Mother loved a bargain, and once she heard about the clothing sale taking place every few months on Cantrell Street she was psyched. The fact that the clothing sale took place in a dark, dirty garage didn’t bother her one bit. The fact that there was a giant sign saying “Nightcrawlers” and “Live Bait” did not dissuade her. The fact that the clothing was hanging right next to a trough filled with worms didn’t change her mind. The fact that she could save money while supporting a woman she had met once was the big drawing card. She and I drove over to the Live Bait garage and started shopping.
What type of clothing would you find in a bait shop? Well, the woman who had the items for sale had been forced to sew for a daughter who was more than pleasantly plump and unable to fit into normal sized clothes. The clothing that was for sale were things that Melinda Sue could no longer fit into. Although Mrs. G. sewed pretty well, she had trouble with button-holes and instead put zippers right down the front of all her daughter’s clothing. That’s right, we were in the dark garage bargaining for the used clothing of a little fat girl whose dresses had zippers instead of buttons and button-holes!
Mother kept calling Mrs. G “Sister” and these were days long before the expression had arrived in the popular vernacular. The clothes themselves were horrid. “Sister” used lots of rick-rack to cover any sewing mistakes, and the material she chose was downright ugly. Nevertheless, the price was right and any way, Mother wanted to impress her “new friend.” She bought many clothing items at the bait shop and returned several times. She seemed disappointed that Mrs. G didn’t care to become better acquainted with her.
After wearing many of the “zipper dresses,” and realizing that there were many more in my future, I decided to start dieting. I was a little pudgy myself and the clothes did sort of fit. Mother proclaimed them absolutely darling although I remember a revolting brown number that looked like it had been produced out of drapery material.
The only way to get away from these horrible garments was to lose weight, and so I started. Soon none of Melinda Sue’s clothing fit me. Instead of being happy at my improved health and figure, Mother was angry. After finding this treasure trove of delightful children’s clothing, she was disgusted to discover that neither Lindy nor I could wear them.
One good thing did come out of this experience: we were able to direct Dad to a great place to get worms for fishing!