Skip to main content

CASUAL CLOTHES VS. FORMAL EDUCATION

09/01/2009 11:53 ● Published by Anonymous

I was walking down the school corridor, and all the other kids turned to stare. “Hey Ricky,” said Pam Wintermute, a fellow fifth-grader with whom I was in love, “How come you’re wearing your P.J.s?” I looked down and, horrified, had no answer for her. I fled toward the classroom, wondering, “How’d I forget to get dressed? Why didn’t Mom say anything?” I had no idea what to do except sit red-faced at my desk and pretend nothing was wrong.

I had at least one going-to-school-in-pajamas nightmare each year I was in grade school. Some people have going-to-school-NAKED dreams, but I was too modest for that; I’d have died painfully in my sleep. Even so, these pajama dreams tended to be long and taxing, and I’d wake up exhausted. Little did I know that my dreams were prophetic: Someday children WOULD go to school in pajamas and other clothes with that kind of shapelessness and comfort.

A list of timesaving tips in a parents’ magazine suggests that, in order to ease the morning rush, kids could be put to bed in tomorrow’s attire. I guess it’d be up to each family to work out whether this universal 24-hour costume would be clothes or pajamas. Most kids strike a compromise. Instead of putting on shirts and pants or skirts suitable for sitting at desks and writing in complete sentences, nowadays kids (including mine) go to school in sweat suits, T-shirts and blue jeans suitable for food fights and rolling around on the floor like puppies.

“Get this:” said my wife Betsy, reading the local paper over breakfast. “Jane Wilson wants school uniforms.” (Jane is the president of our school board.)

“No way!” said 10-year-old Sally.

“They can't make us wear them, can they?” asked 13-year-old Marie. She sat at the table wearing her usual teen camouflage – dark and flappy.

Wendy, our kindergartner, sat behind her cereal bowl wearing an insane and flashy combination of unmatched floral prints. (Her outfit might be OK for strolling around the grounds, but she’d have to be talked into wearing something less remarkable before we’d let her go out through the main gates.) Wendy offered no opinion on uniforms, but I knew they would streamline our morning routine.

“What would the uniforms look like?” asked Sally.

“Maybe orange jumpsuits like they wear at the county jail,” I suggested helpfully. The kids looked at me.

“Oh stop,” said Betsy, “They’d probably be dark green or blue with plaid skirts like I used to wear to Catholic school. Boys would probably have to wear neckties.”

“I can’t picture the boys in my class wearing TIES,” said Sally. “Flea collars, maybe.”

“What’s Jane’s official reason?” I asked.

“She says it’d close the gap between the haves and the have-nots,” said Betsy.

“What gap?” I asked. “EVERY kid in town goes to school looking like a bum.”

“Oh stop,” said Betsy. “It says here Wanda Verish favors the idea, too.” Wanda, also on the school board, has a son named Sammy in Wendy’s kindergarten class. Locally famous for being a picky dresser, Sammy will only wear shirts whose sleeves end at mid-bicep, and pants of 100 percent cotton that have no constricting cuff. He says cuffs “choke” his ankles.

“Look out, kids,” I counseled. “You’re going to wear uniforms designed by Sammy Verish.”

“Dad,” said Marie, “YOU don’t think we should wear uniforms, do you?”

This might be the last time she’d ever seek my opinion, but since she’d asked... “Well, leotards help get ballerinas into the mood for leaping around. Maybe student clothes would help make a kid feel like listening to the teacher. It’s worth a try anyhow.”

Marie actually sent a letter to the editor. “I am an individual, and I have a right to dress like one,” she wrote. (Luckily the editor did not respond: Show me a teenager who dresses like an individual, and I’ll show you a kid who lunches alone.)

