• Linda Gruenberg

Lucky Socks

I was thinking about dressing for success, this morning, versus dressing for luck, when I pulled on the lucky orange wool socks my sister gave me, my softest warmest hand-me-down long-underwear shirt from Mom, and then the big black and red checkered man’s shirt over the top like a sweater. Perfect. I dress for luck, not success. Dressing for success is perhaps about money—name brands, accessorizing, make-up and fashion statements. Dressing for luck is something softer, more raggedy, more familiar and less likely to match.


For me, hand-me-down clothes are always lucky. Hand-me-downs from my sister and Mom are at the top of the lucky list. I feel loved wearing my mom’s sweatshirt, her aura still wrapped around it. I forget she was tired of it and immediately love it for myself.


I wonder when clothes started meaning good or bad luck?


Maybe it started on a day I was wearing blue wool socks and a child kissed me. Though I didn’t realize it until I took them off, later that night, it occurred to me then that those socks were lucky. The kiss itself blessed them. And there are days you need the courage of having been kissed. That is to say, there are days you need the courage of wearing something you wore on another day when you were blessed with a spontaneous kiss from a little kid.


I think of Norma VanRheenen at WMU teaching us grad students how to teach freshmen comp. “What are your students most worried about on their first day of class?” she asked.

“How they look,” somebody said.

“What they’re wearing.”

“If the other kids will think they’re cool.”


We were all laughing our heads off.

“As teachers, what are you most worried about on your first day of class?” she asked.

It took one blink of an eye before someone answered.

“How we look,”

“What we’re wearing,

“If the other kids think we’re cool.”

Of course. We were still laughing; it just had a little more irony this time.


Wearing lucky clothes on the first day of anything is important. Wearing socks you wore on another day when a child kissed you, that’s important. Keeping your sister and mom’s auras close and wrapping it all in inside your beloved’s red plaid hunting shirt heading upstairs to your own computer to work from home is the very best. And warm, too, in more ways than one.

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