Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hand-me-downs

My brother will be 27 years old in less than a month. Yesterday I discovered two of his t-ball team t-shirts, circa 1985. Why in the world would I have these priceless antiques? Because I spent 3 hours sorting thru 2 tons of hand-me-down clothes that have been stacked in my garage for two weeks. I have a love/hate relationship with hand-me-down clothes. I love to get them and to give them, but I hate sorting them. Out of the mountains of stinky, stuffy apparel (they were stored in a basement before they landed in my garage) I kept at least 10 pairs of jeans, lots of dress pants, countless shirts, shoes with pop out roller skates in the soles, and one pair of long underwear for Ryker, 5 coats, 3 dresses, 6 or 7 shirts for myself, one pair of jeans for Brian, and a tub full of clothes to stow away for Cainan when he gets bigger too. Hooray!!

However, I also waded thru sweatpants so thin you could see through them, 35 pair of underwear (I refuse to make my kids wear hand-me-down underwear, does that make me weird?), all manner of thin, skinny, tight fitting t-shirts, including a football St. Louis Cardinals one and one from a Renaissance Fair in Minnesota in 1989 (who in my family ever attended a Renaissance Fair?), denim maternity dresses, stained flannel pajamas, and last but not least...jams! 80's children, you know what those are. I did not remember so much turquoise, hot pink, neon green and purple being involved in the fashion of the early and mid 80's, but apparently those were the hot colors. Come to think of it I did have a couple of swimsuits in those colors. But all was not lost. The items that were still in good shape but the wrong sizes or styles for us, I plan to wash, pack up and take to a consignment shop. Maybe I'll even make a few bucks. As for the rest...

I am a pitcher...not of baseballs or horseshoes, but of unnecessary or useless items. I don't know why the animal print Kathie Lee Collection skort, Jump Rope for Life 1992 t-shirt, or bleach stained XXL Tweety bird sweatshirt weren't thrown out long ago (actually I do, but since I am not a licensed psychologist I won't make you listen to my theories) but they met their doom yesterday. After consulting with my mom about the flammability of mildewed clothing (I learned that you can't just burn the whole pile, you have to have a good fire and then throw the clothes on little by little) I started a large bonfire in my back yard. For two entire hours I sat in my lawn chair next to the fire reading "Prince Caspian" from The Chronicles of Narnia and throwing clothes onto the fire. Occasionally I would have to add a log or stir the fire with my pitchfork to make sure everything was consumed, but mostly I just sat and read and pitched. It felt good! Safety update: Polyester melts in 2 seconds, just like styrofoam, but flannel takes a while to really burn. Yet another good reason not to sleep in old leisure suits.

So what became of the t-ball t-shirts. I saved them. I plan to take them to my brother when I see him over Thanksgiving. I do have a sentimental side. I know that never again will anyone want to wear the powder blue shirts that say "Radiac Abrasives" on the back. But I thought he and his wife and daughter might enjoy seeing them again and reminiscing. Maybe Kari can incorporate them into a scrapbook page or something. That is what I plan to do with the old ratty navy blue Calvary Free Will Baptist Church t-shirt that I kept.

All-in-all hand-me-downs are a good thing. We ended up with a lot of free clothes out of the deal, I got to reminisce about the days when I had horrible fashion sense but skinny thighs, and I got to spend 2 hours sitting outside reading around a campfire on a balmy November day. Not bad. When Brian got home and I reported happily that I had successfully sorted all 15 garbage bags of clothes and burnt the useless ones in the yard while reading a book and holding a pitchfork his only response was, "I hope none of the neighbors saw you."

2 comments:

Tia said...

It's great to keep up with your family! Love ya!

Jill Tilley said...

How funny! How you! Those were probably my jams.

Love, Jill