It’s “National Thriftshop Day”

I’m not very thrifty. I enjoy clearing out stuff and donating to our local thrift store but I can’t say that I’ve ever shopped at a thrift store.

I take that back. A former boyfriend of mine hosted a Halloween party many years ago. Costumes were mandatory. I decided to go as “Carrie”, which required me to find a prom dress that I could get blood on. Seeing how I couldn’t locate my actual prom dress that probably DID have blood on it (high school was rough for me) I had to resort to stalking the local thrift stores. Unbelievably, I did find the perfect dress and after adding a little corn syrup laced with red food coloring, I made a pretty scary Carrie. It was really gross and sticky – much like the floor of a fraternity house after a party. Not that I know anything about that.

I recently heard that donations to thrift stores get sorted through by the employees and the “good stuff” is sold on eBay. This news aggravated me because I’ve been under the impression that my donated stuff is bringing happiness to those less fortunate – NOT going to the highest bidder. But since I’m too lazy to sell my stuff on eBay, I guess I get what’s coming to me. It still kind of makes me mad. Why should the stuff I’m donating be lining the pockets of the thrift store employees? Oh, who am I kidding? Why do I think my outdated clothes are going to fetch top dollar on eBay? I guess one never knows. I bet my re-donated Carrie dress would have garnered a few bids.

Whenever I look at pictures from my youth I immediately think “thrift store”. The clothes from the 70’s were just awful. I remember one photograph of my “blended” family – my sister, step-sister, step-brothers, me, and my mom, we were all standing close together, mugging for the photo. I suppose we were fairly attractive as far as people go, but the clothes! The worst! It looked like we were at some sort of street fair because there was a candy apple booth in the background, but it couldn’t have possibly been summer because we all had on winter coats. Mine dragged the ground, was a very blah brown, and had a matted fake-fur collar. My older step-brother had two gigantic wings protruding from under a sweatshirt that said something like “Keep on Truckin'”. The rest of us were dressed in like style. We looked like the Brady Bunch on welfare. Horrifying. I’m sure you could find these very clothes, or their close relatives, at your local thrift store. As soon as we’re released from the hospital today, I’m on a mission to find that picture. I know I am not doing it justice with my explanation. You have to see it to believe it.

Today’s hospital visit is nearly over. Day One of Round Two. Four more days to go. Ben’s feeling well, no nausea to speak of. He still has his racing stripes from his mohawk outlining his sweet little skull. The short hair on the sides just refuses to fall out. I think it’s pretty cute. I have to say that he has a perfect head. It’s nice and round, no serious flaws. A few freckles, but that’s to be expected with our genetic makeup.

I’d forgotten how people react to Ben’s condition. Everywhere we go I catch people staring at my kiddo. Some of them do that “pretend I’m not looking but turn around and stare once you go past”. I always bust those people. Sometimes I put on my “mom face” of “that’s not a very nice thing to do”. Sometimes I give them the stink-eye. It just depends on my mood.

Then there are the people who are visibly afraid, like Ben’s condition will rub off on them. They pull their kids close and hurry by, probably holding their breath in case Ben expells any cancer germs. I’m currently making Ben a shirt that states “I’m not contagious”. I’m planning to market it.

Then there are the people who look at Ben with a sweet smile and love in their eyes. Unfortunately, this is a very small group. These are the people that look at Ben and understand that he’s going through hell. I can almost hear them saying a prayer under their breath, a plea to let my Ben just be a normal little boy. The tears form as I hear their children say something like “Look at that kid. He doesn’t have any hair.” And then I hear their response “No, he doesn’t. But I think he’s beautiful.”

You are, Ben. You are beautiful.

More tomorrow. 🙂

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  1. In my town (St. Paul/ Minneapolis), the big thrift organizations do sort donations. . . Salvation Army and Goodwill skim off the “best stuff” and take it to the higher end consignment shops. But the money goes back to the original organization, and that means more funds to serve more people. When I heard about this, I thought it was really rude, but it makes sense.

    Love you all! Jane


  2. I truly believe that people are not staring out of malice. There are many women out there who are mothers and who recognize Ben for what he is–a handsome kid who is probably fighting some kind of cancer. They hold their kids close when they hurry by because seeing Ben is a visible reminder that kids do get sick and that thought is horrifying to every parent. Its a neon billboard that says “THIS COULD BE YOU” and it scares the hell out of people. Its fear Sarah, not contempt. Or they could just be wondering where Ben got that nice, round Mr. Clean head! Bald is in you know–never been a better time to be smooth on top. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO RONNIE


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