She complained that her husband’s underwear was so ragged that the crotch would wave in the
wind as he walked. She said he refused to let go of the underwear although she had purchased
several new pairs just for him. The wife just could not understand as to why he loved those old
Over the years, I have listened to women complain that their spouses refuse to say goodbye to old
clothing and each of these women seemed clueless as to why. As I have talked to the men in my
family, I have learned that some men who love these old raggedy clothes deem them a necessity in
their lives; seemingly as a comforter. I presume it is similar to a child with a pacifier - a must have
As a woman who always wore matching dress, shoes and purse, I thought these "classy" yet
tattered men just failed to look good for the women in their lives; forgetting mom’s adage, "Make
sure you have on clean underwear just in case you get into an accident."
Okay mom, we heard ya.
Now I know these men knew what mom meant and that they were very obedient to their
mothers. Yes, they were men who actually listened to what mom said. She said that the
underwear had to be clean NOT store bought. There is a huge difference.
While growing up, my parents had seven crumb-snatchers to feed and clothe as well as
themselves. Counting the number of people on your fingers, that includes nine people to feed and
clothe. Often time, we would receive hand-me-downs from family friends and/or shop at our
nearest K-Mart. We could not always afford brand new clothing, but my Mother said that as long
as the clothes were clean, then we were in good shape.
"If you just have one dress, make sure that one dress is clean; no missing buttons or holes,"
my Mother would often say.
Okay mom, I heard ya.
| Ode To The Old Clothes
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|Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013
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|This entry was posted on Saturday, June 15, 2013 and is filed under Keeba’s Commentary
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|Keeba Smith is a published writer and desired screenplay artist. She is the author of “Shades of Bright Pale,” and many other
unacquainted writings. Please visit www.Keeba.org to find out more about Keeba Smith, read additional critiques and her
unpublished autobiography, “Spirit in the Dark.”
|I got my first job when I was 15 and found that I was able to purchase what I deemed a necessity of an
overabundance of clothes and shoes. Each pair of my 200-plus shoes matched each of my purses, which matched my
new dresses and/or attire. I thought I looked good. Every chance I got, I would drive to the mall and pickup a dress or
two along with the matching "necessary" accessories of more shoes, purses, earrings, fingernail polish, bracelets and other
items to fill my over crowded bedroom. (Ms. Stewart and the other homemaking-decorating-queens would be proud that
I was able to store over 200 pairs of shoes in such a small closet space.)
Often I would receive opposition from those who did not understand that just because you have a brown pair of shoes
does not necessarily mean that you have taupe, tan, bole, chocolate, sepia, sienna, russet, or even auburn. In addition, the
color black comes in more than one shade and any intelligent person is aware of the different styles and shades of gold,
gray, silver, blue, light blue, baby blue, sky blue, green, winter green and hunter green. Even white has different,
noticeable shades: bone, bone-white, off white, pearly white, egg shell white, golden pearl, etc.
While I was purchasing all of these nonsense items, it never occurred to me that I was spending my college money, a
down payment for a home, additional life insurance, payment for a car and other important things, but I was looking and
feeling good, at least for the moment. I did not stop spending money like crazy until my Dad told me to give him some of
my earnings to put away. Although I had heard the term, save for a rainy day, I still could not see the logic.
Humph, who did he think he was? It was MY money! I earned it and should be able to spend it any way I wanted.
Uh huh, at least so I thought. My dad drove me to Colorado National Bank and purchased a few savings bonds. Please!
What the heck was I suppose to do with those pieces of paper? In my ignorance, I thought they did not have any value.
Although I was not pleased, I suppose that just how it was going to have to be; at least until I was able to afford to live
under my own roof.
While I was able to increase my waistline at McDonalds, and purchase more cheap shoes, I bought food for the house
and paid both the electricity and water bill. (I had to do my little part.)
Today, I am thankful I was able to learn from my Mother after she endured much pain while continuously wearing
cheap shoes. Oh, and thanks to my Dad saving my little funds, I was able to purchase a reliable vehicle. Of course, I
was not too bright when I allowed my car insurance to lapse at the same time as this marijuana-head drunk smashed into
the back of my car. Yes, I suffered in more ways then one when I walked away with severe whiplash and an uninsured
vehicle that now looked like a badly smashed-inflexible boot on highway I-70.
Thanks to my Dad helping me pay some of my creditors who sought me out in the daylight with a flashlight seeking their
money when I lost my job, I was able to avoid bankruptcy.
Thanks to the education system and commonsense that the word, "temporary" is just that, temporary; short-lived and
passing. Yes, my job title read, "Temporary Supplemental" and was only gainful and attainable while I was in High
School. (I was very bright as you can tell.)
