School Clothes

The Annual Shopping Torture

Now that Labor Day has passed and all the little children are safely out of our hair for another school year, it made me think about buying school clothes. When I was a kid, there were few things that me, my brothers, and my sister hated more than that annual shopping torture.

My Mom would try in vain to find clothes that would hopefully make it to Thanksgiving, before we started to grow out of them. And don’t get me started on how stylish these threads were. Since my Dad was a detective with the Detroit Police Force, it seemed like Mom was trying to dress us boys like little versions of Dad. Minus the sideburns and wide ties.

I’m a big guy, and I currently measure six foot three inches tall. However, before gravity started yanking me back down to earth, I measured six foot three and a half inches. However, I have been seeing a chiropractor lately, so I may have gotten back that missing half inch.

Anyway, I remember one summer, when we went on our annual shopping excursion in late July. We probably had our vacation week in Irish Hills scheduled for August, so we had to get the shopping done before then. Coincidentally, that was the year I shot up six inches over the summer. You wouldn’t have thought it was possible,  but I pulled it off.

With four kids to keep track of, my Mom didn’t really notice I had grown half a foot in such a short amount of time. Then came, “try-on day”. We would get dressed up in all of our school clothes, just to make sure they still fit correctly, weren’t damaged, or needed to be exchanged. When I put on my stylish threads, my Mom just about had a heart attack. I looked like Frankenstein, in pants and a shirt borrowed from a third-grader.

What followed was a quick babysitter call, followed by a land-speed record trip to Federal’s to exchange my undersized clothing for something from the Men’s department. Hopefully, none of today’s moms had to go through that little episode, but you never know. Growth spurts do happen. Years later, the same thing happened with my son Kevin, so what goes around comes around. Hey moms, at least the little monsters are back in school. Enjoy it!   

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Back to School

The Party’s Over Kids!

The time has come. The chorus of morning birdsong has fallen to a whisper. The air is turning cooler (eventually) and there’s morning dew on the grass. It can only mean one thing. Fall is finally here (unofficially). I know the actual date is weeks away and it’s still 90 flipping degrees outside. However, I have always believed that fall begins the day after Labor Day. When the air becomes filled with the sounds of neighborhood rugrats, emerging from their summer cocoons, and getting their little butts back to school.

For me, there is nothing more enjoyable than walking my dog on a crisp autumn morning and listening to the kids laughing and playing on the playground. Actually, a moment like that is what inspired me to write this blog. Hearing those sounds takes me back to when my own sons were running around that same playground. I used to work afternoons, so most of the after-school activities were handled by my wife. I handled the day shift. I got the boys out the door on time (most of the time), and dropped off their lunches and homework when they inevitably forgot them. Thinking of those days brings a tear to my eye, now that my boys are 29 and 25 respectively.

Back in the olden days, before dads got dragged into daily school activities, I was a Trailblazer. From the moment my oldest son Jeffrey started nursery school, the group of parents dropping off their kids were known as, Mr. Lambert and the Rest of the Moms. Eventually, as years passed, more dads got into the mix. However, for a long time, it was just me and the moms. Maybe that’s why I have such a strong reaction to hearing the kids on the playground. It takes me back to my son Kevin, being greeted by his friends like Norm from Cheers! (KEVIN!) Enjoy your playtime kids. Before you know it, you’ll be in your 30s and dropping off your own kids. As I said, enjoy it while you can.

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