New threads for a girl include whatever mom picks out, whatever Sally on the playground names as cool, which to us '80s kids included Esprit, Benneton, Laura Ashley, or as far back as Osh Kosh B'Gosh. Sneakers? What about Keds, Treetorns (with removable colored strips including plaid), or penny loafers, with dimes in the toes. Fitting in as a child is so pivotal. Getting beaten up on the playground includes the very rich and very famous, lead by the very stylish: the repeatedly picked on, the bladder control, lice ridden, runts of course and the nerds and geeks like me. But don't forget that sharp tongue: it can turn on you at any time, even in the "popular" threads.
All of us got it at one time or another. One particular fight on Belinder Elementay School playground included five fifth grade girls, atop a tree fort with slides. "What are the colors of the rainbow?" one girl chided, and listed. "But you forgot Indigo, not blue." So she was immediately not cool. Definitively picked on. To tears. Never mind those Indigo Girls.
What ran through my head in my out-of-town Lillian (paternal grandmother in New York) department store pants with my best friends through four square and tetherball though were colors: crayons (the 64 box), pens with more than one color, jelly pens, paint pens, earth tones, jelly bracelets, friendship string bracelets, Ring Pops, candy. The brighter the better. Metallic? Even cooler. Sticker books. Hallmark cards with helium balloons for birthdays. Bright candy boxes for Valentine's Day in hot pink from Tiffany Town. Lip gloss like L'OREAL from Bruce Smith Drugs. Sewing lessons and fashion shows at Harper's Fabrics.
This year for Valentine's Day, I may stroll through our old stomping grounds: Prairie Village Shopping Center. Mulling over friendships, and all of the colors of the rainbow, our ups and downs, highlights and low, forgiveness and rebirth. A lot has changed. Thank God holidays remain the same.