up two flights of stairs. I do it in shifts: one flight, a pause then the other flight. Sometimes the pause lasts a day. The laundry sits on the rocking chair glaring at me.

The day is cloudy and a bit dark. I felt chilly so I shut the windows. It is only 67˚ and won’t get much higher. What happened to the dog days of August?

I remember late summer and school shopping with my mother. The first stop was always the shoe store. My mother had to drag the four of us though only my brother and I needed new shoes. My sisters were still young and didn’t go to school yet. At the store, they’d measure our feet with that silver slide and then have us put each foot, one at a time, into the x-ray machine. I always thought it was so neat seeing the x-ray of the bones in my feet. My mother bought sturdy shoes for us hoping they’d last a while. The next stop was for new uniform clothes. I needed white blouses, a blue wool skirt and a blue cowboy looking tie. My brother needed white shirts and a blue tie. The Children’s Corner, a clothing store up town, carried the uniforms. Uptown was sort of close so we’d walk. My mother bought me a few blouses but only a single skirt. She’d also buy a couple of long-sleeve shirts for my brother. From there we’d head to my favorite stop, Woolworth’s, for school supplies. I got to pick out my pencil case, lunch box and school bag. We’d buy crayons, always Crayola, glue and pads of paper, the ones with the Indian chief on the front. I was so excited with all the purchases and was thrilled to carry the bag home.

When I was working at the high school, I used to call my mother this time of year and asked her when she was taking me school shopping. My mother would laugh, and that was her only response. I hoped for more, shoes at least.

“‘Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees Filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.”

April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!!

Alexa woke me up at 7:15 this morning so I could go down the street and decorate the tree beside my friends’ deck. It is a tradition. I draped garlands, old cards and egg shaped ornaments all over the tree then left quickly. I hate getting caught. I’ll go back down to my friends’ house later for baskets then we’ll leave for dinner.

It is a glorious Easter Sunday, sunny and warm, perfect for showing off new clothes and whirling dresses. The pictures will all be outside in front of budding trees, flowering bushes and the bright bulb flowers like the dafs and hyacinths.

When I was a kid, we wore our new clothes to church then over to my grandparents’ house in East Boston. My grandparents always had special Easter treats for all of us like candy and small baskets. I have one very distinct memory of an Easter Sunday with them in East Boston. My grandparents lived in an apartment before they moved a couple of streets away to a house. The apartment was the one on the second floor. My great-grandfather was still alive and living with my grandparents. He used to sit on a rocking chair in the room with the big gas heater. He’d yell and spit. We used to run as fast as we could to get by him to get to the TV room. I remember all of that, and I remember the Easter he snatched my basket away from me. I don’t remember the snatching, but I remember the horror, and I remember running to the kitchen crying to tell my mother what happened. My grandmother came to the rescue and got my basket back. I stayed in the kitchen for the rest of the visit.

When I was down the street this morning, I noticed the house across the street had eggs all over the grass and under trees. Later I heard the kids hunting and one yelling that he’d found more eggs. I figured he’d gotten to the lawn which had tons of eggs scattered  all over, no hunting skills required. The eggs were all colored plastic unlike the eggs of my day which were real, hard-boiled colored by hand eggs. Sometimes the count of found eggs was less than the count of hidden eggs. That’s why outside hunting was always best.

I hope you have the loveliest of Sundays and a wonderful Easter.

“Summer has filled her veins with light and her heart is washed with noon.”

August 28, 2016

Today is another lovely day, sunny and not too humid. We will be cooler here with an ocean breeze keeping us in the high 70’s. Tonight should be even cooler.

The house next door isn’t rented, the first time all summer. I think it’s because many schools start this coming week so vacation is over. The TV has been filled with ads for back to school clothes and supplies. Parents are rejoicing.

Last night was movie night. We watched a 1957 black and white science fiction movie called The Beginning of the End. It was wonderful. The giant grasshoppers, the locust, are destroying whole towns and are headed for Chicago. The hero, a scientist, and the heroine, a newspaper woman, bravely counter the onslaught. She wears a lot of hats and carries petite purses. He stays impeccably dressed and his sharply pleated pants never wrinkle. The movie was quite entertaining. It also made us laugh.

Yesterday I went to the Italian cheese shop and bought goodies for last night: crostini, Taleggio, a soft cheese, and prosciutto. My next stop was the candy store for chocolates and fudge. My friends brought hummus and a hot cheese dip. We dined lavishly as we watched the movie.

Today is a day of rest. Gracie and I need to go to the dump, but that can wait until tomorrow. The day is so lovely we’ll be outside on the deck. Gracie will sleep in the shade, and I’ll sit at the table to finish reading the papers then I think I may just nap on the lounge. Thinking about it is making me yawn.

“Describing her first day back in grade school after a long absence, a teacher said, It was like trying to hold 35 corks under water at the same time. “

September 7, 2015

Labor Day was the last day of freedom for me. School always started the next day. I knew when it was Labor Day even before I mastered calendars as my mother always sang a happy tune. Nothing flustered her. I suspect the chant of one more day was repeating in her head blocking out anything else including our usual squabbles. She forced us to bathe even though we hadn’t gotten all that dirty since Saturday. We complained but she didn’t really care. By bedtime, an early bedtime, more cause for complaint, her inner voice was chanting tomorrow, tomorrow. Had it existed, the song from Annie could have been her anthem.

