I went to Catholic school from 1st through 8th grade. Loved the school — HATED the uniforms. You would too: they were rusty red, forest green, brown, navy blue, and black plaid. It was an unusual pattern, asymmetrical, mostly of the green and red in odd-shaped rectangles and lines. So it was kind of like ugly Christmas, especially after you had worn the jumper, the skirt, or the pants for at least one yet. The red faded into this nasty orangey rusty red — you always knew the kids whose moms had bought them uniforms way too big (you’ll grow into it!) or had hand-me-downs from older siblings (if it was good enough for your sister …) or just had one that your mom washed a few times a week.
There are many beautiful plaids out there. Black Watch, Glen Plaid, Houndstooth, Buffalo or even Burbury. I even like those yellow plaids with the black in them that you see around this time — back to school time. But the Holy Spirit Catholic School plaid defies description. You have to see it to believe it. I don’t have picture on me now, but I will post one soon. From my description, you may be thinking it’s that nice Christmasy-tartan you see around the holidays, but you’d be wrong.
When I graduated from 8th grade, I took my mom’s sewing scissors to my uniform skirt. I had been wearing that skirt 1 or 2 years, so it was pretty faded and put up no resistance to my rage against the plaid. But that plaid has had its revenge, oh yes!
From that day forward, I have never been able to wear plaid again. It looks so cute in the catalogs and on the mannequins. Over the years, I have tried on many, many plaid outfits. Maybe this will be the ONE, I whispered in department store dressing rooms as I slipped a garment over my head. Then I opened my eyes and saw:
And not the hotsy Britney Spears version either. It all turns into Holy Spirit plaid to me.
So what I have I done? I have just registered my daughter for Catholic school. A uniform is required. It’s plaid! But it is the cutest darn plaid, a regular plaid, a run-of-the-mill plaid, a plaid I would have gladly worn for 8 years. Look at it over there, all navy blue and white, with a hint of red, yellow and green. It’s the kind of plaid you see in the Lands’ End or L.L. Bean catalogs, in girls’ Christmas dresses or back-to-school fashions. Just in case, I’m hiding the scissors. She’s in 3rd grade. I’ve got five years to go!