My Overhauls: Then and Now
My Overhauls: Then
Author Cathey Graham Nickell and I recently shared the ways our mothers extended the life of our clothes when we were little. Cathey’s mom would add different colored strips of cloth to the bottom of her favorite jeans to lengthen them–Cathey liked them because she felt very “hippie.”
With my eight brothers and sisters, my mom repurposed our clothes both as hand-me-downs and hand-me-ups. My mom and I had many arguments about fashion once I started kindergarten. The first would be when she tried to get me to wear some used black overalls that were given to us for my younger brother. They were too big for him so my mom said I’d have to wear them until my brother grew into them. “Besides,” she had said, “you need clothes to start school.” But I was having none of her idea. I loved bright colors, skirts, and dresses already. I cried. My mom got creative. She cut out the inseams and sewed bright green polyester triangles to the front and back and voila–the overalls became an overalls dress and I loved my “overhauls”–as I liked to call ’em. I wore the dress all the time until I outgrew it, and my mom turned the dress back into overalls for my little brother.
Our next big fashion argument would happen in the first grade when my mom refused to let me wear a red shirt and pink skirt together. Why my mom drew a line at wearing red and pink together, I still have no idea. But her solution was to force me to wear my older sister’s jeans with BBs running along the outer seams and one of my older brother’s T-shirts with Elvis screen-printed on the front. I was miserable all day at school. I remember the day clearly because my Dorothy Hamill haircut with that outfit made me feel like a boy. I never tried to wear red and pink together again–not even on Valentine’s Day.
My Overhauls: Now
This Valentine’s Day, Tiger Drive will be sent out to everyone who kindly pre-ordered it. While Tiger Drive is fiction, like many authors, I drew from personal lessons and feelings to create resonating characters. One might argue that Tiger Drive is an “overhaul” of the younger version of me. Nothing I share is true, but anyone who knows me well and reads Tiger Drive might connect some dots and recognize some personality traits. And for these reasons, I still haven’t told my mother that the book is releasing soon. Bad Teri, I know! But she keeps telling people the book is true and that I lie about her. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her the “lies” are what make fiction, well, fiction. Anyway, she’ll find out soon enough that the book is coming. Actually, I think she already knows, but she is passively hinting about the book until I tell her, and I’m passively waiting for her to ask me–Ha Ha. We are doing the overhaul/overalls and pink/red outfit dance, but I’m determined to win this dance-off!
Any “overhauls” or childhood and parenting stories you’d like to share? Email me please.
Until next time, thanks for being you.
P.S.: Find out what happened when Lisa Manterfield’s mother read her most recent book, The Smallest Thing.
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