I have very few memories of childhood shopping trips…
Unless they were to stores where you bought Hardy Boy books, or toys, or what we would call electronics today. I do remember enjoying going to a really huge store called the Globe. It was closed on Saturday, but open on Sunday. Back then, Texas had a Blue Law and every store was required to be closed one day on the weekend, except maybe restaurants. I do know many gas stations closed, or rotated their closures with other stations in the area.
I remember the Globe having a great sporting goods section and we would hang out there while mom and dad did whatever other shopping that was required. Clothes shopping was often JCP, Sears, or Montgomery Wards – if my mind serves me correctly. I remember going in, getting what we wanted, and getting out quickly! That still works for me today.
But when you grow up and there are four kids in the family, and the three oldest are boys, then you deal with the problems of growth spurts, pants getting shorter by the week! (So, you buy them a little long and roll the cuffs up at the ankle!) If you did not wear them out with holes in knees, then the clothes made the rounds between the families and we got full use out of them…
School always had a dress code. Girls had to wear dresses, until about 1970. Boys had to have their shirt tails tucked in, buttoned all the way nearly to the top button, belts worn, and shoes required socks… but the main thing that never affected me, your hair could not hang over your ears, or your collar.
My main memories from my early years revolve around preparing for a new school year and buying new sets of clothes. So many pairs of jeans and shirts, don’t forget the belts and underwear, socks… and shoes. You then designated your old clothes as play clothes and tried to make the new clothes last as long as possible. And if your old shoes were not trash material, then you reserved those for after school play.
You bought jeans that had extra thick knee panels in them to last longer as you slid into home base. For the most part, it was simply the traditional dark blue jeans, but every so often a lighter pair was required for Little League. Lighter color always showed the stains of hard fought play! I do remember sew-on and iron-on patches to make them last just a little bit longer!
For some reasons I don’t remember shirts having any special shopping requirements… Button down collars, or simply T shirts… I guess. That’s so strange! I remember my grandmother making us button shirts with pockets so small and high they were good for nothing. Many of my school pictures have me wearing T Shirts, so I guess that was popular enough… But I do remember having a favorite style of button shirt – and I called it the Germ Shirt because every design looked like it was covered in germs!
Shoes always took special consideration, from what I remember. You did not want a pair that would scuff too easily, nor did you want a pair that would be slow when you played – you wanted the fastest shoes, the ones that made you jump the highest, and you wanted some that strengthened your feet for the constant battle of play! That meant high tops one year, low tops another year, and for the life of me I cannot find a picture of that favored low top track shoe that made you run as fast as the Flash!
Eventually, all clothes reach the end of useful life. Tattered rags used for cleaning and dusting. And maybe, if you were not too embarrassed to share them with someone else, then maybe they got a second helping of life!
Today I’m not so sure about resale shops, but a few years ago it was the “rage” to load up on clothes no one else needed, or wanted. Goodwill was the only one I remember, and their main location was always fun to go to. I know we bought clothes from there at times, but I was more excited about the books!
Regardless of the times, it seems boys are quickly interested in something to wear, and then see how quickly they can wear it out – never thinking about the cost of replacement. As I age I have noticed that clothes last me longer. A pair of casual shoes eventually become yard shoes for the purpose of walking the dogs, or mowing.
If anything I have gets close to lifelessness, then I hide them in a sack of Goodwill offerings and share… Who knows…I may still have some old clothes floating around the various resale shops…