Sunday, November 12, 2006

Denim madness......

My parents were home recently, and they took me out for lunch. We had a great lunch (fried oysters!) at the Oyster Bar, and then headed out. We got to the parking lot, when I suddenly gasped and grabbed for my camera. My mom was startled, but then she looked at what I was looking at, and started laughing.

"Oh, the jeans??"

"Yes! The jeans!"

It was the first time in my life that I had ever seen my father wearing jeans. Funny how I noticed and all.

My dad grew up in rural Kentucky. He was one of 7 kids, and they just didn't have money. My grandpa was a hard-worker....but it was just an economic reality of the time and place. Between grandpa's various jobs and grandma's thrifty ways and domestic skills, they fed and clothed and raised a fine family. Not that it was easy.....

So one day, my grandpa was working a job up in a holler, and he stopped in at a general store. He saw bolts of denim cloth, and made a deal with the shop owner for a bolt or two. My grandmother sewed that denim into pants for their kids. Including my dad.

He was keenly aware that his homemade blue jeans marked him as one of the "have-nots." He observed other kids in their nice dress pants....and swore that someday he would have nice pants and he'd never wear jeans again.

Fast forward to the 70's and he has four kids who WANT to wear jeans. They are in style. They are in fact THE clothing of high school. We begged, we pleaded, we pulled out the old "everybody ELSE is wearing jeans." But no kids of his were going to wear jeans and be laughed at. We explained that we were being laughed at because we didn't wear jeans....but to no avail.

Even after we were adults living on our own, he didn't approve of our showing up for dinner or going to a resturant in jeans. By time his grandkids started wearing jeans to school, he'd come to accept that the rest of the world was going to wear jeans. But not him.

So....when I noticed him getting into his truck wearing blue jeans.....I gasped. I needed a picture. When you see something for the first time in your life, it's a sensible reaction.

Just when you think you've figured your parents out......


Anonymous said...

Notice the pic of my grandpa on my recent blog post ( know, I know, cheap blog plug ;-)...but really, look at his pants. He had the same experience as a farm boy growing up in Illinois and was teased for his jeans, so he also vowed to never wear jeans once he could afford more. I never saw him in jeans my entire life. We even bought him a pair for Christmas once because everyone else in the world was wearing them, and he took them back. Funny how those experiences can affect our decisions and way of life for years and years.

Marie N. said...

My dad will never wear jeans either. I don't think he has a childhood story to go behind his reasons through.

Designated Knitter said...

And it's funny what made the difference - dad is in his seventies and he feels the cold more keenly. Heavy denim is warmer than his usual work pants! (Plus elastic - who doesn't love that!)