Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Memory Lane

(I'm killing time until I leave for my face repair so I figured I'd share another teen-aged memory with you.)

Yesterday I spotted a student wearing a vivid combination of a bright yellow top and a flirty turquoise mini skirt. The skirt reminded me of the very first piece of clothing I ever bought with my own money.

When I was a kid, and through my early college years, my father had an office in the Chanin Building in Manhattan. (Go ahead, click on the link, there are some wonderful Art Deco friezes (?) on this building that have to been seen, not described.) This building has, as many in the area do, a direct connection to the Grand Central subway lines. Whenever we went to the office via subway, we would wend our way through the maze of passages that is the huge station and find the exit that led to a tunnel in the basement of the Chanin Building. These building tunnels are populated with retail stores and the store right by the stairs leading to the Chanin's lobby, was a women's boutique.

During my senior year in high school, I was working once a week or so for my dad and I would pass this store frequently. This was the mid-eighties and mini skirts were back, as were bright colors. In the window of this store hung an array of poofy, bright colored mini skirts (think cheerleader and you'll be close). I HAD to have one and it HAD to be turquoise. I don't know why, but this skirt was meant to be mine!

I saved my allowance raided my piggy bank and after weeks of hemming and hawing, finally bought my very first piece of clothing. I paired it with a bright pink top and proudly wore it to school -- where I learned that riding the subway in a mini skirt is an uncomfortable mental experience. But I was everything I thought I'd be in that skirt, flirty and fun and much more "out there" then usual.

That skirt stayed in my closet, a symbol of my entre' into adulthood, for many, many years. I wore it infrequently, and never again on the subway. It always brought out my fun side and I wish I'd had the self confidence to wear it more often.

My father, by the way, said "I would have paid for that. We pay for your clothing." Gee, if that was still true ... (Just kidding, Daddy.) That statement has worked it's way into my own style of parenting where I pay for all the necessities. But the question of when to let them pay for something themselves is a tricky one. They should not have to buy food or clothes but wanting to is a step into adulthood and who am I to stop the passage of time. The compromise -- we pay for the basics but if they want a snack on their way home from school or want to buy lunch instead of taking what their father made for them, then they can use their allowance.

(Only 1.5 hours to go ...)


Susan said...

Too funny! The first item of clothing that I remember buying and paying for was a mini dress...the first time around. eek!

Remember I'm there and so are all your friends and family. Gonna get kinda crowded but since most of us are invisible we won't take much space.

Ina said...

Sending good (invisible) thoughts this morning!

Anne K. said...

Hope the repair went well! We're thinking of you!

Loved the turquoise skirt story. What a precious memory. My teenage years were a decade earlier than yours, but I fondly remember saving my waitressing tips to buy fabulous blue suede clogs with enormously thick wooden soles. Oh, I loved them so. When I walked down the hall at school, I clomped so loudly, you could have heard me in the next county. They were wonderful. I wore them to pom-pom girl practice and marched in them for hours. Totally impractical - but this bothered me not at all.

No offense to the men in our lives, but I bet they never remember stuff like this...!!! :-)

Let us know how you're doing when you can!!!