One of the hallmarks and passages of being a teenager is sharing, borrowing, and trading of stuff. All kinds of stuff — clothes, music, you name it.
The act of sharing somehow cements the friendship and it helps expand your own inventory as well.
Granny and Mama, however, did not approve of this practice.
“I don’t pay good money for you to loan your stuff out to some of those heathen friends of yours,” Granny declared. She was more concerned with her investment in my fashion and hobbies.
Mama, on the other hand, did not like me borrowing things because another parent had bought them for their child.
“I’m sure Tanya’s parents would greatly appreciate it if you gave her things back,” she’d remind me gently on a daily basis.
“Tanya’s letting me borrow it. It’s fine.”
Until the one day Tanya showed up at my house. Of course, the item in question was a pair of diamond earrings.
“There’s a skirt in her second drawer that’s yours, too, Tanya,” Mama told her. “You better get that while you’re here or you may never have another chance.”
“Snitch,” I muttered under my breath.
I couldn’t believe my own flesh and blood ratted me out, but she did.
“You know how upset we get when you loan your stuff out to your friends,” Mama said, evidently hearing my rumblings of ill content. “Remember the roller skates?”
Ah, the roller skates. How could I forget?
A few years earlier, I somehow got the bee in my proverbial bonnet that I needed my own pair of rollerskates.
The Athens Skate Inn was the hot, happening place to be on the weekend, and it was one of the few places Mama would drop me off at with my friends.
I was fully aware she was waiting in the parking lot, chain smoking her Virginia Slim 120’s, but it was a most triumphant foray into freedom and I embraced it.
It didn’t matter that I spent most of my time falling on my tater or sitting on the carpeted little benches that lined the walls. I had some freedom.
It also didn’t hurt that my crush — the boy I knew I was destined to marry if Prince or Keanu Reeves fell through — worked at the skating rink.
The only little hiccup was the fact that you had to wear shoes that everyone else in the tri-county area had worn. Sweaty, nasty, smelly shoes.
I don’t care how much Lysol they sprayed in there or the fact that I usually wore two pairs of socks to protect my piggies, I was still disgusted by the whole ordeal.
“I need my own roller skates,” I declared one day.
“How come?” Granny asked.
“Because you have to wear skates other people have worn,” I explained.
She looked at me sideways and frowned.
“You ain’t wearing ‘em that long.”
Mama agreed. She’s not even a fan of me shopping in consignment or thrift stores now because she thinks there’s some germs that Tide can’t get clean.
The quest began to find me a pair of skates. I wanted a pair of white ones, not the nubuck tan ones that were the norm at the rink.
White, so I could feel like Dorothy Hamill but on wheels.
It took forever, but Granny found some. I can’t remember where she ordered them, but we had to wait longer than it took to find them for them to arrive.
By then, I was over my roller skating fixation and my crush had found a different job, so there was no need for me to have them.
Plus, Mama sang that “I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates” song every time she saw them.
A friend of mine asked to borrow them; she just needed them for the weekend and promised she would give them back.
Of course, as teenagers often do, she forgot.
“Did you get your skates back?” Granny would ask every time I went over there.
“No,” I sighed.
“Do you know how much I paid for those cussed things? You need to get them back.
“This loaning out stuff that I paid good money for is going to stop. I didn’t look high and low and pay that much money for those things for you to loan them out to that gal.”
I had heard it all before.
Granny didn’t like me loaning stuff out, especially if she bought it.
Mama didn’t like the whole lending and borrowing either, but she would often tell me not to loan anything to someone that I wouldn’t be okay with never seeing again.
This went on for months.
One Sunday morning, before she went to church, Granny decided to drive to my friend’s house and wake the whole family up so she could demand my skates.
She was rude. She was accusatory. But she got those skates.
“Don’t you loan these things out again,” she stated when she plopped them down in front of me.
I sighed. I didn’t see the big deal.
Then I became the parent of a teenager. I find various hoodies and sweatshirts in the laundry that I don’t remember buying.
“Where did you get this?” I will ask.
I’m informed it was a friend’s and they traded something.
I do not like this, not one bit. I don’t buy my child stuff to trade.
“What did you give them?” I ask.
Cole shrugs. “I don’t remember, but it was something I didn’t want anymore and they did, so it was fine.”
“Where’s that hoodie I got you? You know, the one that was $65?” I ask, folding his laundry.
“I gave that to one of my friends.”
“What?” I shrieked.
Suddenly, Granny’s fits and fury over those roller skates seemed perfectly reasonable.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.