Long ago, in a small town far, far away, I was a maladjusted Catholic school girl. Although outwardly compliant, I had a passive-aggressive rebellious streak, one of the more amusing and innocuous manifestations of which was my aversion to underwear.
Mom asking me if I was wearing underwear became part of the morning litany with such classics as, “Did you brush your teeth, do you have your lunch,” etc. Sometimes she’d simply lift the back of my uniform to see for herself. If she caught me literally with my pants down, she sent me back upstairs to get some. She always concluded with the admonition that “only bad girls” don’t wear panties. The logical Catholic (is that an oxymoron?) thought progression from there was, “bad girls go to hell,” but I was unable to comprehend the connection between a little strip of fabric and one’s behavior, much less one’s salvation.
|Me and my brother Stan circa 1973.|
My transfer to the public school system punctuated my mid-teen years, and became the catalyst for my descent into hippiedom, heathenism, and hedonism. Like most fashionable young radicals of the day, I wore jeans so impossibly tight and that rode so low, it was a wonder I could sit in them at all without exposing every bit of my charm. Even the tiniest bikini underwear stuck out the top.
Fast forward to the birth of my son in 1985. I was 33 years old. Mom came for a couple weeks. One day, I was taking care of the baby, and she was gathering up laundry.
She called out from my bedroom, “Where’s your underwear?”
Not grasping the context of the question, I yelled back, “Top drawer.”
She walked into the living room carrying 15 years worth of gift underwear, still in the boxes, some still bearing Christmas tags.
She looked at me, now howling with laughter, and said, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I said, “It seemed so important to you, I didn’t want to upset you.”
We laughed until we cried, and I never got another gift of underwear.
Fast forward again to the first time I jumped on Jazu in late 2006.
I made a beeline to Wal-Mart.
Fast forward once more to last week, when Mom came to visit. I started a load of laundry, and combined her whites with mine. She got to the dryer first, and I saw momentary confusion on her face, followed by amusement, as she beheld underwear not her own.
I shared my epiphany, and once again, we laughed so hard, we cried.
Mama really does know best, and did so all along.