Marie is disappointed that I’m not going to man the barricades with her, but she doesn’t know about the clinical research into School Clothes I did in my youth. Even though my mom dressed me up like a B-student, I earned only C’s. Some days, after my mom left for work, I’d run back upstairs to change into old blue jeans or something else casual – to match my attitude toward schoolwork. My findings? Good clothes did not enhance my performance, but bad clothes made me feel comfortable about being a slouch.

Every time I’d bring home a report card, my father could see that the B-student attire wasn’t working, and he’d threaten to send me away to wear military-academy gray. Dad may have been onto something, but we’ll never know. He never made good on the threat, and my Inner-Student remained in its pajamas, eating chips, with its feet up.

* * *

Parenting, In Print dad's eye view rick epstein humor school uniforms
  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/22/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/23/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/24/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/24/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/24/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/25/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live

    10/25/2017
    06:30PM — 07:00PM

    Guide your family on a tour starting in pre-historic Australia. Observe, meet and interact with a...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/26/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/26/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/27/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Explore your changing relationship! Update your information on new parenting and child develop...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/21/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Wolf Pack! Family Day at the Museum

    10/21/2017
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Bring the whole pack to the museum for a day of family fun! Enjoy crafts and activities celebrati...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/21/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Nearby Nature's Haunted Hike

    10/21/2017
    05:30PM — 09:00PM

    Enjoy a guided pumpkin-lit hike in Alton Baker Park and meet an entertaining costumed bat, frog, ...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/22/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/23/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/24/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/24/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/24/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Haunted Hayride at Dorris Ranch

    10/25/2017
    05:45PM — 07:00PM

    Ghosts, zombies, mummies oh my! Ride through the haunted trails of Dorris Ranch, make crafts and ...


  • Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live

    10/25/2017
    06:30PM — 07:00PM

    Guide your family on a tour starting in pre-historic Australia. Observe, meet and interact with a...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/26/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/26/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/27/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • GO DUCKS! Weekends

    10/28/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    One campus. Two museums. Free admission. The Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Jorda...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/28/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • Halloween Carnival

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Dress in costume for a family-friendly Halloween night with spooky carnival games, sports with a ...


  • Mount Pisgah Mushroom Festival

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A fun festival featuring several hundred species of local fungi, collected throughout Western Ore...


  • GO DUCKS! Weekends

    10/29/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    One campus. Two museums. Free admission. The Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Jorda...


  • Colonial Harvest Days

    10/31/2017
    10:00AM

    Fall fun at the farm! Activities for kids and adults of all ages: corn maze, tractor hayrides, f...


  • All Hallows Eve - Eugene Downtown Merchants

    10/31/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Trick or treat in downtown Eugene! Over 800 kids are expected to trick or treat and enjoy activit...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    10/31/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • MOMIX: Opus Cactus

    10/31/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    A dynamic journey of dance into the hidden landscape of the American Southwest. With danger, sens...


  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    11/01/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    11/02/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Free First Friday at the Museum

    11/03/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    The Museum of Natural and Cultural History offers free admission on the first Friday of the month...


  • Gem Faire

    11/03/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    GEM FAIRE: November 3-5, 2017, Lane County Events Center, 796 W. 13th Ave., Eugene. Fri. 12pm-6pm...


  • Eugene Gem Faire

    11/03/2017
    12:00PM — 06:00PM

    November 3-5, 2017, Lane County Events Center, 796 W. 13th Ave., Eugene. Fri. 12pm-6pm, Sat. 10am...


  • Gem Faire

    11/04/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    GEM FAIRE: November 3-5, 2017, Lane County Events Center, 796 W. 13th Ave., Eugene. Fri. 12pm-6pm...


  • Eugene Gem Faire

    11/04/2017
    12:00PM — 06:00PM

    November 3-5, 2017, Lane County Events Center, 796 W. 13th Ave., Eugene. Fri. 12pm-6pm, Sat. 10am...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    11/04/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


 

 January 2017 Education Guide

NEW!! Coming in Sept / Oct 2017!!!

 

Weekly Recipes