Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Friday Flashback Cheap Chick

I’ve never really been fashionable. My short stature and curvy body made most clothes off the rack look ridiculous on me, and for most of my life I made do with whatever I could find or make that made me sort of fit in. Mama and I made the ballgown in the picture; I think I felt pretty.

My mother and grandmother lived through the last depression. Although my grandfather had a steady job, Mamo was an entrepreneur before that name was even coined. She ran a beauty shop, a boarding house, and sold her fabulous cakes from her back door. She always seemed to have plenty of money, but she shopped wholesale in Birmingham.

My mother, on the other hand, lived on a small allowance from my daddy, and it was point of pride for her not to have to ask him for extra money. I didn’t realize until I was grown that Santa Claus and Easter Bunny and all our clothing had to be paid for out of Mama's meager funds. So she sewed and shopped discount...really discount.

I can still remember the stench, and not fondly, of the old Belk-Hudson store in Montgomery where my mother dragged me to a fire sale hoping to find something to suit a miniature and very surly teenager. We did not. I began sewing for myself and by ninth grade shopped for fabrics and patterns and created passable imitations of the clothes my friends wore.

My wedding dress was one of the first and last store bought and full price items I'd ever owned, and we bought the first one I tried on while being treated like a princess at a high end shop. Mama beamed and even paid extra for alterations.

Wouldn’t Mama be tickled to know that thrift is finally in style again, certified by no less than the New York Times!

I hope I'll remember how lucky I am to want for very little in this life, and I hope that someday someone decides to make somthing I can afford at full price that makes me feel pretty again. In the meantime, I'm going shopping in my closet.

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