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Three score and ten or more

Monday, October 12, 2009

BRIGHT PINK UNDERWEAR (and shirts and sweatsocks and ---)

I wrote, several years ago, about my childhood, and that during my childhood I learned to do the family wash with a wringer washer and a pair of rinse tubs. It was particularly important under that situation to sort clothing carefully because all the wash was done in the same water, rinse water etc. The whites went in the first load, the soft colors in the second load and the dark colors in the third. Jeans, bright deep colors, and new colored clothing were saved for the final load of all because they faded and would color any other clothing that was lighter than they. Jeans faded blue, red things faded red etc., but when these really dark clothes faded they seemed to fight things out and keep their own colors.

Newer washing machines wash each load in its own water (I am astonished that the environmental fanatics haven’t insisted on a return to the wringer washer) and sorting is still a necessary procedure. A lot more clothing is colorfast now, and the sorting doesn’t always have to be as strict. Ordinarily one learns quickly which items are colorfast and which ones (usually new) might fade and it is pretty easy to keep your clothing in its original coloration.

Occasionally, a new, non colorfast item slips into a batch, and causes trouble.

I have to inject a bit of information about a much maligned element of Mormon faith. One reads on the web and in fiction, a real lot of garbage about “Mormon Underwear”. It is true that once a member of the LDS church had reached the stage of making certain serious commitments to the Lord, he or she will be given a certain type of underwear to use. We are taught that this underwear, we refer to it with the generic term “priesthood garments” will serve as a protection to us. This has been interpreted by some, to mean that they have some sort of magic, which is silly. There are myths and apocryphal stories about physical protection, but they are not bulletproof, they will not stop knives or saws or even scissors from penetrating them. They serve, for us, more or less the same functon that the reverse collar or vestments serve to Catholic and Protestant ministers, with one main difference. The vestments etc., are designed to remind others that those wearing them have specific authorities and religious responsibilityies. Mormon garments are designed to remind those wearing them that they have made commitments,and have some authority, and the protection that they give is primarily a reminder that keeping those commitments keeps one closer to the faith and thus to our Lord.

Having said that, I will go on about bright pink underwear. LDS Missionaries have such garments. When I was a missionary they were one-piece units somewhat like “long johns” except that in the summer they had short sleeves and were knee length, I guess like “short johns”. I went to Finland for my mission. It was in the early fifties when Finland was just recovering from the second world war. Washing machines of any kind were in somewhat short supply, and in one city where I worked, public washing machines were unknown. We were faced with paying folks to wash our clothes, some of which were washed on the river side and beaten on rocks. I had one pair which was made of nylon, which the laundress tried to iron, and I spent a year with an iron-shaped hole between my shoulder blades. As for those made of cotton, it was not unusual at all for them to come back in various shades of blue, pink, or any color common to one’s other clothes. During my three years in Finland I became philosophical about the color of my underwear, but upon my return home, my mother had conniptions about those colors and all of the garments were either bleached or replaced.

I have become accustomed, over the past fifty five years (since returning from Finland), to a consistent shade of white. Somehow, last week, a new red shirt belonging to Janet slipped into a load of light colors, into which, on a whim, I had also put a couple of pairs of underwear. The result was a mini disaster. I tried rewashing the things with more detergent, and oxyclean. No result at all. Then I hit the stuff with a cup of chlorine bleach in the water. No difference, the dye in that shirt may have faded once initially, but it was determined not to release its hold on anything else this time.

“I’ll get you.” muttered I. This time I added four cups of chorine bleach to the batch of laundry. Some good things happened. None of the clothing dissolved (bleach will sometimes do that). A pale blue shirt turned from purple to an indescribable shade of bluish purple which is still pale and a fairly pleasant color. A green patterned Eddie Bauer shirt which I loved, lost most of its green and some of its pink, but still has red streaks up the cuffs. All the clothing was, at least, improved, except the underwear. I have two pair of almost eye-popping bright pink underwear. Jan has threatened to burn them, but I have kept them in my drawer as a warning. These are so bright that as a missionary they would have shined through my white shirt, and as used as I became to strange tints in my underwear at that time, they would have been burned in disgrace. I guess no one is immune from strange colors if the laundry is incompletely sorted and a non-colorfast piece enters the picture.

BEWARE, Carefully sort your wash! Beware the bright pink plague.

(I actually have a pair of bright pink athletic socks as well, that I will wear if I find an appropriate occasion)

7 Comments:

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Travis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:39 AM, Blogger Ed said...

I have read several books on the Mormons and break-away segments. I have visited Navoo several times. I have not once until this blog post heard that you are given special underwear when you join the church. Interesting.

Since most Mormons that I have met doing missionary work wear white, this is not an option but I just don't buy white shirts anymore. If my underwear turns colors, it is not a problem since I am the only one seeing it. I consider it my way of saving water by reducing the number of loads I have to do.

P.S. I suppose that is why the Mrs. always does the laundry when she can.

 
At 2:09 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

Not special underwear when one joins the church, but after one goes to the temple and makes certain solemn commitments of service and faith. (no one but adults)

 
At 4:26 PM, Blogger RaDena said...

Richard, the only reason the evirowackos haven't insisted on going back to the wringer washer is because either they haven't thought of it or they're too young to remember them. They aren't to big on actually studying anything before their own lifetime, you know.

I knew about the underwear as I lived in Salt Lake city and had a girlfriend who wore one of the white undershirts. But she was very young, about 9 or 10 years old and you say here that only adults who go to temple wear them, so I'm a bit confused.

Richard, unless you are planning on visiting a gay bar you might want to trash those bright pink socks. LOL!

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

RaDena, we talked about this once before, and I pursued it. I have not been able to find anyone who has ever heard of children wearing garments or special underwear of any kind. One friend (non-Mormon) who has been studying schisms in the LDS church for years stated that he "thought" he had hear of a polygamous offshoot of the church that had some practice similar to that, but he wasn't sure. You really have this old Mormon Coot over a barrel.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

RaDena, we talked about this once before, and I pursued it. I have not been able to find anyone who has ever heard of children wearing garments or special underwear of any kind. One friend (non-Mormon) who has been studying schisms in the LDS church for years stated that he "thought" he had hear of a polygamous offshoot of the church that had some practice similar to that, but he wasn't sure. You really have this old Mormon Coot over a barrel.

 
At 8:35 PM, Anonymous K johnson said...

OK then

 

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