Oh how school shopping has changed

        This time of year is hectic for everyone.

       With summer winding down and school starting up, it seems as if everyone is a bit frazzled.

     I was sitting home Sunday, relaxing after a 36 hour "vacation" with my wife and two friends, thinking about the old school days.

        Being 30+ years removed, it is interesting to see how things have changed over the decades.

     Royal, I know my size has changed, so quit guffawing.

   Just think back to when you took that day to go school shopping.

        I know we have all done it as children and now as parents.

      My mother used to bring myself, my older brother, and younger sister shopping,  to the mall in Rochester.

       It was one of the longest days of the year. Basically because my brother didn't want to be there and my sister was younger so she was off on her own in the misses section.

     Back in the day, a pair of corduroys and a pair of blue jeans was enough for most of the year. Kids these days don't even know what corduroys are.

      Since I was much taller than my brother, I didn't get any hand-me-downs. What this also meant is my mother would spend a lot of time on the sewing machine, designing me some one-of-a-kind shirts for my long, skinny torso.

   She did a great job providing for our family, especially when it came to sewing.

        A ripped pair of jeans, which were torn apart after a fall on the playground asphalt, was always fixed the next day.

    These days jeans with rips and dirt on them are the rage of all kids.

   Never did understand that.

      I was used to going to Sears and JC Penney for our clothes.

     We would get the catalogs sent to our house a couple of times a year. We would rip out pages of what we would like, or what we would like my mother to sew for me.

      There were no Nike Stores, Under Armour Stores, or Big and Tall Stores.

There were no outlet centers. There were no Goodwill stores or bargain places to purchase clothes.

      It was Sears, JC Penneys, and possibly Montgomery Wards.

        We were fortunate enough that a gentleman opened a clothing store in St. Charles, my hometown. They had some clothes my size, tall and very skinny, so we didn't have to get all of our clothes from the three big apparel stores.

      There were no special underwear stores. There were no socks with different logos attached. Tidy whities were pretty much the norm. I didn't even know what a boxer short was until I went to college. And never would I let my underwear hang out so people could read what kind they were. It was bad enough letting people see my waist size and inseam. I didn't need them to see my underwear brand.

        Having a waist size of 20 something and an inseam which was usually 32 to 36 wasn't an easy size to find.

       I know the times have changed, which is good. But as a 50+ year old father, I can only remind my son of the things we didn't have "back in the day."

    We got one pair of shoes a year, usually in the fall. We didn't buy a new pair every couple of months just because.

     It is fun having the options these days, but kids don't realize the limitations we had back in the day. And I am not that old. People older than me wore hand-me-downs until they basically fell off their body.

        So as I head out to purchase myself a new pair of shoes I recollect back to the day when my mother said I could have one pair of Pro Keds and a pair of Buster Browns for church.


       Oh how times have changed.

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