All of the little girls in my working-class neighborhood gathered together with their Barbie dolls; multiple Barbie dolls. Each Barbie had a wedding dress, sundress, evening dress; a cheerleader sweater, a tennis ensemble, a funny equestrian hat, suitcases full of clothes and hundreds of teeny weenie plastic heels in primary colors.

I never understood the concept of changing clothes. Much to my relief, I was quickly banished from Barbieville, because I knew that Ken was a sissy and that silly, pink convertible would never be able to stand up to GI Joe and the Tonka trucks in my back yard.

As the only girl in a family of three children and much to my mother’s dismay, I was a tomboy. She jokingly referred to me as her third son.  Not sure if she was joking or if that was her attempt at a jab. My mother went to her grave heartbroken as her dreams of me in a pink tutu and ballet slippers went unfulfilled.

It was excruciatingly painful for me to wear a dress. “What if I have to suddenly hike the Appalachian trail…on a windy day?” The smallest piece of jewelry made me feel as though I was wearing a 5 lbs. cow bell. I am no slave to fashion and quite ignorant of fashion protocol. I thought J. Crew and American Eagle were rock bands and who knew that Anne Taylor is actually Richard?

I love beautiful clothes as long as someone else is wearing them, I can admire from afar. Shiny objects on a woman’s wrist always captures my attention and four-inch heels with leopard spots are hot, but I would never wear them.  What if I have to run? Durable clothing and quality boots are a must-have in my closet.

Which brings me to the apocalypse and rebuilding. Just as the 2008 crash introduced the “new economy”, I believe doomsday will introduce a new appreciation for textiles.

When Bounty is no longer available at our local grocer, we may be forced to think about our over flowing closets and textiles in a whole new way. My soft, satin blouses could never be the new “quicker picker upper” but my cotton t-shirts are soft and absorbent.

As I become more and more aware of basic needs during any potential doom; I see my possessions in a new light of what is multi-useful and what is not. I am going to need rags, lots of soft, absorbent rags to replace the demise of Charmin, Puffs and Band-aids. I have stopped giving away old clothes that can be re-purposed and old shoes that can be re-used. Old towels and sheets that I used to give away are now a part of my stockpile.

I purchased a sequin gown and matching heels for a Halloween costume years ago; I am still contemplating its usefulness. Maybe I could make my mother happy if I wore it in lieu of the pink tutu and ballet slippers.

To be continued…

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