July 17th, 2019

Reiss’s Pieces

By Judy Reiss
Every now and then, you either hear something or read something or even see something that brings you back, in a flash, to when you were young! And I have to tell you that is exactly what happened to me the other day!

I received a catalog the other day from the Vermont Country Store and as always, I looked through it but not too carefully, at least the first time. I put it aside in the bathroom and my intention was to look at it more carefully at a later date and of course, to leave it for anyone else who might want to look at it. Well sooner than I had anticipated, I had to spend more time in the bathroom and in order to fill that time, I started to look at the Vermont Country Store catalog much more carefully. And there before my eyes was an advertisement for Tangee lipstick! And I can’t tell you how shocked and surprised I was. Truthfully, I didn’t know that they still made Tangee any more. Now, let me tell you why. When I was in junior high, no one was allowed to wear makeup until after Christmas vacation of our 8th grade. And then it was only Tangee lipstick. Oh, I vividly remember how excited we all were to be able to wear that lipstick. What I don’t remember or even really knew was who made that rule. But I do know we all believed it. And if someone was dumb enough to wear another lipstick before Christmas or of a brighter color, even the teachers would remark on it. Now, I have contacted several of my school friends and they all agreed that Tangee was the lipstick and that I was right. We all adhered to that rule. And keep in mind, this was just a public school in New Jersey.

I am ashamed to tell you how excited I was about the Tangee and other than my old school friends, none of my loved ones were interested! But I didn’t throw the catalog away. I put it with the other bathroom reading material. Of course, the next time I had time to read, I picked up the catalog again and began to look through it again and Bingo! There was another blast from my past.

What I have to tell you is this time is weirder than before. Just a few days before I had been talking with the Grandmamafia (the name given the group of ladies that meets ever day at the Three Mountain Cafe in Waitsfield for coffee, tea and luscious pasteries) and for some reason we had been talking about when we were in school and I had mentioned that I had wanted Lollipop underpants more than life itself. All my friends had them in all sorts of colors and I thought that they were the ultimate of wonderful underwear! Of course, my mother would never even consider buying what she considered an upscale frippery and I only had a no-name brand of something else. I do think that when I babysat all the time, I finally did earn enough to buy myself a pair, but by then I think the wonder had worn off. Of course, back then we only earned 35 cents an hour to babysit, so it took a long time to raise enough for “fancy” pants.

But back to the Vermont Country Store. Here, I was leafing through and you can only imagine my surprise to find, right at the top of the page, an ad for Lollipop 100% cotton underwear providing the utmost fit and comfort for over 50 years. (more like 60 years) The only thing that was different was that they now only make Ivory and white instead of all the glorious colors that I remember.

So here in one traditional Vermont catalog, I found two items that actually were very important in my growing up experience. I probably am not going to purchase either of them today, but of course, I did find a few other things that I can’t live without. But not only did it bring me back, quick as a flash, to my growing up, it did give us ladies quite a lot to discuss. And we all wondered, as do I, do kids today have things that they want and can’t have as small as a certain pair of underpants? And do schools still have unwritten rules that everyone does follow? Somehow I don’t think so!

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