Wendy Cartwright: Midwest Wonders … fashion


By Wendy Cartwright

Guest columnist

My mother reads my articles, of course, and she said something a few days ago that made me think. She said, “I’m surprised you haven’t written about when Mom made you wear the trash bag to school.” She was referencing her mother, my grandma Helen. I immediately laughed.

Here’s the story …

When I was in Kindergarten, I lived in Butlerville, but attended school in North Vernon. Brush Creek Elementary was built in 1985 and I started school in 1984. At that time, Kindergarteners went to school for half of the day, either mornings or afternoons. I was in the afternoon class.

My bus stop was directly in front of Granny’s house. I would stand on the porch and watch for the bus to round the corner so that I could start down the long sidewalk. My mother and father worked day shift, so Granny would watch me in the morning and make sure I got off to school safely.

One fateful day it was pouring down rain. I’m sure that I had a raincoat or some suitable protection from the elements. I was always well cared for. That day my grandma took extra care to make sure that I stayed dry.

As I was standing at the ready to head toward the road, my granny came outside to check on me and noticed the weather. Like a flash she ran in the house and came back out with a black 30 gallon trash bag. Always thinking on her feet, she had torn a hole in the bottom of the bag and one on each side near the bottom.

That’s right … a head-hole and 2 armholes. Before I realized what was happening, she was slipping it over my body.

To say I was embarrassed is a gross understatement. I’m positive that I threw some sort of fit. I don’t remember if I was crying, but I can distinctly remember the horror that I felt as I made the walk of shame down that long sidewalk.

I don’t remember anything else from that day. I don’t recall any classmates making fun of me or even laughing. I do know that I talked about this day and the trauma it caused until I was well into my 20’s or later.

I have realized, at my current age, most Midwestern mothers, grandmothers, aunts or any caregivers are more concerned with health and safety than fashion, even if it causes maximum discomfort for those in their care. Maybe I let go of this memory that I held on to for so long because I can see myself outfitting a niece or nephew in a size large Hefty if conditions are right. For their sakes, I hope that day never comes.

Wendy Cartwright hails from the North Vernon area and has lived there most of her life. She is 43 years old. She has a love of sharing her thoughts on growing up in the Midwest and other stories from her life. She spends her days reading and writing in the home she shares with her husband and chihuahua. Send comments to [email protected].

No posts to display