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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

In the pink as charity shopping season begins anew

It’s to the point that I should know the answer.

“What’s your favorite color?”


If it’s Clothe-A-Child, it’s gotta be pink.

Well, if you’re 8 years old and a girl.

And, when that’s the case, you just stand back, adjust your eyes and absorb all the shades of pink that exist in the world.

Or, in this case, Sears’ children’s department.

Ashley and I became fast friends when we went shopping recently at Great Lakes Mall, bonding over our hunt for the perfect snow boots and shoes at Payless ShoeSource.

She was still a little iffy on her lefts and her rights, so once in a while I’d have to point to the leg she needed to use.

At one point, she declared that a pair of shoes that was a half-size larger than her mom’s indicated size was a little too tight. I looked at the shoe in my hand and realized she had the other one on the wrong foot.

“Oh. I didn’t know that.”

“It’s OK. You’ll get it eventually. Sometimes I still get confused.”

For 8-year-olds, there’s a big shoe question — Velcro or laces.

If I could, I’d take the Velcro route every time.

First, you get to annoy those around you with a noise that, for some, is akin to fingernails on a chalk board. Second, it’s a lot easier than making those loops and feeding them through other loops, then tying things.

Ashley decided on Velcro for both her snow boots and her dress shoes. I pity those who will be nearby when she puts on those snow boots, though. Those big pink jobs with the fuzzy pink interior have the biggest strips of Velcro I’ve ever seen, and make the longest scraping noise you’ve ever heard when you’re trying to open them up for foot insertion.

When it came time to pick out clothes, I was surprised to hear Ashley didn’t want any jeans.

“I don’t really like jeans,” she said.

She did, however, like the skinny pants that youngsters today have adopted as their personal style. You know the kind — it shows off their tiny little legs under big, roomy tops and sweatshirts.

Of course, the pink ones were the first in the shopping cart for trying on. I talked her into a spotted purple pair and a solid black pair, too.

They were all winners.

I pointed out that she could wear the black pants with any of the pink shirts she picked out. She also could wear the black sweater with the kitten on it with the purple pants or even the pink ones.

It’s all about the ensemble.

While she was doing her marathon try-on session, Ashley saw another young lady who was trying on clothing come out of her fitting room to show off a gorgeous white dress she planned to wear to an upcoming father-daughter dance.

That set us off to find the perfect holiday dress.

It wasn’t difficult. A tour around the dresses led us to a rack with pink dresses overlaid with black lace.
When we got back into the fitting room, I helped Ashley take it off the hanger, prepping it to try on.
“Ohhhh, I didn’t see that it had a belt, too. That’s so pretty!”

A few minutes later, Ashley opened the door and stepped out with a big smile on her face. Even though it hadn’t been zipped or tied in the back, she knew it was “THE ONE.”

It’s funny, each time I head out shopping with Clothe-A-Child, there’s a moment when the young one finds that special piece of clothing that makes it all worthwhile.

With the boys, sometimes it’s a hoodie with a neat design or a pair of pajamas with their favorite cartoon character. For the girls, though, inevitably it’s a dress.

It’s that princess, party, royalty thing that just makes a girl’s head spin. And, if she can do it in a puffy dress that spins just right as she twirls around, all the world becomes a fairy tale.

And, really, that’s how it should be for the kids we’re taking shopping through Clothe-A-Child.

Clothe-A-Child, in its 33rd year, operates year-round. The program provides warm clothes and shoes to needy children in Lake and Geauga counties. All money raised goes to serve the children helped by the program. The News-Herald covers all administrative costs. Through its first 32 years, Clothe-A-Child has raised $3,733,325.70 from area residents and friends who believe in this crucial program. To donate, send a check to The News-Herald, c/o Kim Tompkins, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby OH 44095. Indicate how you’d like your name listed in the donor list printed in The News-Herald. Gifts received after Dec. 24 will be counted toward the 2014 campaign.


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