Things that have happened over the past week have made me reflect much more on the people and things that have made me who I am. Obviously, one of the biggest influences was my Mom, who was I think the only person who wasn’t panicking this week.
When I was a boy, my mom used to buy all my clothes. To a lot of my friends, this is sort of a sacreligious thought, but I had no problem with it. As a kid, I hated shopping for clothes, and although that hasn’t carried over with the power that hating to clean my room has carried over, it still remains to this day.
With my mom, the source of almost all the odd expressions I use today, the watchword when it came to how I looked was “sharp”. No greater compliment could be paid to the outfit I was wearing or my appearance than “you look very sharp”. You don’t hear it nearly enough these days in my opinion. Perhaps it’s because we don’t look it nearly enough.
Tonight, Timmi showed me a series of Flickr sets devoted to the Sears Wishbook, and it all came pouring back to me.
We lived in a small town, and there were no real clothing stores nearby, so my mom did most of the clothes shopping in a way you just don’t hear about these days, via mail order Sears catalogue.
Personally, I only cared about the toy section, but to Mom, that wishbook and the other catalogues through the year were her way of clothing my brother and me.
About four times a year, I would come home from school and Mom would say, “I have a few things you need to try on”, and I would groan, internally. Sitting on the kitchen table would be several packages in brown parcel paper wrapping that Mom had received in the mail that day. Unwrapping would reveal one nightmare after the next, at least to today’s eyes.
That’s one of the reasons that I linked to that photoset, I swear, I’ve worn many of these before. My senior public school was called DM Sutherland, and DM’s school colours were green and red. Somewhat garish at the best of times, but not really colours that anyone, much less a boy going to his first day of grade 6 would want to garb himself in, but Mom thought it was important to show I supported my school, so on the first day, when most kids were showing up in their nicest new (and ordinary) jeans and shirts, I was wearing a green leisure suit with a red turtleneck underneath.
This is one of the reasons that Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater (one of the greatest Canadian stories ever written) touches such a soft spot in my heart, because I was the boy in the story, only instead of a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey sweater, with me, it would have been a polyester leisure suit with a print shirt with a butterfly collar.