“Harmone-ous” Christmases Past

Dear Reader:

This week’s StoryWorth question yesterday asked me to remember which store was my favorite growing up…or, perhaps, the one store that I remembered the most from my childhood.

Immediately the three-storied Sears building in downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina popped in my memory.

As a child I loved going there with mother and sometimes my siblings…though neither brother liked to shop much when we were little. For me it was a special outing…a mom-daughter get-away.

Even back then I loved history and Fayetteville’s famous Market Place…the site of the original town hall when Fayetteville was once the capital of North Carolina in the late 1700’s.

From the third story of the Sears building I could view the Market Place clearly.

Sears was the only store in which mother had a credit card. She was very astute with money (she had to be) but she kept this one card for the holidays only…especially Christmas and Easter…and solely to get us children holiday attire.

This suited me just fine for about twelve years and then slowly but surely it happened…the pre-teen years began giving way to the early teen years and the dark shadowed “harmone-ous” monster began peeking through my normal laid-back disposition and all sense of “harmony” disappeared.

I had started Horace Sisk Junior High and suddenly realized (13 year old rationale) that in order to be “cool” and “accepted” at school…one needed to wear the “cool” clothes…not “Bobbie Brooks” children’s clothes from Sears.

Unfortunately I was still a runt as my 13th birthday came around…and the only clothes that  fit me were still found in the Sears children’s section (no petites back then)…much to my chagrin.

As many of  my  female classmates began “popping out” all over…my chest still looked like a plowed up flat Kansas farm field.

I had finally gotten braces but my hair betrayed me….it turned dark and curly…no one wanted curly hair in the sixties…everyone wanted long straight hair like Cher’s or short straight hair like Twiggy.…alas..I was doomed.

To make matters worse…mother decided to move the family back to Laurens, her rural hometown, leaving Fayetteville and all my cousins my age behind. My harmones pitched a fit.

I kept hearing mother whispering in the phone…”I don’t know what has gotten into Becky…but she is making everyone miserable with her tantrums.” Deep inside I knew mother spoke the truth…but the problem was…I was too miserable, myself, to stop.

My friends were wearing the cool clothes…Peter Pan round collar “Villager” blouses with circle pins, straight skirts, and the most coveted shoe wear of all…Bass Weejuns. All I had was “baby” clothes from Sears.

But then one day…a miracle. Mother planned a special outing for me (trying to make up for the move probably-since I was lonely and miserable )…We met my Aunt Eva in Greenville and went shopping…  just for me…for back to school clothes.

I sat in the back seat, hopeful but wary, as we passed the Sears store in downtown Greenville and finally pulled up in my personal “mecca”….The “Villager” boutique store….the coolest store around!

I left with a skirt, round collar blouse, a circle pin, and miracle upon miracle…a pair of weejuns…not the fake ones…the BASS ones. I would never..ever… get anything that “cool” (or expensive) again but mother and Aunt Eva had talked and Aunt Eva insisted that I needed to have some clothes for the first day of high school in a new town that would bolster my confidence in making new friends. She paid for those shoes…and from my “ecstatic” face…remembered years later it was worth every penny!

So until tomorrow…Sometimes Christmas comes early and miracles appear in September and not December…but no matter the date, it makes a believer of us in unsurpassed love and compassion.

This “outing”was definitely a definition of unconditional love because I certainly wasn’t deserving of any of it from my behavior…but I must plead the “fifth”… hormones are terrible things….look what they did to me decades later…leading to breast cancer.

***Mother and Aunt Eva…I will always remember that great sacrifice on both your parts to turn an undeserving miserable teenager into the happiest person in the world…and I did have a great high school experience…and college was waiting for me with four friends, the Ya Ya’s, who would be my rock from that freshman year until today. God works in mysterious ways.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday…I went “elfing”… dropping off some Christmas ornaments for my street neighbors… and I got busted by Vickie who had crept over to my house while I was out and left this “coolest” Christmas decoration with my favorite bird…my Sammy cardinal. Look at what Vickie brought! Love it!


Then Susan appeared with a very heavy Christmas gift…but oh! One well worth the hauling between Susan and me. Susan brought  a box of fire logs…I couldn’t move the box off the indoor steps (which was as far as we could get it) but I could “skin the cat” another way…just open the box and pull out a log! 🙂


Last night I enjoyed my first log out of the Christmas present…a chilly rainy night…just perfect to set the tone for Christmas….Thank you so much Susan! Great idea!





About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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5 Responses to “Harmone-ous” Christmases Past

  1. Susan Swicegood says:

    I share your love of those same beautiful and timeless clothes. Shopping was different for sure. Your home looks beautiful. Hope to see you soon.
    Susan S


  2. Susan Swicegood says:

    My best outfit ever was a navy blue suede skirt, blue and white striped blouse with Peter Pan collar and a headband. Same shoes. It was my Christmas present.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Isn’t it funny how we can remember details like this…because it is what made up young girls dreams back then…if we only knew how easy we had life.then and “cool” clothes weren’t going to be a major concern as an adult…priority list…back row. 🙂


  3. Rachel Edwards says:

    Remember those days well…❤❤❤


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