birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Unripe Tomato Pants

For what seemed like the hundredth time the winter I was in first grade I was finishing my poached egg and oatmeal breakfast. Not being a fan of either I dragged my feet eating as I knew what was to come was even worse. My mother started becoming more insistent that I finish and put on my red wool pants. They were a nondescript pair of pants, made from a piece of wool mom had used on something else. The slim elastic waist, led to slim legs, the color was similar to an unripe tomato. Their goal was to simply keep me warm as I stood outside waiting for the school bus. The minute my leg went into the pant leg the whining began. Once both legs were inside the itching began and the scratching continued all over the lower half of my body the entire way to school.

Eventually mom must have felt bad due to the morning battle and made a cotton pair of pants to go underneath which helped a bit, but my skin still itched. They did keep me warm but the scratching component negated the warmth factor. To this day I steer clear of unripe tomato red colored clothes and wool. Although I thought for many years that it was all in my mind that wool bothered me, one day my mom announced she was allergic to wool. I gave her the mom look. To this day when I’m shopping and touch anything with wool, my hands immediately can tell and those unripe tomato red pants pop into my mind.

Let's Call It Ecru

My Catholic School Uniform