Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Memories – Hand Me Downs

I got a little bag of hand-me-downs last week with five or six dresses in it.  My friend apologized when she gave them to me saying, "They aren't much."  She didn’t need to apologize, I love hand me downs.  Hand-me-downs means I don’t have to go clothes shopping (something I don’t much enjoy).  Hand-me-downs means free.  Hand-me-downs means someone else already liked it so I don’t have to second guess my judgment.  I loved the bag of clothes, especially because there was a purple dress in the sack.  I’ve wanted a purple dress. 

I’ve always liked hand-me-downs.  I have six sisters and we came in all shapes and sizes.  I got a lot of hand-me-downs from them and some fit better than others. Besides getting my sisters’ clothes, I also got clothes from people in the community.  One of my favorite hand-me-down providers was Terry from California.  Her grandparents ran the town service station and when Terry came to visit it meant I was going to get some very loud, bright, psychedelic outfits that were a couple inches shorter than normal.

Our kids also wore many hand-me-downs.  Abe’s favorite coat was a 49’ers jacket from my niece, and when he finally outgrew it he passed it on to Ty for a couple more years of wear.  It was a three-lifer coat during Steve Young's hay day.

When Ty was three years old, our good friends had a son who passed away.  Though our friend Jared was twelve when he died, he had severe handicaps so he was only Ty’s size.  Every time I see a picture of Ty wearing Jared's clothes (especially that blue and white striped shirt) I think of what a sweet little boy he was, and I also think of Jared and what a special little boy he was.

Cali got clothes from cousins and friends.  And if shoes were in the box, she was going to wear them whether they fit or not.  Once she got a little black pair of Mary Jane's when she was about three.  She followed me out to the garden in them and then played the rest of the afternoon in the dirt.  That night she was so sad when it was time to take them off, she begged me to leave them on.  The tips of the shoes were filled with dirt and sand and had formed a cast around her toes.  It looked like a fossil bed.  Her toes had been wedged in tight all day long with no room to wiggle.  She should have cried with relief when I finally took them off.

Ande's hand-me-downs were not quite as grand as the others' were.   We've got more than one picture of her in a boy's t-shirt.  I swear it was a tomboy stage she went through, but she insists it was because Ty was her hand-me-down source.

I've never outgrown hand-me-downs.  Once when I was called to be the stake young women’s president I didn’t have enough nice dresses for a calling where I would be in public so often (especially in front of young women who can be very critical observant as to what you're wearing).  No worries.  The Lord was as nervous about the problem as I was and I received a box of really nice clothes soon after I was called.  They came from the friend of a friend in another state.  She didn’t know of my situation, she just knew she needed to clean out her closets and she’d seen me at a wedding a few months earlier and thought they’d fit.  There is nothing like a good coincidence is there?

Another time I got a batch of clothes from a neighbor and all the sizes were snipped out of them.  Now that was nice.  I never knew if I was wearing an 8 or an 18.  I was as trim as I wanted to be on any given day.

One of my sisters routinely sends me clothes that she no longer needs.  In fact I now have a jogging suit.  No more over-sized t shirts and shorts for me; when it gets cold I’m going to match.  Without her, I could have given the emperor in his new clothes a run for his money.

Hand-me-downs aren't for everyone, but they've sure been a lifesaver and blessing for me.

What was your favorite hand-me-down outfit?  


melanie said...

Hand-me-downs really are the best. I love to receive them (and did by the box load for Kat for many years) and I in turn love to pass them on. Now with a 4th boy, I'm mostly passing on like you with your sisters. I do love remembering every boy in the same outfit though. Their clothes invoke nostalgia I guess.

I don't remember many hand-me-downs for myself. I do remember passing them on to my cousins 2.5 years older than me. They weren't really thrilled. (they are twins and only 4'10 and 5' so even at 8 I was taller than them. I can't imagine liking them either. A younger cousin, ew. Poor girls.)

Ben or Cortney said...

Ben's boss from his previous job gave us hand me downs, they have dressed my daughter almost this whole time! I am excited when I get to pass down our clothes to the next family. Emma had the cute little shoes just when she was starting to walk that were pink and green leather, super comfy and adorable. Sigh** She is so big now.

Cali said...

Great blog mom. It gave me a great trip down memory lane. My favorite hand-me-downs were from the Nat Soo Pah pool's lost and found they gave us each year. I also remember a bag I got from our cousin Brooke. Just thinking about some of the clothes in there makes the feeling of excitement come flooding back. My first grade clothes were hand me downs from Bo. I remember going through the bag and finding the outfit I would wear on my very first day of school... Stonewashed jeans (with pleats) and the cow wearing sunglasses shirt. Do you want me to go on?

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Cali, I forgot all about the swimming pool's box of stuff every year. Now that was an eclectic collection.

I do remember your first day of school outfit, but I did not remember where it came from.

Deidra said...

More than once I've wished we lived closer to family so I could take advantage of the hand me downs for Millie. There are big Rubbermaid totes that circulate. My aunt has passed on her boys clothes to my sisters with boys. My nephew was wearing a coat and my aunt figured it had seen use by 7 little boys! When they're little, they don't wear them out quite the same.

Thankfully, we have a few friends that are hooking us up on the hand me down front and I'm so glad they are! I was excited to pass along the favor, but the last little girl in our ward was 9 lbs 1 oz. Her mom and I joked that pretty soon Millie will be wearing her hand me downs!

My sisters and I never really shared clothes. We were all built so differently, and with 4 years between sisters on either side of me, we just didn't. Though I'm surprised about the fact.

Haley Krumblis said...

Once again this blog makes me sad:( I longed for hand me downs. I would've given anything for hand me downs. The only little bag of hand me downs I ever got was from Aunt Krista when I was in 5th grade. After that I got too tall. Oh sad, I've always felt like I missed out...

Heather Williams said...

I am so grateful for hand me downs...especially for my kids! But for me as well. In fact on Saturday a friend dropped a box off on my porch with hand me downs to go through...i scored a brand new pair of jeans...i needed jeans too! So, yes I am very grateful for hand me downs:)

Mary said...

I grew up in hand me downs from Jeannie. She was my big brothers age and about 3 years older than me. I just remember a plaid wool skirt that I got at about age 12. My own kids (6 boys) grew up in hand me downs. My girl, at the end was out of luck. She didn't fit in anything, and most were worn out anyway! Now that I am older, I usually pass my own things on to Goodwill, feeling badly that I don't know someone that could use them without having to pay for them! I wish I had someone to pass things to me.

Rachel said...

I remember enjoying hand me downs, but I also remember Lynn and Mom going through my closet one day when I was gone. They cut it in half and took my favorite pair of yellow overalls to give to D____. I can't think of her name. She was living with Lynn at the time. I came home before they had given them away and cried. I said they could have all the rest, but could I please keep those overalls. Lynn said, I was being spoiled, and they took them anyway. I never liked that girl from that day forward, and I obviously still carry a grudge toward Lynn and Mom for it. So, moral of the story? Don't give them away unless you have permission, even if they are spoiled...(which I WASN'T! ;) )

Ande Payne said...

My favorite hand-me-downs were from Haley, Tanae, and Cali. Sometimes I still hope Cali will give me hand-me-downs.

Your blog is funny mom and I love you.

michelle said...

I was the oldest, so I don't remember ever having hand-me-downs, but I sure have appreciated the ones I have received for my children! And now I enjoy passing them on for someone else to use.

One of my favorites was a dress that my aunt Denise made for her daughters, and she gave it to me for Eva. Blue print, circle skirt, black velvet peter pan collar, tiny white buttons!