I was in third grade when my mother sewed a pretty blue wrap-around skirt for me, a simple style that encircled my body a couple times and tied at the waist with a long belt. It was my favorite color and I couldn’t wait to wear it, even though it was January and the skirt was made of thin cotton fabric. Mother suggested I save it for spring when the weather was warmer, but I was too impatient.

In the sixties, little girls always wore dresses or skirts to school, so winters were a challenge, especially at recess. I wore tall socks and boots but depended on a knee-length wool coat to keep my thighs warm.

The day I wore the skirt was especially cold. My thick wool socks, sweater, and coat did little to protect the mid-section of my body so I ran while my class was at the playground, trying to create my own heat.

When recess was over, we filed into the classroom, going first to the closet. I took off my coat, felt a chill, and looked down. My skirt was gone. All I could see between my socks and sweater was a pair of white panties.

Oh. No.

Yes, I was only in third grade but, no, this was not appropriate attire for school.

I quickly pulled my coat back on and buttoned it up to my chin, hoping no one had noticed.

I told my teacher I had lost my skirt. When she looked confused, I pulled my coat open a bit for her to see. “Oh, my!” she said, and, with a slight smile, sent me back to the playground with one of my girlfriends.

I didn’t realize how far I had run until I saw a flash of blue from the other side of the school property. When we reached the blue pile, my friend stood in front of me while I unbuttoned my coat and re-wrapped the skirt, tying a double knot in the belt.

Upon returning to class, I hung my coat from its hook in the closet then held my skirt tightly against my body while I slid into my seat. For the rest of the day, my hands kept slipping down to check the skirt, to be sure the belt was still knotted.

I made it through the day fully clad, but after returning home, I put on warm slacks and hung the pretty blue garment in the back of my closet, where it remained until my mother passed it on to a younger neighborhood girl.

To this day, when shopping for clothes, I will not try on wrap-around skirts. Not even a teacher could smile at such an old woman losing her clothes in public.

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