I'm concerned my friends. Does it seem to you that I mention underwear and / or bathroom-related subjects an inordinate amount? There was the Astrology of Underwear, the Silent Pee, and then this weekend I went and mentioned an old English teacher's method of scaring off would-be attackers (ahem, she suggested you wet your pants). There was the first Crackpot Confessional about nose picking and then the end of this one with the unfortunate case of poison ivy.
Am I obsessed with unseemly topics?
Well, before you tell me YES (and I feel obligated to change my topic), let me share with you my Grandma's Bloomers story.
I don't remember a whole lot about my Grandma anymore. She passed away when I was in junior high and we spent a good deal of my childhood living in another state, so we didn't get to see them a great deal. I never really knew my dad's mom as she died when I was 4 or 5 and his dad died when he was a little boy.
What I remember about my grandparents was they always seemed old. My grandpa was 75 when I was born and my grandma was 68. Grandma had horn-rimmed glasses (fastened to a chain around her neck) and she ALWAYS, ALWAYS wore a blue dress. I couldn't tell the dresses apart. I suppose they were all different in some way, but to me they all seemed the same.
Grandma was also a fanatic when it came to sales. I remember one time she was in a Costco/Sam's Club type place and bought a palette of hamburger buns because they were on sale. We're talking about HUNDREDS of buns. Seriously.
Grandma washed plastic silverware, straws, and plastic plates to reuse them. She only threw things away when they were beyond all possible reuse.
My grandpa was a retired minister, and had lived in the same house/town for nearly fifty years, so they knew everyone. Often times families would give Grandma bags of clothes. Grams would take what she could use for making quilts or for her rugs, and would pass the rest on.
One time (I think I was in 6th grade), I was sitting in my bedroom closet reading Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. I spent a lot of time hiding in the closet as a kid. It was the only place I could get any space for myself since I shared my room with my older sister and her son.
Anyhow, Mom came back from a visit and called for me. Grandma had sent a bag of clothes for me. Most kids would hate this, but I LOVED hand-me-downs. Sometimes there were some really ugly things in there, but it was like Christmas, opening the bag and seeing what was inside.
This time it was a small brown grocery bag with handles (remember those?) There was a pair of penny loafers in there. Those were kinda cool. Not exactly in style at the time, but I only ever had one pair of shoes, so I was excited to see another option. I even worked with the stiff leather to get pennies inserted in the little slots.
And then, I pulled these out.
TWO pairs actually. Only they were kinda stained and yellowed with age. I stared at them, open-mouthed. Mom looked over and said reassuringly, "Oh, honey. You don't have to wear those."
I love my mom.
I knew my Grandma was frugal, but I was dumb struck. I was supposed to be her favorite grandchild. Never mind the fact these BLOOMERS hadn't been in style for DECADES. I could forgive Grandma of the Blue Dress her fashion faux pas. But at what point had she decided it was appropriate to give her pre-teen grandaughter someone else's old, stained, USED underwear as a GIFT??!!??
Pardon my language, but WTF?
What's more, the next time I did see her, she ASKED about them!
Can you say clueless?
I smiled as sweetly as any favored grandchild could and told her they didn't fit.
Christmas will be here before we know it. A lot of bad gifts will be exchanged, but I challenge you to come up with a worse gift.