Black is for Dead People

So says my mother.

Black 1Mom has a ratty black cardigan sweater that I have been wanting to replace the last few months. It is her “wubbie” of sorts, a cover-up when the A/C is too cold or the heat is not warm enough. It is also in a condition that Goodwill would consider ripe for the “no” bin. This black sweater is full of pills and pulls, linty pieces of Idontknowwhat and a hole big enough for a child’s hand to investigate. Yet, she seems attached to it.

The last few weeks, I have been searching online and in the stores for a replacement cardigan sweater. It hasn’t been easy because 1) the stores are packed with spring and summer merchandise, 2) manufacturers don’t seem to understand the concept of a simple, button-front cardigan sweater, and 3) the manufacturers that do understand the concept want to charge high prices for their understanding. In going through the web pages of what is considered passable for a cardigan sweater, I found 1) items that would look good on a slim 20-year-old, 2) sweaters that wouldn’t look good on anyone, and 3) cardigans that are so flimsy they would not keep a hot-flashing, 50-year-old woman warm.

On Saturday, though, I got lucky. I found a black, spring cardigan sweater hanging in a far corner of the ladies’ department at Kohl’s. They also had one in a pretty “opal blue.” The price was right. I grabbed both of them in what I hoped would be the appropriate size and felt a sense of accomplishment.

On Sunday afternoon, I went to see mom and to present her with the two sweaters and a spring shirt that I had also purchased at a different store. I was excited to see if everything fit and met with a certain someone’s approval. I pulled out the black sweater first.

“What color is THAT?” were the first words across mom’s lips.

“Black,” was my reply.

“Black? I HATE black. Black is for dead people.”

“Ummm…mom…I wear black and I’m not dead.”

“You wear black?”

“Yes, mom, lots of black.”

She had a look of disbelief and disdain.

“Black doesn’t look good next to my face.”

Black 2I looked at mom, with the black sweater wrapped around her shoulders and buttoned at the top, and didn’t come to the same conclusion. I tried to tell her she looked fine, but mom would have none of it.

“Take it back. I don’t want a black sweater.”

“Ummm…mom…you are wearing a black sweater.”

“I only use it to cover up. I don’t go out in it.”

Yes, she does. Go out in it.

This go-around with a black sweater reminded me of a time, long ago, when mom and I were out shopping together. I selected a black dress off a rack at an unremembered store in the mall. Mom immediately frowned and asked me why I wanted a black dress.

“You need color next to your face!”

“But mom, black is sexy.”

Mom laughed.

“Mom, black is sexy. I love black.”

She laughed again.

I was not amused by her non-support, although she failed to mention anything about dead people at that time. For that, I was thankful. I also spent many years after that rebelling against mom’s disgust of black next to her face or mine. I still love black, I wear it often. I have black coats, black pants, black tops, black dresses, black sweaters, black shoes, and black socks. I was at my prime during the Biker Chick years when black was the expected color of fashion. I have to admit, though, that I often mix the black with bright colors because I have this dang voice in my head.

“You need color next to your face!”

Black 3Anyhow, getting back to the two sweaters and shirt I bought for mom. Both sweaters have to be returned because she needs one size bigger (mom liked the opal blue, so I’ll be reordering online with my 30% off coupon), but the shirt fit.

Mom asked the size of the shirt and I told her.

“What? So big?”

“Mom, that’s the size of your other shirts.”

“Really? You better check.”

Yes, it’s the correct size.

Mom had another look of disdain and it didn’t have anything to do with the color black.

I fully expect mom to shove her Starlight mints back at me this coming Saturday and declare that she needs to lose weight. This will be after we go out for her brandy manhattan and a lunch plate full of food.

Rest assured, mom will not be wearing black.

She hates black.

Black is for dead people, after all.

26 responses to Black is for Dead People

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Not that I was involved in the hunt, but info know of the frustration of finding a simple black cardigan sweater. You should be able to buy sweaters all year long.

    I love the par where she’s wearing black but telling you she doesn’t wear black. I could see my mom doing that.

    Good luck

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Ha! Dan, I call all of my typos “fat finger syndrome.” I knew what you meant. Yup, mom looks fine in black, especially with her gray hair. I don’t know why she is so opposed to it, but it just tickles me.

  2. M-R says:

    This one’s a bit too emotionally blackmailing for me. Reminds me too much of my own mother.
    Sighh …

      • M-R says:

        It was bound to come about, reading summat about your mama that reminded me of mine …

      • M-R says:

        That’s the intention ! 😀 I used to address Stringer that way, frequently; and he would pretend to be hurt, and mumble “You just called me an idiot !”. I have such lovely memories of that: consider yourself honoured, M-J ! 🙂

  3. Lottie Nevin says:

    I dress head to toe in black, every single day!! I love it. That said, yesterday I did something very rash….I put a white t-shirt on under a black loose top and I felt so weird all day – waaaayyy out of my comfort zone. Today I’m back in black!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Ha! I suppose you would freak if made to wear hot pink against your face…that’s OK, black is cool no matter mom’s dislike or disdain for it.

  4. joannesisco says:

    This reminded me of exchanges with my mom. Is it possible that all mother-daughter relationships are alike? 😉

    After my dad passed away, she always wore his ratty old cardigan. I was determined to replace it with something pretty that actually fit my mom. I completely missed the point. The ratty old cardigan won.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      This one may win too, regardless of its color. I was laughing at myself last night as I was wearing my own ratty red sweater that I bought years ago. I should get rid of it, but it’s so comfy. And it’s not black!

  5. Also for goths, musicians and waiters but who wants to be picky?

    I was going to suggest looking in the goodwill stores (called op-shops here). That’s where I go when I need to find something non-trendy and actually functional. Also the best place to find “out of season” items because everyone has just cleaned out their closet ready for the new season. 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I went to Goodwill and St. Vinnie’s and they switched over to a lot of spring and summer clothes. The few sweaters they had were not in any way a cardigan. But they had plenty of black…for my inner goth.

      • I love how shops switch over to summer gear when it’s still 5°C outside (and vice versa with winter coats when it’s 35°C). Just because the month says “It’s spring!” doesn’t mean it really is.

      • bikerchick57 says:

        I know…it’s a cold week, snow up north today. On Sunday I didn’t need a jacket. Crazy spring weather!

      • Not yet. 😦 I keep approaching the letterbox with excited antipation only to be disappointed. And then I get stuff like bills and nasty letters telling me off for not renewing my teacher registration.

        You’ll know as soon as it arrives. 🙂

      • bikerchick57 says:

        Dang slow postal service! Just remember to not get too excited and that I have a warped sense of humor…

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