“The Famous Green Dress” 03.09.22

When I was younger (much), I had an issue with the texture and tightness of my clothes. I have heard that I am not the only kid who has experienced this, so I don’t feel weird telling you about it. I wouldn’t feel weird telling you anyway. I never wore tights, unless they were forced upon me. I wore baggy underwear and swimsuits that dragged to the ground. I hated any form of clothing that squeezed me or made me feel constrained. A fabric prison. Elastic was out of the question. I played outside in the mud, ran, and used my imagination–in a dress. I climbed trees in a dress. I wore huge non-elastic sweatpants when I played soccer, the only time I was not wearing a dress. My feet were bare as often as possible. Before I grew breasts, so was my torso. My best friend was a boy, and I remember running around at his house one day without a shirt on. His mom called out to me, “Samantha, would you like to wear a shirt?” to which I answered, “I look the same as him!” I had a beautiful childhood. I ran through the woods in our backyard, skinny dipped in the creek, had mud fights with my sisters and friends. I loved to read, but mostly I loved to “do.” I wrote and illustrated children’s books without planning to publish them. I kept a journal for my second grade class with Mrs. Sanders, and one morning I wrote that “My panties are too tit!” I wasn’t a great speller, and I never truly mastered it. Mrs. Sander’s response was, “Oh my!” I remember that, but I also have proof, because I kept that journal and all those that followed.

My mom always wanted me to wear clean clothes. I don’t think she really cared very much about what I wore, as long as it was clean, and it matched. It never matched, and I tried to pull off wearing the same outfit two or more times consecutively. There is a particular famous green dress. Mention that dress to any, and I mean any member of my immediate and extended family, everyone who watched me grow up, my whole elementary school and several strangers, and they will remember that famous, favorite green dress. I wore it all the time and wouldn’t take it off unless I must. I am not exaggerating. The dress grew with me, and most likely molded itself to my body. I think my mom hid it somewhere, because I haven’t seen it in a long time. It would probably still fit.

Mom was in charge of wardrobe and dealt with all my tantrums about what I wanted to wear. After some deliberation, she passed the job to Dad. Dad’s method was vastly different from Mom’s specifications. I would come out dressed for school, walk over to Dad and hold my arms up. I would spin around with his nose close enough to smell me, and if I passed the “smell test,” I was given permission to wear that outfit.

When I was younger, I was very shy and easily embarrassed. That is why I remember the first time I was mortified. On the very first day that I wore pants to school, Caleb Carter noticed me entering the cafeteria and announced quite loudly that, “SAMANTHA IS WEARING PANTS!” I never traded my corn for his roll at lunch anymore after that. Okay, I did. The pants were denim shorts. I have been wearing denim ever since. Somehow, the “curse” had been broken.