Underwear and Nana

Dear Nana,

Remember when you took me into Woolworth’s in Stamford to buy me some underpants? I guess I must have been spending the weekend with you and Grandpa and perhaps you saw that mine were a bit ragged. Anyway, we were shopping downtown and went into Woolworth’s. You quickly lead me to the undergarments aisle and before I knew it, you had ripped open a package of briefs and asked me to step into a pair!. Was I seven or eight years old? Obviously I remember how embarrassed I felt, and that somehow it was just “wrong.” To you it was eminently practical – why pay for goods that were not the right size? I suppose that underwear was not something you could return. You were a very frugal person and, if I’m not mistaken, had a saying that went something like – “if you watch your pennies, your dollars will take care of themselves.” Is that right? In other words, every cent matters.

It will come as a complete shock to you, dear Nana, that we have a huge surplus of clothing in our country. Remember when you took apart one of my blouses to make a pattern so that you could then sew me some new ones? There doesn’t seem to be a big need for sewing basic garments anymore. Part of this surplus “problem” is that companies that used to manufacture cotton goods, like underwear, were based in our southeast states where cotton was grown. Sadly, it became too expensive to keep those companies going with costly American labor and so companies like Hanes moved their operation to Asia. I might not understand the entire problem, but it does seem like we have more clothes than ever, and at a very cheap price. Don’t even get me started on Amazon (and I don’t mean the river in South America).

What will shock you even more is the attitude within my own family towards undergarments. I now have an 11-1/2 year old granddaughter who is taller and more developed than me (you know what I mean by this). Due to circumstances beyond her control, her parents have been somewhat lax in providing necessary clothing items for her – such as brassieres and underpants. Well, the long and the short of it is that more times than I can count, she has needed to wear MY underwear! Nana, if I ever thought I’d be wearing your briefs or bras, I would’ve died!!! Times have truly changed.