|On Vivian: Rock star glam wig by Party Central and Linen flower dress by Bonnie Jean via Thrift Store|
|M and V using Nana's collection to get beautiful. On Mazie: Violent Red lipstick and glitter-velour top. On Vivian: the remains of Violent Red lipstick and vintage SSI-emblem top supplied by Patty C.|
|Our friend Jenn S after submitting to "The Salon." On Jenn: hairpiece by Gap via LJ Miller, hand-crafted origami pinwheels, wooden-bead bracelet supplied by Beth A, and hair accessories by Goody|
|A friend at Mazie's birthday party in impromptu "Captain Bucket-Head" attire. On Jo-Jo: bucket supplied by Cousin Trisha|
|Vivian and our awesome Liverpool/Johannesburg ex-neighbor. On Vivian: Tie-dye from cousin Rachel and Madras shorts from Gymboree via Thrift Store. On Janice: Own Collection|
The above is to demonstrate that we are All About Dressing Up. Any observation that The Gunns may possess or may be able to obtain a certain type of outfit is most likely correct.
What follows is a really old post from two years ago. Janice and Jenny have left our neighborhood, and we miss them immensely.
Yesterday, one of my neighbors knocked on the door we never use. Peeking through the slits of the blind, I spied a female figure but couldn't place her, so I asked Vivi: "Who's that?" "Mama, that's Janice and Jennifer's mom!" Janice and Jennifer's family moved into these apartments two months ago from Liverpool, UK. Before that, they had lived in South Africa. The father is Anglo, the mother originally from China. Janice and Jennifer are beautiful little girls who look half-Asian but speak in little Liverpool accents (or are they South African? My American ear doesn't know the difference). I swear, we live in the most culturally diverse American locale south of Brooklyn. But I digress.
I undid the chain and deadbolt and pried the sticky door open, then greeted J&J's mom, Jane. Three kids crowded around her - one was Janice. Jane began in heavily-accented English, not a Liverpool accent, but an Asian accent: "Do you have a...Sheep Suit?" I'm calculating. Did she really say Sheep Suit? If I start talking about a sheep suit, will this create more confusion? So I reflect the question:
"Do we have a SHEEP SUIT?"
"Yes. A SHEEP SUIT."
Okaaaayyyy. I jump to cultural inaccuracies, like, maybe they have a lot of sheep suits in Liverpool...or South Africa. Not likely. Maybe we are so materially extravagant in America that maybe it makes sense to a newcomer that we could have...lots of...suits? I DO actually have a lion suit, a leopard suit, a boys' suit even though I have no boy, a flower suit, a weed suit, and numerous movie star suits. Okay, the assumption that we could potentially have a sheep suit is a reasonable assumption.
"I'm sorry, we don't have a sheep suit." Just then it occurred to me that this may not be a Halloween endeavor but a school musical endeavor. Every year at our kids' school, each grade performs a musical. So I suggested: "Oh! Does Janice need to be a sheep for the school musical?" Janice instantly replied, with feeling, "November eighth!!!" Okay. So this poor mom who has just moved here is trying to muddle through the packet of instructions on how to build your kid's outfit with rest of us confused native moms. So I asked, "Are other kids in your class sheep, too?" I was banking on using their ideas. Janice told me that there were foxes, and frogs, and owls...etc. Usually it's a group effort that some creative and generous parent in the class organizes and batch-orders because usually everyone's the same thing. But apparently Janice is to be the only sheep.
So then Jane said, "Is there a store where I can buy a sheep suit?" Hmmm. Not so much. So I begin somewhere:
"You could try Party Central, but I'd look up the phone number on the internet and call before going there because it's a long shot. But we usually have lots of luck with the Thrift Store on North Decatur - Last Chance Thrift Store. Do you know which one I'm talking about?"
"Yes..." How to explain thrift stores. My Australian friend once drunkenly demanded I bring her a "serviette," and I had no idea what she was talking about. What's the Liverpool / South Africa equivalent of a thrift store? All this cultural equivalence talk does not even begin to approach the fact that Last Chance Thrift Store is an extremely busy establishment that one must brace oneself to enter, and use all one's creativity to achieve a goal within. In fact, the best way to go to the thrift store is with nothing at all in mind, open to the possibilities of the universe. I give up and offer directions and encouragement instead:
"It's a great big thrift store about two miles that way [gesture East]. You can look for big white things there, even for furry things." To explain my reasoning on this point, I had recently heard an exuberant teenage Last Chance rummager roar, "YETI!" while clutching a faux fur to his torso. That incident had occurred the week prior, while I had been rummaging through the racks at Last Chance and using all my stamina and creativity to produce a "Weed" costume for Mazie. Perhaps the Yeti-like item was still there? And sufficiently sheep-like?
For consolation, I added: "AND, there's a fabric store right next door if Last Chance doesn't have what you need." This is completely true, but one will pay quadruple at Hancock fabric store, even during their perpetual half-off sale.
Jane looked bewildered, but with fresh direction. Unfortunately, there is an amount of bewilderment we all must face in our own way when it comes to creating school musical costumes. The results can range from spectacular to what-is-that-kid-supposed-to-be. I privately hoped Jane had a knack for improvisation in the sheep suit department. Jane thanked me politely and departed with the three kids.
Addendum: We saw Janice in the school musical. She was unmistakeably sheep-like (not to be confused with sheepish), though the Yeti item had apparently not been available. Janice looked great, though. Wish we had a picture of THAT.