Today I was looking at the newspaper. You know the one. The one that comes on Thanksgiving with all the "After Thanksgiving" sales. It was huge. Sunday paper huge. But one thing that was not huge was the Sears sale paper with the toys. Sadly, this seems to be the replacement for the coolest book of all: The Sears' Wish Book for Christmas. I know, I know, there is an on line version, but this will NEVER replace the real Wish Book. When I was little I can remember when it arrived at our house by mail. Seven kids would breathlessly wait for their opportunity to study every single page and dream, really dream about the coolest things that Santa might bring. By the end of the week, the Sears' Wish Book was dogeared, but cherished.
But the Christmas Wish Book was not the only wonderful thing about Sears. I can remember going to camp and seeing that all the girls except me had bras. Though I had nothing to train, I remember coming home and asking my mom for a "training bra" which in itself is a really curious term. She dug out the regular Sears catalog, went past all the cool clothes (I find it weird that I thought their clothes were cool at one point in my life) and found the "unmentionable" section and handed it to me. I sat for hours and tried to figure out which bra I "needed." Sigh.
Then came the fateful Friday night. Back in those days we went to Sears on Friday night as a regular family outing. We all piled in the station wagon, fought for the perfect seat, made our brothers sit in the back (we were a bunch of tough sisters!) and headed out to the best store in the world! Sally and Grant (our beloved adopted grandparents) also went on the trip. We knew we were getting close when we could smell bread at the Tip Top Bread Company located nearby.
Our first stop was always the candy counter where nuts and candy were sold in bulk. We would stop there and dream about what we might get if Sally and Grant offered to buy us some candy.
We spent hours in hardware, toys, you name it; there wasn't a "boring" section of the store; it was ALL fun.
But on the "bra shopping" night, I can remember that my mom and I slipped off from the rest of the family into the "unmentionable" area. Wow. There was even a bigger selection that I had seen in the catalog! Choosing the perfect bra was going to be tough! Not. They had one style of bra for a flat chested pre-teen, and one style only. It was white, had stretchy cups, not an inch of support and worst of all, no extra help in the cleavage area. My mom bought me two bras and I was dying with anticipation of my movement in the world of adulthood. I even went into the dressing room and put on one of the bras so the training could start immediately.
We rejoined my family and I flexed in my arms so that the outline of my bra would show through the back of my blouse. I started noticing just how immature my sisters were. They clearly didn't fit into my new image of the world of WOMANHOOD. That lasted all of 5 minutes because we again hit the candy counter when Sally and Grant announced that we could each get 1/2 pound of our favorite candy or nuts. True to our ritual we circled round and round and invariably got the same exact thing we had gotten last time.
Back in the car, perfunctory fight over places to sit and we dove into our paper bags of candy or nuts with a lot of bartering taking place. However, my sisters and brothers didn't know that now they were bartering with a woman instead of a little girl. Sigh. Two thoughts entered my head: When would they EVER grow up? And even more importantly, when was my chest ever going to grow OUT? I also believe, looking back that I thought the big chest came with the bra. Yep, all part of the Sears' Wish Book!