Class reunion set comes with criteria

OK; this is the critical moment.

My 50-year-old high school reunion is less than two weeks away. I’ve lost all the weight I’m going to lose (none) so I’m ready to shop for a new outfit that will disguise 50 years old, 50 pounds, three babies and a sedentary lifestyle.

I should be able to find it at the mall.

My daughter stopped by to give youth advice. “Get something MODERN!! Something you don’t usually wear!


I planned my buying strategy like Patton on NoDoz. I have comfortable shoes and just finished an Egg McMuffin.

I know what I’m looking for. Here are some criteria:

1. Nothing sleeveless. Already. I have enough skin on my upper arm to smother small children with a long hug.

2. No necklines. Everything I’ve ever worn on my chest fell into a coma twenty years ago. High neckline… maybe any collar.

3. Watch for strong colors. I love them, but I’ve been told that bright orange is no seasoned woman’s friend. Must find something fancy. Slightly dark.

OK; so far I have described the habit of a nun.

But I want to look mature without looking matronly. Confident, without appearing pretentious. And above all: dressed, without the shadow of having put a whole day of effort and a wad of money into the selection and purchase of a brand new outfit.

JCPenney was a failure. Nothing at Macys. I continue. Famous-Barr was just ahead.

“Dresses?” The saleswoman wrinkled her nose and sniffed the air; a rhinestone-collared beagle trying to detect a scent. “Try the lower level?” Behind the evening dress? »

I waited a moment at the end of either of his sentences, but all I was left with was the question marks. So I boarded the escalator.

It was darker down there. All contemporary life was on the upper floor.

I had just entered the “old-fashioned zone”.

My feet tapped hollow echoes, like the jerky horse sounds we made with those coconut shells in kindergarten music class.

I didn’t see any other customers. No cashiers. Just me, moving like a gray ghost under flickering, unflattering, fluorescent lights.

Dresses? I found them around here? Just where had she guessed?

The display contained a depressing display of mid-calf caftans, blue denim sweaters and ruffled dresses that would only be suitable for funerals. I leafed through them, finding two that I didn’t dislike.

One was a size 5 – the other a 7. Even if I separated the seams and sewed them together they wouldn’t fit.

Not a single store in the entire mall had any contact with the person I had become in the 50 years since graduating from high school. I was older, wiser and… oh

So wanting to walk into this meeting like I just got off the bus on high school dress-up day instead of senior bus-to-Walmart day. Was it so much to ask?

I drove home from the mall, munching on a Frito burrito. I knew what I was going to hear. Andrea stared in disbelief at my empty hands, not understanding the possibility of shopping without buying anything. Then she smiled knowingly.

“Don’t give up, mom. I will go with you tomorrow. There must be SOMETHING out there that will suit you and look pretty.

And my husband, who hasn’t bought a new shirt since my 30-year reunion (and will probably wear it again for this one), will look up from the baseball game on TV and smile absently. .

“Hey, honey – I like what you’re wearing. Is that what you bought to wear to the meeting? Looks awesome. Can you put some popcorn in the microwave when you get some opportunity?”

Maybe I’ll stay home sick and ask my daughter to write an apology.

Contact Robin Garrison Leach at [email protected]

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