My Grandmother, Dorothy Fey, liked nothing better than gathering her girls, dressing up and heading into downtown Cincinnati for an afternoon of shopping.
She’d happily roam McAlpins and Pogue’s, celebrating the day’s haul by taking her companions to the Ice Cream Bridge, which connected the latter store’s fourth and fifth floors.
A legendary shopper, Grandma regularly received phone calls from merchants alerting her to a new arrival and the Fey ladies all enjoyed sporting the latest styles.
To my mother’s everlasting dismay, I did not inherit the shopping gene.
I have twice thrown my worn and ragged jeans into the garbage, and twice fished them back out.
When I find an appropriate dress, I tend to stick with it, prompting this amusing exchange:
“I think I’ve been wearing the same dress to too many family functions,” I said to my sweet sister in-law.
“You mean the green one with the white trim? I love that one!” she said.
The immediate and mortifying accuracy of her response, coupled with a recent perusal of family wedding photos in which I wore that same green dress, finally convinced me it was time to shop.
You’ll note, shop is a four-letter word.
In fact, my most recent quest for a dress required the near constant digital support of my sisters, my daughters and my mom.
I sent them blurry pictures and whiny texts from dressing rooms all over the Valley.
“Androgynous clerk at Ann Taylor just judged me and my baggy jeans haphazardly tucked into my knee boots. ”
“I really hate shopping.”
“…and, I just lost an earring.”
“I’m old and droopy.”
Their earnest responses allowed me to put one mukluked foot in front of the other and on we trudged.
“Maybe try it on without the Uggs,” they said.
“The blue one might work with a peplum.”
I had neither the heart nor the finger dexterity to explain that I had no idea what a peplum was.
A height-shaming incident with a boutique worker ended one shopping trip.
“You’re awfully tall,” she said. “Do you have trouble finding dresses that fit?”
Eventually, I ended the exhaustive search by purchasing another green dress.
Cheered from all corners of the Midwest, I rested comfortably that night.
But, just before I nodded off, I had this thought:
“I wonder whether that green dress with the white trim is still in the attic?”