Whitesburg KY

Clothing came from rag sales

Do you sometimes pause during a hectic day and reflect on how things have changed since you were a youngster exploring the unknown around you?

It was perfectly normal to see a little girl in pigtails out making mud pies in the yard. She no doubt would be wearing a feed sack dress and be barefoot. But she was having lots of fun in her pretend world even with a lot of her mud pies smeared on her face.

Although kids played in the mud a lot it didn’t mean they were poor or underprivileged. It was just their way of having fun. It there wasn’t any need to be found there soon would be because they would figure a way to make some.

It was normal to see a young boy romping in the dirt barefoot and maybe with a piece of rag wrapped around a toe. It would usually be a big toe. The big toe was usually the one that caught the most abuse. But the little boy didn’t seem to mind the injury. Besides, he was very proud of the rag around his toe. I guess it was a status symbol.

He would usually be wearing a pair of bib overalls with the legs rolled up and no shirt. A boy was not properly dressed if one leg wasn’t rolled up a trifle farther than the other. Sometimes there would be only one galous holding his bibs up, but that didn’t keep him from having a good time. Often an off-color patch would be sported.

I can only imagine the tongue wagging that would transpire in today’s society if a child was seen in public with, God forbid, a patch on his or her attire. I wore a lot of patches during my childhood and was glad to have something to put a patch on. I have worn a lot of slippery elm shoestrings, too.

Most of our clothes came from Aunt Callie Back’s rag sale. They were not new by any means, but they were clean and decent. Aunt Callie didn’t allow any trash in her rag sale. Anything that wasn’t fit to wear wound up in the burn pile. She inspected each garment carefully to weed out what she considered trash and everything had to be clean. She was a wonderful old lady and helped a lot of people with her rag sale.

Sometimes she would have a few odds and ends along with the clothes. I have a sugar bowl and salt and pepper shakers made of stoneware which were purchased there in the ’50s. I doubt she made very much money considering all the time she put into it, but she sure helped a lot of people.

Too many people in today’s dog-eat-dog society are too proud to wear secondhand clothes, much less patronize a rag sale, but my Lord and Savior was born in a barn. Heaven help me if I ever get to the point where I feel that I am any better than He was.

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