Susie was my best friend in school. We were very close. I spent a lot of time at her house and knew her mom and dad well. They were great parents to her, good role models for me, and I especially enjoyed her mother’s company. Mrs. Wilson was a petite woman, who put on a few pounds over the years, making her appear short and plump. She was rather frumpy in appearance and most certainly reached a point in her life where she dressed only for comfort. Susie and I were fashionable; in tune with the styles of the day and very particular about our wardrobe, make up, and hair.
I was mentally critical of her mom’s attire. Although I never voiced my disdain in her choice of apparel publicly, I would make unfavorable notations of her dress style in my mind. The lacy nylon socks with the canvas tennis shoes sent me into spasms of mental laughter. The frumpy house dresses with bright patterns were appalling to me. How in the world could anyone spend good money on something that didn’t even have a coordinating belt and pumps to match?
The bobby pins that held her curly locks in place looked tacky; had she never heard of teasing for control? I especially detested her ugly winter coat. It was drab biege with an exceptionally sparse faux fur collar. It never draped her shoulders without being accompanied by a bright blue scarf adorned with a pattern of huge white hibiscus flowers, tied snuggly under her chin. When the scarf was removed, her hair looked like she had just taken off one of those old fashioned rubber swimming caps. At this point in time on the fashion clock, pastel pink lipstick was the rage. Mrs. W. wore fire engine red with coordinating rouge instead of the more stylish blush. She was a perfect example of the “Before” displayed in any makeover. She made Ugly Betty look like she belonged on the cover of Vogue. Despite her unbecoming choice of attire, I loved her dearly. Her smile was sincere. She was always waiting at the door to greet me with a warm hug when I arrived. Her cookies were the best on the block. She was never too busy to listen to a problem with a sympathetic ear. I think of her occasionally and have warm fuzzy feelings remembering the affection she displayed for me. I also shudder when I remember her lack of fashion sense.
Flash forward forty years and forty pounds later. I am Susie’s mother. If it isn’t loose fitting; I won’t wear it. If it doesn’t have a stretch waistband; it doesn’t hang in my closet. I love to hang out on the underwear aisle looking for anything 100% cotton (lingerie department-what is THAT?) I especially enjoy buying nylon socks and color coordinating them to match my assortment of fuzzy house slippers. House dresses, what was I thinking so long ago? They are wonderfully comfortable, loose fitting and easy to care for. Who ever heard of sending a cotton house dress to the cleaners? “Wash and wear” thats my motto. Maybe I was too critical of Mrs. W. I think she was on the right track after all.
My oldest made a new best friend. He is spending a lot of time at Jimmy’s house nowadays. After spending the night last weekend, he came home and informed me he had met Jim’s grandmother. “You would like her”, he told me. “She reminds me of you. She wears her house shoes all the time and the same kind of uhh, you know that kinda dress thing you’re wearing now…and she slicks her hair back in a ponytail too.”