Years ago I remember getting bags of clothes from neighbours. As the youngest girl and the youngest grand-child I had 3 drawers of clothes, compared to my sisters meagre solitary, lonely drawer.
At the height of the Celtic Tiger, we simply binned our unwanted clothes. I would have been too embarrassed to offer them to anyone – kids clothes ‘out-grown’ were put in the recycling at Tesco’s. My, how things have changed.
I have a friend who has a daughter 2 years older than my pet-lamb. Last year when Robert had his heart attack and was still in A&E, she called over with home-baked bread and banana bread. She brushed the floor and made me coffee, and told me she would look after the kids anytime – ‘never be stuck Joan, you don’t need to ask’. She was true to her word.
Just after Christmas when I told her I was being made redundant, she told me to nip in for a coffee – she had three black bags of clothes for my daughter. When I opened the bags there were 4 pairs of NEXT jeans, tops, shorts, 4 swimsuits, leather boots, Ugg boots, hair bands, matching skirts and cardigans. Her daughter wears a uniform to school, so the clothes were only worn at the weekend. They were all in perfect condition. My friend could have easily sold them on eBay and pocketed a small fortune.
But instead she gave them to me. This was the first time I had ever received bags of clothes in my adult life – it was like Christmas morning from 40 years ago! I was delighted. When I put the tops, trousers, jumpers, boots into piles , I realised I had enough outfits to last us well beyond the summer.
3 years ago I would have turned my nose up at bags of clothes from friends. How times have changed. It made my week – to know that a friend thought of me and gave so generously.
To think we thought the Celtic Tiger was a good thing – but now in recession and redundancy I have re-discovered true friendship and true generosity of spirit.