When I was little, periodically magic would happen: a big box would arrive on our doorstep filled with clothes. Although they lived half a continent away, my aunt would send my cousin’s hand-me-downs to us. I loved it!
I would spend hours trying everything on while Ma would dutifully (and tactfully) remove all the clothes that I’d need to grow into: She presented those items as future rewards for getting bigger.
[Author’s note: I think part of why I loved these boxes of clothes so much was because I was the oldest, and therefore wearing clothes that were not bought or made for me was a rare (and fun!) occurrence.]
The excitement and surprise of these clothing bags never left me. Twice in my working career I had coworkers ask if I would like some items from their closet that they had finally accepted would never fit again. I happily said yes to each offer, and that little kid thrill was still there as I opened the bag. The joy of the new tumbled out of the bags as I emptied them into a pile. All those beautiful colors and textures were now all mine!
I always made a point of parsing out the debuts of the new clothes. That way it took a month or two for the donor to see all the pieces turn up in my wardrobe. They always had a smile on their face when they saw that their beloved items were getting a new life in a loving home.
Recently I was finally able to pay it forward. I was finally at a mental point were I was ready to go through all my dance practice wear, and everything that would not add to a potential Halloween costume (or as an 80s accessory!) got sent to a current student of Kurt‘s who is a friend of mine. I know what it is like to do a lot of training and not have tons of money. As much as you want to wear cute thing to the studio, finances can get in the way. It felt great to be able to add to her variety and know that at least part of me continues to be on the dance floor.
Did you have a love or hate relationship with hand me downs growing up? or When was the last time you paid it forward?