I saw the red plaid and it all came back to me like an acid trip gone bad. It’s back to school time and that flapping plaid flying towards me was attached to little legs and little arms carrying back to school lists! Those are uniforms!
Now I never wore a red (or, OK, it was really maroon) uniform. My early uniform was green and blue – little jumpers with yellow or white shirts – the best of which had Peter Pan collars. I would wear a little cardigan over it – blue or white (why white, I have no idea) – possibly just the top button was buttoned. And my hair would be styled – most often in two long braids on either side with green and blue streamered barrettes (do you remember those things?) on the sides.
Then came middle school – the school didn’t change, but the uniform did that year. Not only did we move to the upper grades where you could wear a skirt and vest or sweater instead of the jumper, but the school changed its uniform and the design was now a gray plaid with navy sweater (and UGH uniform saddle shoes!).
High school was a black watch plaid (blue and green again) skirt with a blue sweater in the winter, but a hideous blue and white pin striped skirt with a (reasonably nice) blue logo polo for the warmer months.
But it didn’t matter that I’d never worn THAT uniform or those colors. I looked at the two girls going into Target – the little one in her jumper (with Peter Pan collared shirt!) and the bigger one in her skirt with the white shirt (not a fairy tale character near that collar!) untucked and as messy as she could make it and it all came flying back! It’s funny how things change though. I can remember desperately throwing off the awful vest and untucking my shirt / pushing down my socks as quickly as could upon leaving school grounds! They were horrible / awful! Didn’t I look so much better in my disregard for them? (Amusingly, I often wouldn’t bother changing if I wasn’t doing anything in particular – why bother? The damn thing was Teflon as far as I was concerned. I may as well wear it as I didn’t want to get my REAL clothes dirty!) Now I saw the bigger girl looking all rumpled and disheveled in her half discarded uniform and thought – what a mess. My God I must be getting OLD!