As a kid 4~11 years old my family consisted of my Mom,Dad and my 2 brother's and me, our Aunt's,Uncle's and cousin's, as well as friend's and their children. My mom was affectionately called Auntie by many. Our house never seemed to be empty, people came and went all the time. To me it was always filled with love and mom could always find room, for one or more. At times some had the floor for a bed but no one seemed to mind. With one bathroom, learning to share was the first lesson we all learned. Everyone shared what they had and no one did without. Anything that was no longer used was offered to anyone who needed or wanted it or knew someone who could use it.
I don't think any of us thought of each other as an extended family we have always been family, so growing up I really did have a big family. Having that many kid's in the hand-me-down pool was great and being the youngest girl did have it's advantages.
I know some people don't care for hand-me-downs but I loved them as a kid and still do. We had more boy's then girl's. Lucky for me, one of my Auntie had two daughter's and both had great taste in clothes throughout my life that's where most of my hand-me-downs came from. Across the ally from our house was a wonderful older woman who was a seamstress and did the alterations to most of my hand-me-downs and make some of my dresses and clothes too they all fit great. One day I was over to pick up and pay her for the alternations she had finished, as she was doing some final touches to a pair of pants. She told me about a disagreement she once had with her husband, he had told her she owned him. She went into her sewing room, pulled out her little note pad that was her record, of what she earned from the seamstress's work she did. Totaled it up walked back into the room he was in, put it in front of him and informed him "no mister you own me 10,000.00 dollars." To say she was a strong woman would be an understatement she was fierce, in the best of way's. Now this happened long before I was born. As she finished the pants she reached over and pick up a small note book and said that will be $3.50 after I handed her the money she marked it paid.
The two of them were so sweet to all of us kids. Her husband always had wonderful stories and didn't seem to mind my always asking him questions. My favorite question was and still is why?
Many years later when my mom got hand-me-downs from family and friends she give me the first pick at what she had, before she took them to church for the rummage sale. For most of my life the majority of my clothes have been hand-me-downs. After I started high school, every year for Christmas I knew my Auntie would give pajamas and from my mom she gave me underwear and sock's and on my birthday I got a tee shirt from my Auntie.
The hand-me-downs I've gotten over the year's, most were like brand new. The last hand-me-down jacket I was given was from my cousin's daughter that she had used for years. I've used it now for 13 years it's still in good shape, so I've pass it on this year. I can't remember the last time I purchased a winter coat. I don't think I'm cheap, all I've looked for was something to keep me warm, if it looked nice it's was a bonus. Now that I've paid for one, I know I never did thank her enough for it! My new one was 50% off and from last year, I really hope this one lasts as long as my hand-me down did. The last few years I've been getting my mom's hand-me-downs. Mom passed away in April now she's with all of her family and smiling down on all of us from heaven.
I've been wearing other people's clothes for such a long time. It's about time I start wearing and buying my own clothes that are my style. Thank goodness for sales even on sale WOW! it's all good. I'll still wear hand-me-downs for around the house and out in the yard until I cut them up for rag's.
A few are just a comfort, because who's hand-me-down it was. It's like getting a hug the whole time I have it on. Hand-me-downs will always be apart of my wardrobe just not as big as it used to be.
I do have a favorite hand-me-down it's a pair of pajamas hand-me-downed to my mom and then to me. They are over 18 years old and very dear to me, letting go of them someday will not be easy.