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So for first grade my mom finally caved and bought me an off-the-rack dress. It was red plaid with a snowy white collar and red tie ribbon, and boy, did I think I looked excellent starting first grade.

Trouble was, another little girl was wearing the exact same dress. Well.

Now if this girl had been somebody I liked (or, more importantly, who I wanted to like ME), it would have been different. But no. She was, if that was possible, even dweebier than me. With her freckles and short brown hair that her mom had processed into ultra-tight corkscrews with one of those ghastly home perms (very big back in the day), Red-Plaid-Dress girl shot me dirty looks all morning. I mean, could I help it if I was stealing her “look?” More than anything I wanted to take off my dress and burn it.

Eventually my favorite time of day rolled around: recess. Off I ran to play outside when out of nowhere there she was, smack dab in front of me. Without a word, she hauled back her arm and socked me – really HARD – in the stomach.

OK, so that really, really hurt but since I wasn’t about to get physical back, I just took my sore belly and went to sit under a tree by myself so nobody would know I was not only hurting physically, but flummoxed by this girl’s aggressiveness.

You know, I can’t even recall Red-Plaid-Dress girl’s real name but I hope she turned out to be a nicer adult than she was in the first grade.

That’s why this year, when my oldest grandchild was entering first grade, I was curious to know what kids that age are wearing in today’s world. I figured red-plaid dresses were “out” – although Gracie’s little sister, Emily – a junior kindergartner – is sporting her blue and green-plaid uniform to school this year.

Just imagine my shock at the clothing being marketed to little girls for back-to-school wear. How about “jeggings?” With a come-on defining these oddities (yes, I know, I’m TOTALLY out of it) as the greatest thing since “skorts,” apparently, I am perplexed at the ad: “In the skinny fit she loves, these are bold and beautiful. Plus an adjustable waist for the perfect fit.” What? We’re talking little girls’ size FOUR here, for Pete’s sake! How does a girl this teeny know she loves the “skinny fit?” And if they are so blasted skinny, why do these things need an adjustable waist? Promote an adjustable waist, you’re talking to my generation, people!

And that wasn’t all, I’m sorry to say. With bubble dresses, tie-die crop tops and yoga pants for little people, these futuristic fashions have left me in the vogue-accessorized dust.

But I would like to report that my new first-grader Gracie looked, well, refreshingly normal on her first day of first grade. With a kicky pink skirt, fun colorful shirt and brand new tennies, my girl was rockin’ her first grade look. Kinda like her Mimi did some 60 years ago … in a red plaid dress with snowy white collar and red tie ribbon.


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