Saturday, April 12, 2014

It's the thought that counts .....

One of the many differences in my new "home" was the weather.  I'd been living in the Midwest, and had seen a fair amount of cold and snow -- but not nearly the amount that I'd experience in New England, and my wardrobe wasn't adequate.
At the first snow, realizing that my lightweight coat wouldn't be warm enough, my uncle's wife reached into the hall closet and pulled out the blue ski jacket that had previously been worn by her daughter.  She gave it to me and told me to wear it.

I'd never even seen a ski jacket before.  The one I was given
looked very much like this and had belonged to my adoptive sister.

I wasn't happy about wearing someone else's coat, but knew better than to complain (too much).  In the end, it didn't matter because it was already on the small size and would only fit me that one season.

Since I had to navigate through snowy weather, I was told I needed a pair of boots.  I begged ..... pleaded ..... for a pair of go-go boots.  These were extremely popular at the time (late 60's), and I was absolutely smitten with the style.  I even had a "Go-Go" lunchbox .....
I LOVED this lunchbox and wanted a pair of go-go boots to go with it.
..... until my oh-so-sophisticated new classmates laughed at it and informed me that it was simply not cool.  I never carried it again.
But go-go boots?  Even my classmates admitted those were cool, and more than a few of the girls wore them.

So I was excited when my uncle's wife one day presented me with a large shoe box, because I just knew what would be inside.  Unfortunately, instead of the much-desired go-go boots, what I found was a pair of galoshes.  Large, floppy, white, hideously ugly galoshes.


I was horrified and, admittedly, ungrateful -- and I refused to wear them, even in the deepest snow.

The next winter, it was obvious that I'd need a new winter coat, and there wasn't another hand-me-down to wear.  So my uncle's wife decided that one of my Christmas gifts would be a new coat.  I wasn't consulted or asked what style I'd like, so was dismayed on Christmas morning when I walked into the living room and saw my gift on display:
I suppose I should have been grateful it wasn't another hand-me-down

This isn't the actual coat, of course, but it's a close approximation.  I couldn't find a picture that really looked like it, most likely because the coat was so ugly that all examples were burned sometime during the last century.  But rest assured, it was plaid, shapeless and ugly. 
Unfortunately, although I could go without boots, it was simply too cold to forego the coat, but I hated it and wore it only with great reluctance.
That same Christmas, my uncle's wife also gifted me a stuffed animal.  But not just any stuffed animal.
No sweet, cuddly teddy bears for me.
No, she gave me a stuffed snake.  Because every pre-teen girl wants a stuffed snake, right?  Although it seemed a strange choice, I did actually like it at the time.  Looking back with adult eyes, though, I have to wonder whether it represented her view of me?
Many children make lists of gifts they'd like for holidays and birthdays, but I quickly learned that doing so was pointless.  Creating such a list earned me the title of "greedy brat" and regardless of how reasonable the request, I never -- NEVER -- received anything I asked for. 
The old adage is that, when it comes to gifts, "It's the thought that counts."  If that's true, then what thought went into purchasing the gifts given to me by my uncle's wife?   They were invariably of poor quality ..... ugly ..... unwanted. 
Fairly reflective, actually, of her opinion of me.