Monday, March 21, 2016

Shiny Polyester

When I was 11 and my sister was 6? 7? (I can't seem to remember our age difference), my parents plucked us out of our teeny tiny hometown of Ottawa, Illinois.

I remember looking at the back window of the car as we drove out of town. I was crying and promised my self that I would be back one way or the other within 6 months.

I was only 11. I was naive. What did I know?

This was 1980. If you do the math right, you'll get my age.

I hated school once I got here. I never was able to make friends and I was an outcast because I didn't wear designer jeans or Nike shoes. In fact, I was made fun of even more because a lot of my clothes were sewn by my grandmother.

I remember the first day back to school after Christmas. I loved Grandma's clothes and there was one special outfit that she had made for me that Christmas I thought for sure would make me popular with accepted by the girls and boys.

The boxes arrived by UPS and my mother would have to wrap everything in Christmas paper. Grandma smoked and all sewn items/gifts were wrapped in dryer sheets to soak up the cigarette smell.

Mom said that I was allergic to cigarette smoke, but just a few years later, I found out that was just one lie I was told. I had no problem smoking cigarettes at 15. Sheesh!

Christmas morning came and I unwrapped the gifts from Grandma. All beautiful! But like I said, there was one special outfit and it kind of looked like this:

It was all three pieces!
In white!
In shining polyester!

Oh, you didn't think I was talking about the dress, did you?

No. I received this gorgeous 3 piece white polyester suit. And I couldn't wait for Christmas break to be over.

The first day back to school was a day I looked forward to. However, I was hot. I mean really hot. I had still not acclimated to the weather and was still wearing shorts to school in December and felt perfectly fine. I'm used to snow and freezing cold. This polyester suit was hot!

I was sweating before I even got to school. I think I wore a pair of clogs with this outfit. Not too sure about what shirt I wore underneath but it didn't matter. I was lookin' good with my white polyester suit, my over sized framed glasses with the rhinestone "H" on the bottom right lens and my clogs.

I threw my backpack down next to the door of my class when my teacher walked out and saw me.

She looked me up and down and said, "Oh, Heatherrrrrrr". I took that as a compliment but looking back on it now, I think it was a warning.

She was probably thinking it but couldn't say it, "Oh, Heatherrrrrr, you are so going to get your ass kicked."

She smiled and I smiled and said, "My Grandma made this for me!"

I don't remember her reaction.

I do remember the snickers and the giggles and the pointing and the "God, you're so ugly" comments from the kids in my 6th grade class.

But for some reason, this time it didn't bother me. I would get my ass kicked years later for something else but I knew at this time that I looked good and that someone loved me enough to take the time to make this beautiful specimen that reflected the 80's.

I was smokin'!
I was an 11 year old in a shiny, white, polyester, 3 piece suit.
When I think about it today, it's a nice memory and I miss my grandma.

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