How times have changed.
I remember the rain gear from our childhood. We never went out the door on a rainy day without umbrella, rain hat, and galoshes. You’d think this was acid rain the way my mother would suit us up.
Never mind that we lived a block from school, which meant only a four-minute walk (we had small blocks). We squeaked along the sidewalk in our rubbers (yes, we called them that – how innocent) and tried not to poke each other’s eyes out with our umbrellas as we trotted off to school.
The umbrella was okay, since we used them for sword fights and Mary Poppins impersonations. Our raincoats were okay, too, and one year, my twin and I wore reversible raincoats: navy blue on one side, plaid on the other. Yes, for one briefing, shining moment, we were no longer clones, but real individuals in our own right, at least until the sun came out.
Our rubbers were another story. Hated, hated, hated them. We had clunky kid shoes anyway (no sneakers in Catholic school, since apparently God had yet to create exercise), but cover them in thick, black rubber and you looked like a true dork.
When we got to high school, the first rain day proved to be a real shock. Not an umbrella in sight. No raincoats, no galoshes. It was a sign of real maturity to get soaked and it was a badge of honor to spend your first class wiping the water off your desk as your hair dripped dry.
As an adult, I got back into the umbrella habit, but dang if I can find one when I need it. I’ve got a few stashed in the trunk of my car, but they’re in various stages of distress. One won’t open, another opens too far and ends up inside-out, and the others are lopsided.
My husband offered me his golf umbrella the day I had a big client meeting on a very rainy day. Thanks, but no thanks, honey. Walking into corporate headquarters with a red-and-white striped umbrella large enough to accommodate six people would be bad enough, but that giant Budweiser logo probably wouldn’t send the right message.
I did once show up for a meeting with my daughter’s Disney princess umbrella, but the woman I was meeting with had a daughter the same age, so I considered it a way to bond.
And we did.