These last August weeks, cool early mornings on the sunporch. My mind wanders back to Rock Springs, the house where I grew up. August meant that school would soon start, something I always looked forward to. In August, I started counting the days; in August the issues of Good Housekeeping and Ladies’ Home Journal arrived, always with a cover of a school girl in a dark plaid dress (or so it seemed to me). It was then that I told my mother that I was ready to shop. She was always ready.
We headed to Hochschild Kohn’s, Edmonson Village, where she knew the buyer for children’s clothes. I would pick out one dress, plaid. She chose more, many more, more than I wanted. (I was an “under-purchaser” even then.) She thought that it would make me happy. It didn’t, and I acted like a brat.
It was only when I was too old for back-to-school plaid dresses, too old for back-to-school, that I realized that, when she was a child, she had always longed for a closet packed with school clothes, a different outfit for every day. She wanted to give that to me, who didn’t want it, who didn’t appreciate it, and who would never have quite as large a wardrobe as I needed.
I’m sorry that I wasn’t grateful,more appreciative. I’m sorry that it took me so long to understand that what she was giving me meant more than clothes, more than a full closet, and I wonder what I have given to my child that, in the end, is really about me.