Thanks to the excess McDonalds weight-program, I learned that additional money would have to be made to cover
my body expansion. Moreover, I learned I would no longer eat fast foods until I gained some type of employment.
Thanks to God, commonsense and experience, that I learned that beauty is temporary and brains are forever, well…
There came a time when I did not mind wearing the same alternated clothes in my closet. And the shoes, well they
became hard and discolored while sitting in the uncovered shoeboxes. There came a time when I either grew up or did
not have much concern as to what I wore, but just that the clothes were clean and neatly pressed. Only age, wisdom and
experience would allow me to consider owning a dry-cleaning business as well as buying stock in "No-Nonsense
Pantyhose." But I was young and the future was never a factor in my temporary mind.
Although I was gaining weight, I wished I had gained some knowledge regarding healthy and nutritious eating or lack
thereof while dinning at all of those fast food restaurants.
Today, I am a few pounds lighter, but certainly much more aware (not necessarily smarter) of my expenditures. So
much so, that I remember my Mother telling me that I could own one dress just as long as it is clean and pressed. Now,
when I go shopping for clothes, I seek the cheapest outlets and for shoes, JC Penny, Sears and shoe outlets.
I am not proud of the experiences, but am thankful I learned from them, as I certainly would not wish them to define me.
In addition, I do not wish to be characterized as a cheap person, but know a good bargain when I see one.
Howeverrrrrrrr, my Mother thought I was tacky when I went to the thrift store and purchased several blouses to wear
throughout the summer months.
"No," I said. "When we were young, we received hand-me-downs and
there wasn’t any problem, so I certainly don’t see a problem with
wearing used (recycled) clothes now."
"But that was then and this is now. You can afford to buy clothes
from the mall and not some cheap place like the thrift store."
"But mom, you wouldn’t have known if I didn’t tell you now, would
"No, but since I do, well lets just say that you’re just so cheap that
you won’t even buy cheap descent clothes."
"Mom, you and Daddy told me about saving money." (See I actually
I continued to state my case, "When you see Bill Gates, he doesn’t look
as though he stepped off the run-way, but as if he purchased those
wrinkled khaki pants from the second hand store."
I hoped she was not so ashamed of me, but I did look good or presentable anyway. I mean, the blouse was neatly ironed
and it was certainly clean. Besides, I had a few extra bucks saved in the bank!
Some years ago, I embarked on an endeavor that greatly took me by surprise. While at home, I did not see any reason to
continue to play dress-up, but instead took on more of Mr. Gates tactics and dressed down. With my flexible weight, I
took on elastic pants from Wal-Mart and other discounted outlets. Ah! I felt good! Well, maybe not so much, but at
least my stomach was not eating the waistline of my pants. I purchased eight or nine pairs of those comfortable fat pants
and wore them 7 days a week. Wash and wear was great; no more dry cleaning bills! Yes!
and expect them to last more than 1,095 days? Well, I did not. Not until
one of the many black pairs began to produce openings in various places
in the material. At first, the material receded and produced a small hole
in one leg, and then in the other and then the knee and shortly after, near
the ankle area. It was not until later that a small rip in the seam of the
crotch that I noticed I might run into problems. I continued to wash and
wear the pants until one day I discovered a large, oversized cavity in the
knee and crotch and that I would have to do the unthinkable and pull out
the old needle and thread.
of my time for me to repair my oldies but goodies and to top it off, I looked and felt good; at least for the moment.
One day while visiting my Mom, I suppose I was not sitting in the fashionable lady-like stance; I really do not recall.
Anyway, my Mother looked at me and made some reply regarding the unsaved pants. She laughed. I laughed. She
continued to laugh and point while I sat with a disfigured look.
After a few bouts with self, I decided to put the stretch pants to rest and try a size 10 Rider jeans. I felt good knowing
that my butt was not trying to swallow the back of my jeans.
Every now and then, I pull on a pair of the old goodies but goodies and I feel fine, although others seem to have a problem
with the holes and permanent stains. I am not going to a fancy diner, and gone are my so-called modeling days.
Furthermore, every time Mr. Good Wrench a.k.a. Home-Improvement-Tim Allen-wannabe asks if I want to take a drive,
and I say I need to change clothes, he just simply responds, "Who are you dressing up for? Its just you and me… you like
So, if Mr. Bad Wrench does not have a problem with it, then neither do I. Again, I do not wish to be defined as to who I
am or am not.
Proudly, I still own a few pairs of old trusties, but my Walmart jeans are wearing fine - for now.
trustworthy clothes I have ever had the great opportunity in owning. I have been good to them and
them me, as I certainly received my monies worth. And to all those men who enjoy the waving
crotch, keep it up - or down - just as long as you are comfortable.
I will not judge, but will simply say, "I understand."