January 29, 2014

My Name is Not Rebecca

Every day that I'm alive, I become a little bit more like my mother. This is not a bad thing...but it's definitely something that has taken me by surprise.

If you had told my moody teen-aged self that this was my fate, I wouldn't have believed you....but it's true.

Here's a little story to illustrate my point.

When I was a child, my family shopped at Goodwill and garage sales. This didn't bother me all that much because we often found really great things...like a Donna Karan t-shirt which I proudly wore to junior high.

The only thing I didn't like about buying second-hand was the monograms. Don't get me wrong, as a good southern belle, I love a monogram. I just want the monogram to be my own.

During Goodwill shopping excursions of my childhood, we'd frequently find perfectly good, sometimes "like brand new" items that happened to have their previous owners' names embroidered on them. Back-packs, beach towels, tote bags, etc. Because my mom is who she is, we rarely passed up on these good deals regardless of whose name had been stitched on them.

So it was perfectly normal for me to have a towel that said Daniel or a purse with a big swirly M on it. If the price was right and the quality was inherent, we didn't pass it up.

As a kid, this was not cool. When I wore a hand-me-down cheerleader costume to elementary school on Halloween, all my friends wanted to know why it had KAREN emblazoned across it instead of KATE (in this case it had been my aunt's, but still).

One time my mom found a piece of wall art at a thrift store that had another family's address on it. Since it was "like new" and in the color scheme of our home's decor, she snagged it. I can't tell you how many people came to our house and asked what was the story about the other address?

For a while (high school and college), I tried to distance myself from my thrift store heritage. As I came into my twenties and beyond, I shopped the Target clearance racks like a fiend. Then I got my first real job. Little by little, I realized that while retail store wares looked shiny and lovely, my newly earned pennies would stretch farther at yard sales and thrift shops (my mom was right).

Now that I'm well into my 30s, I'm a proud consignment and thrift store shopper. This past weekend the southern beau was holding my place in line at Goodwill while I scanned the rack of handbags near the cash register. I spotted an adorable thermal lunch tote with the cutest print of brightly colored snails. Then I turned it over and saw that the other side was monogrammed with the letters RRM. Without skipping a beat, I snatched it up and bought it. No, my name is not Rebecca Rose Miller (or any other combination). But I will carry that bag with pride because it was a good deal on a "like new" item that works just fine for holding my lunch.

My momma is so proud.

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