Childhood Adulthood Stories
My Mom's Black Friends
I was wearing a vibrant blue dress shirt. I ironed it myself and made a point to not forget the hard plastic strips that make the collar rigid. I wore my best fitted, khaki slacks, also ironed, and a new true-black, leather belt. My shoes were shined to a bold, shimmering black and were very uncomfortable as the requirement for a proper dress shoes. I even wore real dress socks that weren't faded and matched.
"I can't believe this is what you chose to wear out of all the nice clothes I buy you." my mom said. "I didn't teach you to dress like this. This is something I'd wear to clean houses."
It was April and we were stomping away from the fancy get-together and down the long corridor of the Cowboy Hall of Fame towards the parking lot.
"Why didn't you wear that striped, purple Ralph Lauren shirt I bought you?”
I gave it away.
|"We dress better than you."|
“I can tell that hasn't been dry cleaned” she said motioning to my outfit.
“You're supposed to wear a brown belt and shoes."
I'm 28 years old and being taken to the parking lot to be scolded.
"This is embarrassing. Don't you know my black friends are going to be here? They take pride in how they look."
We get to the parking lot. She opens her car trunk and reaches inside. A tan Calvin Klein suit and Gap shirt emerge from the recesses still wrapped in protective plastic.
''Here" she says.
I change in the back seat of a car.
I'm 28 years old.
I've been missing the fashion mark for 28 years going on 29.