Hand-me-downs. Since I am the oldest of seven children you would think I never had any.
But as I have told you so many times our family did not have a lot of money. I had a lot of hand-me-downs.
There were a lot of families in our little town who were able to buy nice clothes for their daughters. They were often expensive clothes that were not worn too often because there were so many of them. They shopped often.
Several of these families had daughters slightly older than me. When they tired of their nice clothes or outgrew them they would box them up and come knocking at our door.
Those huge boxes contained nice wool skirts with matching cotton blouses. There were pleated skirts and circle skirts. There were straight skirts that show off the beautiful flat stomach of a young girl.
I usually loved the clothes. What girl would not like a new wardrobe?
What I did not like was the way they were given. Believe me I knew even at the time that the clothes were given because the people cared. But they would tell my mother, "If Emma can't use them just throw them out."
The statement made me feel as if the clothes were cast-offs only for someone as lowly as me. Again I do know that is not what was meant but it was hurtful.
I have passed usable clothing on to someone who might be able to use them. I am very careful to say, "If you can't use them perhaps you know someone who can."