If you know me at all by now, you know that I am both sentimental and pragmatic. One of the things I love to do the most is go to 2nd hand stores. Whether I find anything or not, I always see things that take me back to my childhood.
When I was about 14 I was kept very busy babysitting. It was the only job I could find in such a small town and it left my weeks mostly free. Every Saturday night was taken up with babysitting for a few years, which was just as well as I had no other plans as of yet. I saved up my money all summer, for a new comforter for my bed. We did not go shopping often in my family. We looked through the J C Penney catalog and ordered what we wanted far more often than driving anywhere. Going shopping, in our case, would be somewhere between 30 and 200 miles, and we didn't even drive 30 just to shop very often. In that catalog that summer I found the comforter of my dreams.
It cost $60, which at that time was a lot of money, but I could still afford it, and it had a rainbow on it, with pillow cases making the arch of the rainbow at the top. This was a long, long time before the rainbow had been hijacked by any special interest groups, when the only meaning attached to a rainbow was God's promise to never flood the earth again.
Such innocent days they seem to have been, now.
I realize, that had someone made that comment to my mother at the time, she would have snorted in derision. Only from this end of the spectrum could that make any sense.
It is some comfort that she did not live to see the mess we have made of this world today.
But I digress.
I ordered the rainbow comforter/pillow cases in twin size and waited for the UPS man to bring my reward!
He soon did and I had a comforter that would last me practically a lifetime. I did not know this then, I just loved it! I bought it with my own money, I picked it out, and I loved it!!
It lasted through high school, where I listened to Olivia Newton John being hopelessly devoted through Pat Benetar taunting someone to hit her with their best shot. It lasted through college where we survived Devo and Madonna, and those horrible boy bands with make up and weird hair. If Guns N Roses would not have come along I think I might not have even survived the 80's. When I became a mother it came out of storage to become the most popular comforter in the house.
My children dubbed it "the White Blanky", and it was their favorite also.
It had been washed so many times by then that a lot of the stitching had come undone, leaving odd lumps of whatever it was filled with ( I was afraid to ask, even then). All the washings had made it so soft, and if you straightened out the lumps it was still near perfect.
It had been a comfort to me when I was sick or had cramps, or was just cold or sad.
I always felt better if I could just get to my bed and snuggle under that comforter. I laid under it when I heard the soundtrack to Saturday Night Live for the first time. That's how long it's been around.
I never bought another comforter for my bed at home, either. The rainbow comforter was it, for me, for life.
It was my children's favorite blanket for the exact same reasons, only for them it was already broken in, stained, and mended.
It was the one blanket they never had to feel bad if anything happened to. They used it to make tents and wrapped up in it on the couch when they were sick, just like i had.
Through the years it was primarily claimed by The Beautiful Redhead, and she loved it just as much as her mother had.
So much, in fact, that she took it to college with her 3 years ago and still it survives.
I had to nag her for almost a month to send me a picture of it.
I had even begun to think that it had finally bitten the dust and she just couldn't bring herself to tell me. NO! CURSES!! IT CANNOT BE TRUE!!!!
I think she just wanted to wash it first, though, because here is a picture she finally sent me today.
It's a testament to whoever made this item that it has survived in such good shape, no?
Sure, it's faded, but you will find no softer blanket on this earth.
Look at the care she took to try to get the filling into the places where it is supposed to go.
The White Blanky is truly one of us. It holds our history. ALL of it!
Plus, I spent $60 on it in 1978, so the yearly cost of it at this point in my life?
$1.76 per year!
Not to mention all the fun and comfort it has brought to us all.
It's a regular member of my family.
It could never be replaced. There is just no way.
And the other day when I was in a thrift store, I can only hope you will be as floored as I was to find this, marked for $10.00.
It's yesterday once more. For real!
Yes! That is correct!! It appears to be the exact same comforter, from what I can remember. This one, however, is queen sized.
Which is exactly the size I need now.
I talk about God winks all the time, but this was as good a one as I have ever gotten.
Now, whether this is a new one that someone got as a gift and just didn't like, or whether it has been packed away in someone's things for decades, and has just now been brought to light, I cannot say. That is the beauty of 2nd hand stores. Well, that and the fact that you get to make up lots of really good stories that "could" be true about the items you find there. But sometimes you don't even need new stories because of the memories the item brings with it. I looked at that quilt and I was again 14, embarrassed to even be seen with my mother, making an investment in my "future" when I would have "my own" apartment, house, place, and my mother would miss me so much and wish she had been nicer when she had the chance. I remembered how often I cleaned and rearranged my room, because I pretended it was my own apartment and I only rented it from "those people" downstairs. I could hear the wind in the trees outside the house I grew up in, the one where our windows were open all summer because we did not have central air. The hardwood floors, and what a pain it was to wax them. The clawfoot tub in the bathroom next to my room, that helped me survive the hot nights when I refused to go downstairs into the air conditioning, which I spent instead in my own head, in my own room, with my cool comforter and big plans for someday.....when I grew up. I am so glad I found the White Blanky again instead of the teenage attitude. You could not pay me to relive those years, and God bless every parent who has survived them, too.
I can say that this one is stitched in the same pattern and seems to be filled with the same batting. And yes, I am still afraid to ask what that might be, but it washed up just fine.
I, having 2 black dogs now, and many other comforters and quilts, even put this back.
That's right. I was going to leave it there rather than "waste" $10 on it, because that is how stern I am with myself when it comes to spending money these days. I've truly come a long way in this area.
My other mother brought it up at the last minute before we left the thrift shop and said it was for me.
I was so happy that......well....as you can see, it's on my bed now.
So the White Blanky has come full circle, and I will have my old comfort back, only in a better size and shape than I have had it for decades. Just when I had gotten used to being without it, God recognizes my progress and rewards me with something that doesn't cost a lot but means the world to me.
Now I can face the next 34 years with the same comfort that got me through the last 34, if you believe such a thing could be true of some material assembled by (probably) 3rd world children.
I already told her that when I die, she is to take the next White Blanky home with her. She will have a lifetime of comfort from them, just like her mother did, all the days of her life. And all because I ventured into a thrift shop one day, killing time before a doctor's appointment.
When the first one finally bites the dust, and can be mended no more, it will just be a matter of time.
I like this story best of all.
But if I find another Leo the Lion, I might actually have a heart attack!
The moral of the story is, when you see a thrift shop, GO IN! You may not find anything new that tempts you at all, but the trip down memory lane you will never regret. Never!