My brothers love me. Really. I know they do. I don’t bring up this childhood memory to point fingers or place blame or induce guilt or receive any sort of compensation for what they did to their baby sister. Seriously.
I am the youngest of five children. The next two siblings closest in age to me are brothers. We were known as “the kids”. The oldest two siblings, a brother and sister, were known as “the big kids”.
Every summer “the kids” spent most of the weekdays at our surrogate Grandma’s house. Not that we needed a surrogate Grandma. We had two fantastic loving grandma’s, but this grandma from church that had become a good friend of the family invited us over one summer to meet her grandson that was staying with her for the summer and we were all instant friends and we spent a good portion of our days from June to August at her house. The boys were all within a year of age and I was three years younger than the youngest of them, but…we were “the kids” and we stuck together (mom may have played a role in this). I was as much a part of the rubber band fights, lemonade stands and fort building as the boys, much to my delight (and their dismay). I would have been a part of the yard work as well had the boys not suggested that since I was a girl I ought to help in the house instead. After that I was dubbed “chief cook and bottle washer” by grandma and the boys had some time to themselves. I fumed in the air-conditioned house while washing dishes and learning how to make leftover stew while they sweated away in 115 degree heat while working on the yard. Ya, at the time I really would have preferred to be sweating in the heat as well.
One year towards the end of the summer, on one of the rare days that I didn’t go to grandma’s house with my brothers, she decided to reward them for their hard work by taking them to a department store in town to buy them a couple of school outfits. There were no blue light specials or $3 racks at this store. It didn’t sell hardware or dinnerware or pet food. It didn’t have cardboard bins of $1 flip flops at the entrance to the store…it had it’s own shoe department with a salesman for the men, one for the women, and even the kid’s had their very own shoe salesman! It was not a store that we had spent much time in. They came home sporting new OP and Quicksilver shorts and t-shirts and there may have even been some new athletic shoes involved…I don’t exactly remember.
The next day I went back to grandma’s and we all loaded into her lemon yellow car and went back to the department store to pick up my reward for my hard work in helping grandma feed the boys and clean up after them all summer long. As we walked through the fancy store my eyeballs were wide and my heart beat fast in excitement. I had never seen price tags like these on anything not in the electronic aisle. I was instantly drawn to a black jumpsuit with multi-colored bows up the front and baggy MC hammer style pants. I know. I had a great sense of style. Grandma walked up behind me as I admired it and said, “I asked your brothers what you needed for school and they said that you really need are some new pairs of socks. Let’s go look at those.” I stood in shock for a few seconds and then stumbled and mumbled incoherently after grandma, who was already nearing the sock display. Now, I have to admit the socks were rather impressive. They didn’t come in packs of 6 like I was used to. You had to by ONE pair at a time! And one pair cost as much as my packs of 6! I numbly and dejectedly picked out a few pair of socks in different colors and thanked grandma profusely because I didn’t want her to pick up on my disappointment and I wanted to be grateful!
They WERE the best socks I ever owned as a kid. My mom DID take me back and buy me the overpriced parachute/jumpsuit that I had admired to make me feel better, even though it cost as much as three of my regular school outfits would normally cost. My brothers DID get scolded and they did apologize as adults and admit to me that they had meant the suggestion as a joke and had felt bad about it. I will believe them when they take me back to the department store next time I visit and let me pick out my much deserved outfits!
(I searched and searched for a picture of me wearing the jumpsuit. Maybe I should be glad I didn’t find it so I could post it. And you KNOW if I had pictures of my brothers in their OP and Quicksilver outfits I would post them in a heartbeat. I remember one outfit with aqua colored shorts with a gray stripe and the shirt was gray with an aqua stripe. Another outfit was the same idea in peach and yellow. PEACH!)