Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fashion, Theft and Restitution

Darlene hated the brown cotton stockings: thigh high, ugly, held up by the suspenders on the little garter belt mama made for her.  In the wintertime, she really did not mind because she hated the cold anyway.  But in the Spring, well, you get the idea.

Darlene, though, as we have seen, is clever, and independent, too. She is now in the fourth grade but she discovered as far back as first grade that teasing from the more fashionably dressed girls was to be her lot in her school life.  But clever Darlene did not need much time to figure out that the stockings could be slipped off soon after she turned the corner at the end of the block on her way to school.  She would step behind a spirea bush, divest herself of the hosiery and store said hose in her brown lunch sack along with the apple and the sandwiches therein.

Darren, the loyal twin, never ratted out his sister, and might be said to be an accomplice, for he would wait on the sidewalk to continue his walk with the little look-alike.  If you are thinking that he did this more for his own protection than for the love of his sister, you would be both right and wrong.  There was that, of course, but Darren truly cared for Darlene, and he felt sorry for her, attired as she was in such unfashionable garb.

This Spring a heat wave struck in late March.  Tuesday morning, Darlene stepped behind the spirea, first time since October.  This went through Darren's mind: This has been going on for three years and what am I getting out of it?  Forgetting the protection his rowdy sister provided, he said, to himself, it is time for me to have some fun.

After lunch, Darren took his paper bag and Darlene's, too, and carried them to the shelf in the cloak closet.  But not before he transferred a brown stocking to each of the back pockets in his overalls.  Behind the bush, Darlene made a terribly disturbing discovery.  She was bare-legged and possessed of no stockings.  "Darren!"  she screamed, "Give me your lunch bag."  Darren complied.  Darlene still had no stockings.

Two blocks back to the dime store and Darlene ran all the way.  But as she entered the door it struck her that she did not have the nineteen cents she would need to buy stockings.  No time for such niceties: she strolled, either chalantly or nonchalantly to the hosiery counter, waited until the clerk was ringing up a sale, slipped a pair of brown stockings off the  counter and stuffed them up her sleeve.  She stole the merchandise.  The twinge of conscience did hurt, but not enough to deter her from her mission.  She ambled out the store and returned to the bushes which were her changing room.  Darren, of course, was not waiting for her.  But he was home when she arrived fully clad with stockings and all.

Darren, naturally, ferreted out the truth.  He was appalled.  Ornery, yes.  Mischievous, yes. But criminal?  He was willing, nay eager, to practice disobedience on occasion, but outright theft?  "Darlene, you have to make this right."

"Now just how do you think I am going to do that?  If I confess, Daddy will tan my hide and I might even go to jail."

"Look," he said.  Get your pig-bank.  I'll take care of it.  That's what brothers do."

"Yeah," she said. "Get me out of the trouble you got me into in the first place."

"That's what brothers do!"

 ©2017  David W. Lacy


Secondary Roads said...

That's something a brother might do.

Rachel Herring said...

I did the same thing in fourth grade with my best friend (Becky)who walked to school with me. Our house had a creek behind it. We had to cross the creek to get to school. There was a bridge, so we went under the bridge, took off our brown stockings, stashed them on a ledge under the bridge, rolled the waist of our dresses up a notch or two, and skipped merrily on our way to school. On the way home from school, we stopped at the bridge again for our wardrobe change! Fortunately we didn't have any mischievous siblings or friends who knew our secret!

vanilla said...

Chuck, Yes, I think it is.

Rachel, you've no idea how it delights me that you shared this bit about your childhood. I would never have imagined.

My daughters were not afflicted with the brown stockings, but I know that when they were in junior high they would roll their skirt waists up a couple of notches.


Vee said...

Totally don't understand this account. Loved the long brown stockings and teasing!

vanilla said...

Vee, of course you loved the hosiery. And the teasing. For a better understanding, see Rachel's testimony above.

Vee said...

Seriously, I never ditched my stockings. Afraid of the consequences as too many in our close-knit community attended our church. Since Dad was either a pastor of the church or president of the Bible College while in that community, I was usually quite careful. One helpful person was the reason the folks found out I was square dancing in third grade gym class. Naive me, I thought I was supposed to do what the teachers told me to do in class. I was also tattled on when I worked at the Kress lunch counter as a teen. I had to wear a long-sleeved white blouse under the short-sleeved uniform, but someone saw me when I had rolled up the blouse sleeves to do dishes in the deep sink. Had to go back to clerking at the sewing counter since I could no longer be "trusted." Funny one - when a preacher from Indiana came to pastor in the area, he told my best friend's mom on us because he saw us coming out of the corner grocery with a pack of coca-cola. Her mom laughed when he called and she informed him we had gone to the store to get the coke for her. He was shocked. Then she called Dad and our soda drinking dad had a good laugh. (And just when I thought no one could out-conservative my parents.)

Wow! It's been a long time since I've thought about these things. Probably because I turned out so awful and really don't care about that life anymore.

Vee said...

Should have also reminded you that said Indiana pastor was from Tipton. : )

vanilla said...

Vee, I do know all too well the nature of the straying child hotline. Mom knew I had gone to the movies before I got home. My favorite story about that preacher who came to us from Tipton was this, which supposedly occurred in Tipton before we knew him:
A lady, one of his parishioners, went to him and said, "Brother W, I heard that you said such-and-so about me. Is that true?"

"Why, no. I never said that. But I thought it, so I might as well have said it."