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Scarfs can be evil

When I was a child, my mom had the typical habit of over bundling my brothers and I in the winter; but with an Eastern European flair.

At the first sign of snow, she would dress all of three of us in the thickest, most impenetrable coats, and Russian ushankas which were fur hats with flaps on the side. (Come one!what kid wears a Russian hat in America during the height of the cold war?) Then came the dreaded multi-colored wool scarfs that were so tight that you had to keep loosening them every ten seconds so you wouldn't choke. How about itchy? Can we talk about itchy? She dressed us like we were going on some Arctic expedition instead of going to school in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  We kind of resembled Ralphie's brother from a Christmas story...

Maybe it was her Eastern European upbringing that inculcated in her such a fervor for winter wear. We always heard about how when she was little girl, they never canceled school even in 3 ft of snow. (Later on we found out that the school was only three blocks away.) But it was a different time then. The frozen tundra of rural Czechoslovakia in the 1950's is hardly comparable with an urban central jersey winter of the 1980's. 
Well, whatever her reason;  we were always the most overdressed kids at our school. 

One day everything changed...We had had enough. My brothers and I hatched a scheme that would end this madness...

Each time that she would make us wear those hideous scarfs we would wipe our noses on them.  We were so passionate about our plan, that we would compare each other's scarfs and the one who had the most "yucky nose stuff" would get the other brother's Bazooka Joe chewing gum. After doing this about a dozen times, the scheme worked. My mom gave up. Yes! It was genius! The cleaning of frozen boogers off wool every day actually lessened her resolve. I'm sure she wondered why we didn't use our cloth handkerchiefs that she armed us with everyday. (For those generation Z readers....a handkerchief is old fashioned concept whereby you blow your nose into a piece of cloth then return the mucus filled rag to your pocket to use again for future nose blowings. Gross.) But who cares. The plan worked.  By the way, my middle brother got the most gum.  I bet he let other kids wipe their noses on his scarf just to win.

Ah, the freedom. We weren't Eskimos anymore, Mama even caved in on the Russian hat thing. We wore scully caps like the other American kids.  But most importantly, no more asphyxiation by wool. We were finally scarf-less.   

P.S.   The plural of the word scarf  is "scarves."  However for this post,  I preferred the older and less commonly used "scarfs"  which was the only accepted plural form until the 20th century. 


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