We were a bit excited but not anything we’d admit. I looked through my pencil box time and again. It could only be new once. Before I went to bed, my school bag was ready with a pad of paper, that pencil box and some crayons, a small box. My mother would make our lunches in the morning and put them in the lunch boxes. She always took out the thermos bottles if we weren’t going to use them. They were easily broken. I can still remember the tinkling sound of thin glass in a broken thermos bottle. Our new clothes and shoes were out and ready. The shoes we’d wear every day but the clothes were only for the first day. After that, uniforms were the order of the day. We already knew our teachers. It was a nun one year and a regular person the next year except in the sixth ad seventh grades. No nuns taught either of those years, but a nun taught each of the eighth grade classes.

I don’t remember when I stopped using a lunch box and used a brown bag instead. I guess it was a milestone of sorts. Gone too were the pencil cases and the school bags. I used pens and carried my books. School wasn’t just the end of vacation. It was also the return of routine. That was the worse part.

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”

January 10, 2014

The alarm went off at eight as it is breakfast Friday, the once a month get-together of women I worked with for years. I turned off the alarm, looked out the window, saw snow and went back to bed for another half hour. The breakfast is a come-if-you-can sort so I wasn’t expected. I’ll go next month.

The day is dreary. The snow, only a dusting, covers everything. Even the pines look sort of nice with their branches layered in snow. The birds were missing from the deck feeders during the coldest days, probably holed up in tight clumps of bushes or branches somewhere, but they returned in yesterday’s warmth, a word loosely used here, but they aren’t around again today. Only the red spawn was at the sunflower seeds. He does his trick of jumping from the deck rail to the squirrel buster feeder (note the feeder’s name), grabs a seed in flight then lands back on the rail to dine. I get crazed and usually chase him off the rail into the yard. I think I have him so paranoid that the door opening scares him right off the deck away from the seeds for most of the day. Banging my feet on the deck as I run at him probably helps too. I suspect the birds will return tomorrow when it is supposed to be 50˚.

I was all set for a dump run today, but now I’m not so sure. The dump is always cold with a strong wind which cuts to the bone, and I’ve had enough of bone-chilling cold this week. I’ll stave off my conscience by doing laundry, but if the afternoon looks better, Gracie and I can still do the dump run.

Christmas gives such color and brightness to the winter that I miss it terribly when it’s gone. I left my outside lights and my fake inside pine tree lit until the day after Little Christmas. My neighbors did the same. Now we have all gone dark except for my palm tree. It stands on deck near the backdoor and is bright green with a yellow trunk. My neighbors love my palm tree.

I crave color in winter. Even my winter wardrobe tends to be drab, utilitarian. The clothes are meant for warmth, not fashion. I could remedy that I suppose, but since my retirement I am seldom inclined to buy new clothes. I did buy a flannel shirt this winter, but that’s it. Maybe I’ll add a jaunty scarf in brilliant pink to my winter ensemble.

“Education is wonderful – it helps you worry about things all over the world.”

September 2, 2013

Today is damp and cloudy. Maybe rain, even a v, is in the forecast. The whole weekend has been the same. I don’t think we had as many tourists for the weekend as usual. The forecast was spot on.

In kids’ parlance today is not Labor Day. It is the day before school starts. The buses roll tomorrow morning. My neighborhood has kids now, little kids, and four of them are headed to elementary school together: two to kindergarten, one to first grade and the oldest to second grade. They’re outside riding bikes now. I suspect their heads are not filled with images of new clothes, buses and the first day of school. They still have the look of summer about them.

The red spawn of Satan got the hose treatment again this morning. A short time later it was back but ran as soon as I walked on the deck. It didn’t take long for the hose and me to have an impact.

If I were to go back in time, to my elementary school days, I’d choose the fifth grade. We got bused for a while to the next town while the new school was finished. It was an adventure which also shortened the school day. We had the same hours as the rest of the school so we were on the bus for a part of the morning and a part of the afternoon. We always got back just as school was letting out for the day. In the spring we moved into the new school. My room was on the first floor. The nun I had that year was a jovial sort. She used to hand out pieces of candy as prizes. Seldom did she leave her desk chair to walk around the room so she’d toss the candy to the prize winner. She periodically had contests like who could list the most homonyms, now called homophones. I remember that contest because I won, and this was before computers. My prize was a miniature book with Bible verses. I was intrigued by the size of the book and not so much by the verses. I don’t remember what I learned that year, but I figure it was pretty the same as all the other years. Nouns and the other parts of speech never seemed to disappear and once we hit decimals and fractions they followed us everywhere. Columbia and coffee are forever linked. There was only so much geography. As for history, I have no idea what we studied in the fifth unless it was the Pilgrims, but in those days history sort of hopscotched all over the place.

We were still young in the fifth grade. We jumped rope during recess and giggled about boys. Fifth grade was when I punched the boy who constantly teased my friend and wouldn’t stop when asked, even nicely asked. That is probably my favorite memory of that year. I learned to stand up for friends and I learned I had a strong right.