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Blue Denim Jeans
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Blue denim jeans...is there any other color? Well, actually there are many other colors; in fact, I'm wearing right this moment "jeans" of a black/brown/cream variegated stripe. So chi-chi! In my closet reside jeans red and also white and in addition brown. Folded on the top shelf of the closet my dearly beloved blue jeans.

I grew up on a farm. I wore blue denim jeans, real ones, the kind you bought all dark and stiff, blue threads one way, white threads the other. If you wore them without washing them first (as I did, riding bareback on Scout), you ended up with blue skin (and you never did that again).

My mother despaired of turning me into a proper Yankee lady. I had to wear a skirt (yuck!) to school with knee high socks to keep me warm (double yuck). I had to wear my one nice dress to church on Sunday. However, my first action on coming home was to change into my jeans. Ahh, now I was myself again!

Faded jeans? Those were the jeans you had worn all summer, the following summer finding them softer and lighter. Overdyed jeans? That was when you washed them with your red sweatshirt and they became faintly pink (drat!). You wore them anyway, and the next wash you tossed in some washing soda or bluing.

Denim jeans symbolized to me then (and still today) time that's my own, to work in the garden, feed the animals, read, hang around in the back yard, whatever. When I get home and get changed, then I can truly relax.

I can wear my red, brown, or white jeans, but not the blue ones to work. To my mind, this makes no sense, but I realize it's a long standing prejudice: blue jeans represent poverty, iconoclasty, rebellion, intellectual down-dressing, redneck--or radical.

In college, at Stanford, we had to wear skirts on Quad; but then we moved into the late 60's at Berkeley for grad school. Jeans, tees, long hair, Free Speech Movement. Different times, and what your clothes said about your politics and social position sure changed.

I keep thinking about retirement--and the one way I visualize myself is in jeans. Blue jeans, the only kind. I have something to look forward to, though I'd better keep some of my office wear, just in case I find myself in a professional situation where blue jeans are not allowed.

Free the blue jeans from the back of the closet!

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