Remember Sears? (Before Walmart and Target!) And before the internet, there was the mighty Sears catalog! One of my shopping tales from the ’80s…
#sears #susanstrasser #susanstrasserblog #amwriting
Barely a month later, Mom knew that we had to start shopping for a new bathing suit for me because selection would run out soon.
Plus, as she said, “We don’t want to mess around with bathing suits in the catalog.”
Back to Sears we went! Through the double glass doors, lawnmowers and towards that movie theatre popcorn machine. It wasn’t popping anything again, but maybe by the time we left. This could be bad. I might need it. The cash registers were going “schwwt! nyit! nyit!’ as usual. Were they supposed to sound like that?
I hardly flinched as I stepped over the escalator crack behind Mom and Anne. I held onto the rubber railing again, riding up and over the furniture and bedding departments. Soon I could look down over people’s heads… brown ones there, black ones over there. And then it was time to step off, and… whew! Did it. Another successful escalator ride!
On the 2nd floor again, we did our usual u-turn and headed into the children’s department aka Pooh Corner! Giant Pooh still sat on his perfectly, shiny green grass and had his usual red shirt back on. He had sunglasses on, though- Anne and I cracked up! And a big fluorescent yellow sun hung from the ceiling! FUN IN THE SUN it said across the base of his pedestal.
Across the aisle, the girl mannequins wore sunglasses, too, and navy blue one piece bathing suits with bright purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red rainbows across the chest. I just stood there for a second checking them out.
“Look Mom!” I said.
Mom was quick on the draw and dug right into the rack behind them.
“No, they do not have it in your size,” she said a minute later. Anne to the rescue: “Suz, are you sure you want a rainbow?” she asked.
I knew that she was thinking about her own new suit that we’d gotten spontaneously at Fashion Bug after the Fox and the Hound matinee last week. It had a band of bright orange and red orange which crossed her chest and spread wider down her front diagonally, and was set off by a navy blue background. It was striking! But these were different.
Then I looked behind the mannequins on the other side, and there were pink ones, too! Pink with rainbows? WOW!
“Look Mom!” I said, adding, “PINK with rainbows!” They had it all on this rack. Or did they? I looked at them, while Mom efficiently surmised that there were no “Pretty Plus” sizes or size 12 ½ , the way Sears delineated clothes for fat kids.
“No, none of those either, Susie,” Mom said, matter-of-factly.
“What size am I, Mom?” I asked.
“Pretty Plus’ sizes definitely, and probably a 10 ½, 12 ½ …maybe a 14 ½ ” she answered, “not 100% sure.”
Huh, I thought. I went through all the plastic hangers holding all the rainbow suits even though Mom had, and I didn’t see ANY ‘Pretty Plus’ sizes or these stupid half sizes . Oh my gosh. I AM fat, I thought. Does Janet Wright have this problem? Cathy? Mom didn’t look at me, just kept looking through the racks of white plastic hangers with bathing suits, and said: “There are plenty of others. Let’s keep looking and try some on.”
She didn’t mess around. We’d go through anything and everything I almost liked in my size and try it on.
“You never know,” she said.
So, no rainbow suit and too many ruffles on the others, but we found a dark blue and a dark green one and I tried those on.
“Mmmm, emerald green. Pretty,” Mom said.
AND it was a size 12! I didn’t need the dumb half size this time. Thank God. I turned to the side to see how badly my stomach stuck out. Not bad! I liked the wrinkles going up and down the suit.
Anne smiled. “Cute, Sus.”
Mom pulled at the leg holes to make sure that they snapped back.
“Lift up your arms,” she said, making sure that the suit didn’t rub under my armpits.
“I think we’re good,” she said.
Yay! Dressing room torture over for another day. Best of all, I didn’t have to wait for something for me in the mail because Mom had to order it through the catalog!