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Monday, September 13, 2010

Mock Me Monday -- Grandma's Bloomers


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. 

26 comments:

Clarissa Draper said...

Now, that's frugal. I really hope you didn't wear them.

CD

Summer Ross said...

Wow! LOL. I'm not sure I can top that.

SAMUEL PARK said...

Wow--that's incredible that she had them for so long. And I chuckled at your earlier self's love for hand-me-downs. I think I liked them too when I was little, especially the free aspect and abundance of them. Loved the humor and warmth of this post. And your description of your grandparents' spending habits is of great sociological import--they seem fairly characteristic of that Great Depression-and-after generation. Wonderful post.

Lenny Lee! said...

hi miss vicki! ha ha bloomers thats a pretty funny word. wow they look pretty funny to. wonder how they got called that. yikes! for sure im not wearing some ones old yucky bloomers! i didnt know old ladys wore stuff like that.
...hugs from lenny

Jolene Perry said...

Every year my sister gives us something that she's gotten in the past and never used. And she tells us. Every year. A George Foreman Grill, a really cheap set of dishtowels, a bathroom set that was HIDEOUS...
She has yet to give us used underwear. I guess I should consider myself lucky.

Carole Anne Carr said...

First thought - on seeing the photograph - Queen Victoria's bloomers that sold for an amazing sum of money. Hope you kept the pair you were given! :-)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Lol. Got to love a Grandma who thinks bloomers are a great present. My nan always used to give me old fashioned style perfumes/soaps that I couldn't use because I have sensitive skin and broke out in a rash.:)

aspiring_x said...

oh man! your posts always make me laugh!! :)
please don't lay low on the potty humor...
i mean, seriously, we expect it and keep returning to hear it...
come on, you're writing a book called Porcelain Gods, we love that about you.
keep 'em coming, i say! :)

Jaydee Morgan said...

Yep, I think you may win the worst gift contest ;)

Dawn said...

LOL. Nice!
Don't worry about seeming obsessed with unseemly topics - in order to be a writer, don't you kind of have to be?

Stephen Tremp said...

You could always make this gift worse with large polka dots LOL! Egads! I'm thinking the scene in Planes Trains and Automobiles where Steve Martin thinks John Candy's dirty underwear are a towel and wipes his face dry.

Stephen Tremp

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You told her they didn't fit? Good answer!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha ha! Lenny's right - bloomers is a pretty funny word. I love it! Great story, as always, Vicki. :-)

Talli Roland said...

Ewwwww! That's yucky! I would be so grossed out just looking at them. Thank goodness your mum said you didn't have to wear them!

Meredith said...

Oh, wow--that has to be the worst gift I've ever heard of! I love that you told your grandmother they didn't fit. So very tactful of you! She and your grandfather sound like amazing people to get to know.

LTM said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I absolutely LOL'd at that picture. And your mom's response... As IF!!! :D

This is so great. As I wipe my eyes, I agree. Your g'rents sound like neat people. *sniggle*

My husband likes to point out that people always give him size XL shirts at Xmas... He actually wears a size M, and is now convinced everyone thinks of him as "the big fat guy." :D

P.S.
Have you noticed you talk about bathroom stuff a lot. ;p j/k

Stina Lindenblatt said...

You definitely have me beat. There's not way, thankfully, I could top that.

I used to think you could only be grandparents if you were like 100 +. Needless to say I was disappointed to find out my grandfather was only in his 60's.

Bish Denham said...

That is too funny! But I see you kept the bloomers?

Raquel Byrnes said...

You have me beat! The weirdest thing I ever got for Christmas was from my dad. It was during the first year of my marriage...he gave us a box of Christmas Captain Crunch. Huh???

Edge of Your Seat Romance

Carolyn V. said...

Wow, what a gift! I think you top my weirdest gift. =)

Nicole MacDonald said...

My partners sister made a big song and dance about how her current BF had made this H-U-G-E effort to buy us something incredible and how its was $50.. I was SOOOOOOOOO pissed. We'd just moved and only told everyone not to go over the top for gifts because we couldn't afford to at the moment. So she went on and on and we find ourselves in a liquor store buying the nicest wine we could afford ($35 - not that pricy but at the time a HUGE stretch).

he gave us a fruit bowl.



But no ones given me second hand undies yet so I'm grateful! :)

http://damselinadirtydress.blogspot.com

Janet Johnson said...

You don't like them? Oh. Did I miss something? ;)

Too funny!

Tamara Narayan said...

My grandmother would give my dad chocolate covered bugs (like grasshoppers) for Christmas. I have no idea where she bought them!

notesfromnadir said...

I think this gift is a prize winner! Certainly is memorable!

Hannah Kincade said...

Is it bad that I kind of want to try those on??

Kimberly Franklin said...

LOL. Please don't remind me Christmas is around the corner. That's a scary thought!