I have some pretty strong memories of my childhood clothes. I knew at a young age that
One of my fondest articles of clothing was a pair of pinstriped black ankle biter jeans. Do you remember those? You had to flex your ankle just so to get your foot through. When we moved from the West Coast to Canada's Capital Region I desperately wanted to wear those jeans on my first day of school, with my white satin and navy trimmed baseball bomber jacket. Unfortunately for me, my Mom had a different outfit planned. I arrived at my new school in a yellow flowered, puffy sleeved, full skirt, sash that was tied in the back DRESS. The dress really was pretty but I knew I was dressed all wrong. I could feel my cheeks turn red as I was introduced to the class, using my first AND middle name. I wanted to disappear.
It was a struggle for our family those first couple of years and even harder after Mom and Dad split. I know I mentioned before that I always felt as though I didn't fit in. But there was one year that I felt great on that oh so pivotal first day of school.
Mom took us out Back to School shopping. She told us we each had a certain amount of money to spend. I knew what I wanted. I had to have some Levis jeans. EVERYONE had them. I chose black. Big surprise.
My second choice was footwear. I knew I wanted some Penny Loafers but it wasn't in the budget for real ones. In fact it would have wiped out the budget and I wouldn't get any clothes. I chose my second fav.
The shoes I choose were and are iconic. They have been around for decades. Originally Athletes wore this style of shoe in 1910 to play basketball and they officially became branded in 1923. It could probably be argued that the most successful athletic shoe companies today wouldn't be here if not for these shoes.
Chuck Taylor's my friend.
I didn't choose what most girls were wearing. I wanted to be a little different. Mine were high tops in a shade of Mint green that could have been ice cream. I loved them.
So on that first day of school in 1988, entering grade 10, I chose them to wear on my first day. I remember it was hot, as it usually is the first weeks of school but I didn't care. I pulled on my Black Levis that had already been tapered, a mint green sweatshirt and laced up my mint green Chucks. Man I felt good.
It wasn't long after the first day of school that one of the toes became a canvas for the British flag. I did grow up in the 80's and my brother, I always joke became an "instant punk". One day wearing a Ralph Lauren Polo, the next in combats and a Mohawk. He was good at drawing and readily adorned mine. I confess I really didn't and still don't today get the meaning behind the flag on the shoe but I did like a little Sid and Nancy back then.
There are some things you take with you and some things you leave behind when you are growing up. A lot of memories came with me. Both good and bad. I always say I wouldn't be the person I am today if not for those years. We all wouldn't really. But I really wish I would have kept those shoes. They serve as a gentle reminder to me of harder times, love, and working hard for what you want.
I pray everyday that when the time comes my kids will fit in. I want them to appreciate what they have, regardless of whether or not it is popular. I don't want them to feel that insecurity that I felt in school. I want them to know the value of money, to know that you have to work hard to get the things you truly want, that money doesn't buy everything. I want them to be good kids. I know it is my job to get them there and I hope I do a good job.
And when something is given to them, I hope they appreciate the value of that gift, however small. To realize that someone worked hard to give them something because they thought they were special and worth it.