Hand Me Downs

Look not on me with envy cause
You just don’t really know
Why my dresser drawers and closet
Hangers overflow

It’s not a sign of privilege or
A status which to tout
But just a Jewish mother who
Can’t seem to throw things out

“Your brother’s neon sweatshirt with
The green and orange hood
Ach, you’re throwing this thing out?
It looks perfectly good!

Your sister’s old designer jeans
You really should be thankful
‘Stead of kvetching just because
They come above the ankle”

But she knows not the comments and
The disapproving stares
The kids all wearing the skinny jeans
While I’m stuck with old flares

“Hey, nice freakin’ hole you’ve got!”
“Come one kid, where’s the flood?”
“Oh god is that a prairie skirt
You’re wearing with those Uggs?”

“Oh my gosh! Wedge sneakers with
A pink paisley design?
Oh wow, I haven’t seen those things
Since, like, 2009!”

And so with no alternative
I must accept my fate
To walk around in hand me downs
And wear these clothes I hate

And suffer the sweet irony
It might all be worthwhile
If only they still fit me when
They come back into style.


85 thoughts on “Hand Me Downs

  1. I must admit I don’t throw clothes out and comforted myself recently with the thought that if I treated the particular pair of shoes I was wearing with care they could last me another twenty years. Mind you, I’m not much of a fashion horse, but I’m sure you suspected that already.

  2. Saved my son’s clothes for that someday the next child may wear them – which my daughter did. Until recently, she’s into princesses… she’s been throwing tantrums when outfits are not pink or purple. Sigh. What’s wrong with Transformers and dinosaurs?

  3. This brings back so many memories, Marissa. Trust me, it’s not just Jewish moms, but Italian moms are right there, too. I used to get my older cousins wardrobe, year after year. It wasn’t until I was 14-ish that I started getting my own clothes.

  4. I am thankful kept some stuff from the 80’s wich became modern again like studded belts. But also some things I could use for performances… lol! The funny thing is my daughter is good at cleaning her stuff out …….. and handing it over to me…. lol!

    • That’s terrific. I hate to admit it but I’m coveting a few of my son’s rock shirts at the moment. I know he will never clean his stuff out and hand them over so I guess it will be one of those things when I do his semi-annual cleaning and then just casually show up the next day wearing his Metallica shirt.

  5. We were a family of hand me downs. We also lived by the motto ‘first up, best dressed’. It’s character building and made me appreciate things a little more…well as I got older it did but tough while growing up.

    Another really good poem, Marissa. Do you write to prompt?

    Artful Dodger.

    • First up, best dressed…so does that mean you were all setting your alarms earlier each day in hopes of grabbing the nicest outfits?

      Recently I got a list of prompts I kind of liked. A good prompt is always appreciated but I can’t always make them work for me.

      • It felt like that at times. You certainly had to be cunning if you didn’t want to be left with the dregs of the wardrobe or if you wanted your socks to match.

        It’s usually best if the prompts can be interpreted many ways, then more people can partake.

        I’m trying hard to get Danny ‘the interminable grouch’ to enjoy the WP experience. He’s getting there…slowly. Bear with him. πŸ˜€

        Artful Dodger

      • Oh, I see…so fighting over the last white sock, huh?
        Yes, I’ve quite given up on Danny. In fact, if I ever see him post something pleasant on WP, it may have a drastic outcome!

      • Sorry Marissa, I saw your comment the other day and meant to come back to reply once I got to my PC…I always cock it up if I use my phone…. but haven’t been around much.

        Danny boy is mellowing I think. Even if he isn’t, it’s always fun to prod the old bear with a stick from time to time. πŸ˜€

        Artful Dodger

  6. Paisley and wedges…ha ha. Well I have to admit, first I wore all my cousin’s hand me downs which was great because they had a lot more money than we did. Secondly, I keep things also…I still have a few items from the 1980s… I don’t wear them, but I’ve got them πŸ™‚ Excellent descriptive wit as usual, Marissa! I hope you are having a super day.

  7. Oh god don’t remind me
    I got to purge again
    It’s time to wrestle with the over flow
    I was reminded last nite
    In a round about way
    Yes the baggage we carry
    Will always come back to haunt
    Great post

  8. Don’t hate me, Marissa. I think you know I’m cheap. Everyday when I walk home, I check the parking meters for forgotten change, but I do it discretely. If others are around, I usually abstain. Today I passed a guy in a yamaka and thought “he gets it” as I dug my claws into the meter. That’s SO bad!

  9. Lol, my general rule of thumb as a woman in her mid-40s is that I won’t buy anything new which I’ve already donated to the Salvation Army in years past. You’d be surprised how much that encompasses!

  10. I know this dilemma all too well, I have clothes (that are mine, although, I probably could fit into my son’s shirts (his jeans are skinny, and even if they fit..no.. just no)) from years ago that I just can’t seem to let go of. Also, check the 6th stanza, second line, it should be on instead of one.

  11. Oh, god, this is so funny. I finally threw away some old clothes, can you believe a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans from the early 90’s. Too funny!

  12. Look at you, Marissa! πŸ™‚ I liked the Prairie skirt and Uggs boots! Sounds like my hippie batik maxi skirt. I get hand me ups from my youngest daughter and a few hand me downs from my Mom! Both are fairly nice but I need more closets or someone to do an intervention on me! Help! πŸ™‚

    • Yes, if you really can’t part with clothes, you may need an intervention. Or heck, just a bigger closet! Either way, sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t help you. It would be the blind leading the blind.

  13. This was cute, and of course full of funny. I also liked the little circle of life thing that you captured within the rhythm of recycling. Good stuff as always! πŸ™‚

  14. Everything DOES come back into style, though–as soon as I finally throw something out it is back and then you just wind up having to get a reproduction! In that I have full closets, I am like a Jewish mother.

  15. This is funny. I was the only daughter so I never had that problem. I did raid my Mother’s closet in later years for “period” pieces when I was going to a party or wanted to dress like Jackie O. Fun memories. I have some pieces from years ago that I hung onto but they don’t fit as well. Was I ever that small??

    • Ha, ha! I got some of my mother’s ‘period pieces’ as well. Not really sure what happened to them which is surprising considering all the odds and ends that are still hanging around.

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