Tuesday, May 21, 2013

bell bottom blues


It was about 1975 that I gratefully got my older brother's hand-me-down old bell bottom blue jeans.  I was a skinny kid then and those hip hugging denims looked pretty darn good.  Long before I got them, Brook had sewn on a Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band patch on the rear right-cheek pocket.  You just couldn't get any cooler than that.

Brook's pants were worn out when I got them.  I had salvaged them from the garbage pale and asked mom to sew on some patches for me.  It wasn't long before mother started turning my mending requests down. My jeans kept requiring more and more mending.  I had to learn how to sew on my own patches.  Mother tried to buy me new blue jeans and I always opted to wear my one pair of old jeans.

I wanted to wear them every day.  I could usually get away with wearing them two days at a time.  At the time I envisioned myself wearing those jeans forever.  I kept sewing patches on them.  Eventually you couldn't see the original jeans.  I was wearing patches upon patches upon patches.  Those jeans soon became to me to be a wearable work of art.

It wasn't long before I found if I put my old blue jeans in the wash basket, that they would mysteriously end up in the waste basket.  I was the one who took out the trash in those days, so I got in the habit of sifting through the garbage before I took the cans by the road.  If my pants weren't in my bedroom, they would be in the trash.  I had save my pants on an almost weekly basis.  I deliver them from oblivion ~ bring them inside to hand wash them in the bathtub.

Mother tried to buy me a new pair of jeans, but I didn't want new jeans.  I didn't want to break them in.  The new jeans didn't have patches.  Mother started trying to buy me those new pre-faded jeans.  I was happy with the pair that I had.  There was simply no way she was going to find a way to separate me from those jeans.

By that time most of the kids my age weren't wearing bell-bottoms.  I recall by 1976, teenagers where wearing a less flared cut.  By 1977, they were more into pistol-legged painter pants.  Izod shirts were in.  A lot of people were wearing polyester.  I hated polyester.  I wasn't wearing the kind of garb my peers were wearing.  I wore my
Bose or my Frodo Lives t-shirt with my beloved pair of blue jeans.  Grown-ups would make comments.  I'd get compliments from those kids who also wore faded and holy jeans.  It was obvious to them that my jeans came from another time, another era ~ the days of hippies.  Far out man.

Not long after high school, I grew up and grew out.  I tried to wear them, but they had become too small and uncomfortable.  I was literally busting out at the seams.  All of the kings horses, all the kings men, all the patches in the world could not keep me in.  At the same time I was growing out of those patched bell-bottom jeans, I had also grown out of my youth.  Eventually I had to say goodbye to both.

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