Back to School Shopping

I can’t be certain if my mom actually put a curse on me, or if there is just a curse inherent in parenthood, but something is coming back to haunt me, and I’m pretty sure my mom said it would.

As a kid, I was a tomboy. Back to school shopping was painful because my mother — THE former Miss Green Giant in the Buhl Idaho beauty pageant — wanted me to doll up for school. She would have liked for me to wear dresses, but they didn’t make Pittsburg Steelers dresses, so I put up a fair amount of protest.
And then there was the long, particularly brutal day of BTS shopping, when I decided to take a political stance against all the school shoes my mom selected for me. Nothing could console my 10-year-old self but a pair of sturdy, completely ugly hiking boots, and Ms. Green Giant was not going for it. At all.

Waffle Stompers … Denied

The battle waged through store after store, hour after slow hour. Not only did GG not cave in to the purchase of what she referred to as “waffle stompers,” but I faintly remember her hissing a curse at me under her breath … “wait until you have a daughter” and the only punctuation was the venom of a frustrated school shopping mother.

Fast forward to 2012. Our 15-year-old daughter, Her Royal Highness, is back to school shopping for her sophomore year at Salmon High School. Her volleyball coach has informed the team that on game days they should dress up. I know her coach means “don’t wear pajamas,” but HRH — fueled by the curse and the strain of Ms. Green Giant DNA — hears something else. She selects a series of cocktail dresses and stilettos and now all she needs is a few notebooks and we can all go home.

Slow down, HRH, I plea. We’re trying to clothe you for the 10th grade, not Project Runway. Pants! Let’s buy pants! And shirts with sleeves! Ok, shirts with sleeves made out of fabric that isn’t fishnet. And sensible shoes. For God’s sake, child, you can not walk in those shoes and expect to play volleyball or walk without a cane when you are 19.

I started to hear laughter deep in the recesses of my head, but it was quiet and I could kind of ignore it. I talked to HRH about the ease of fashion trends when I was in high school. A pair of Levis 501s, a couple of polo shirts, and a jean jacket, and we had it made. The shoe choices also did not tax the mind. Canvas for casual (Converse or Vanns — see HRH, you still have these choices) or Penny Loafers for dress up. Nice flat sensible Penny Loafers.

Her Majesty looked at me, and as she scrunched up her face, the laughter in my head was getting louder — loud enough that it was becoming impossible to ignore. “Eeewwww!” she declared. “I would rather die (and she paused at this word for emphasis) than go to school, or anywhere for that matter, wearing a polo shirt. That’s gross, Mom.”

We buy the cocktail dresses and the stilettos and a pageant sash and head home.

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