Straight skirts were coming in style when I was in the 7th grade and oh how I wanted one but to my disdain, my mom refused to buy me one. “Why can’t I have one?” I pleaded. “You’re only eleven years old and too young to wear one” she replied. “But everyone else is wearing them” I continued with my pleading. “You are not everyone” was her final statement on that discussion.
Had I heard that before? Of course I had as did every boy or girl heard that “you are not everyone” comment. The problem was that I was 5’7” at that age and looked way older than I actually was. And I so much wanted to fit in with the crowd. And I was sick of wearing full skirts or full dresses.
There was a girl up the street who was two years older than me and dressed more like my mom. How her parents let her get by with that will never be known but she did and what did she wear to school every day? She wore a straight skirt.
Again at a department store, I tried to coerce my mom into buying me a skirt like that only to be met with the same “No.” I was sick at heart. Oh I could have asked my grandmother to buy me one I’m sure but then she would have been on my mom’s bad side and I didn’t want to put her there. Several weeks passed and one day I went to the older girl’s house up the street. She had tons of straight skirts and in every color imaginable. I got myself into a frenzy because I just wanted one skirt like she had.
Came back home and my working parents hadn’t come home yet. Heaven only knows why I did it but I went to my mom’s closet and looked down at her high heels of which there were many. Grabbed a brown pair and headed out of the house and up the street to the older girl’s house and traded those shoes for a straight skirt. I did have to try it on and it did fit and I felt so glamourous. Took it off, put back on my full skirt and headed back home with that skirt folded in my arms.
The straight skirt was not out in plain sight for I knew I had done something terribly wrong but things would get much worse when my parents got home. Within an hour, the car pulled up into the driveway and my parents came inside. I was watching television and was met with greetings and felt a hot lump in my throat for fear that my mom would miss those shoes that were in her closet.
Instead of her normally going into the kitchen, my mom went into her bedroom and within minutes I heard “Sharon Lynn!” When you heard your first and middle name together, you knew that trouble was looming and it was. “Where are my brown alligator shoes?” she screeched at me. “They’re up the street at that girl’s house. I didn’t think you wore those shoes and …”
The rest of the words would not come out of my mouth. “Get up right now. We’re going up the street to get my expensive shoes back!” I was frozen with fear and had to follow her straight up the street: She was in a furor. She rang the doorbell at least ten times only to be met by the girl’s mother. “I came after my brown alligator shoes and I want them right now!” “What shoes?” asked the mother. “My shoes! Your daughter has them; my daughter traded them for a straight skirt of hers.”
I just stood there like a statue afraid to move much less breathe. What seemed like hours were really only minutes when the mother came out the door with my mom’s shoes. “Now” said my mom to me “You go down to the house, get that straight skirt and bring it right back here. I am not leaving until you get that skirt and come right back here and you’d better be fast about it.”
My face was crimson as I ran down the street to my house. “What’s going on?” asked my dad. “I’m in trouble; mom is up the street. Have to get a skirt and I’ll be right back.” “What trouble?” he asked. “It’s a long story dad and mom will tell you” I told him as I rushed to my bedroom, grabbed that straight skirt and flew out the door and up the street.
My mom was still standing in the very same place on their front porch only she was stomping one foot. “Now give back the skirt” she hollered at me. My now beet red face felt as if it were glowing—that was how ashamed I was. I handed over that skirt to the girl’s mom and off my mom and I came down the hill to our house. I was carrying nothing; she was carrying her brown alligator shoes.
Going inside the house was much worse for she started telling my dad what I had done. “Do you realize that she exchanged my expensive shoes for a two dollar skirt? My dad just sat there sort of numb. I was mortified. “Go to your room young lady and stay there. No dinner tonight and don’t you dare pull another stupid trick like that ever!”
Throwing myself onto my bed, the tears wouldn’t stop. I had really done something totally stupid and had to pay for it. I remember my dad coming in to check on me: “Are you all right?” he asked soothingly. “I guess so.” He gave me a big hug and left the room; after that I slept until morning. The only good thing about that morning was that at least it was Saturday and I didn’t have to go to school with bloated red eyes. I was grounded the entire weekend and just knew that the girl up the street would tell everyone at school on Monday morning.
If I counted the times that I heard my mom tell me about what I had done, it would be too many. Yes, it had been stupid on my part for I had no idea that her shoes were that expensive. I was never so glad to see Monday come so I could get out of the house and back with friends. “Have a good day” said my dad as he and my mom headed for the car. My mom glared at me. “See you after work” she said and off they went down the hill.
Feeling crummy as well as having had been deceitful, I went ahead down the hill where I met up with friends. The walk to the junior high was a long one but this one time I was glad that it was. I had too many feelings in my head to sort out. When we got to school, I saw the older girl that lived up the street but she said nothing. I imagine that her mom had lit into her as well.
It would be months before I got a straight skirt and it was brown with white pinstripes. I can still envision it to this day. Loved it and about wore it out. The trade had been absurd on my part when I stopped and thought about it but I had done it and paid the consequences. Sometimes, when you really want something so badly and you can’t have it, time seems to really matter if you’re eleven years old. But so did being grounded. Rest my case.
Copyright © 2014
All Rights Reserved