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B.R.A.T.S. Cootie Socks

As you can imagine, laundry day in a home with six boys was a heavy work day. Shirts and underwear were changed every day, pants every other day. We had school clothes and after-school clothes and bedding that was laundered once a week. And then there was the pajamas as well as the in-betweens, the clothing that was muddied or dirtied unexpectedly as happens in a house full of boys. On top of this, Mom had to contend with the baby clothing and diapers, no disposables in those days, of the foster babies Mom took into her care. It wasn't as though Mom had noting to do except laundry. Cleaning, cooking, helping us all with a myriad of demands and tasks and keeping track of a thousand items that we would tend to leave laying wherever we were when we last used them. With all the things Mom had to contend with on laundry day, by far, the worst for her was the pile of socks. Keeping it straight, who the pants and shirts and pjs belonged to, with varying sizes, colours, and memories of who wore what, made getting them into the right dresser drawers not too difficult. However, when it came to the socks, the pile of intermingled, mostly the same size, but very personal foot adornments, it was a massive challenge to keep them straight. And, our attitudes surrounding these items were demanding. There was no way I was prepared to put my feet into a pair of cootie filled socks that might have been worn by one of my scuzzy, dirty, athlete's-footed brothers. It was Mom's responsibility to keep this sorted out because we were too busy soaking up days-full of knowledge at school and weekends full of energy to be expended. Keeping the socks sorted out was no simple feat (pun intended) since many of the socks looked the same. We weren't wearing too many white socks in those days, we were way to hard on them but there were lots of plain black ones, blue ones, a few argyle or similarly patterned ones, anyway, a mother's nightmare of foot covers. Being the smart and resourceful woman my mom is, she figured out a way to keep us all happily in our own socks, and only our own socks. One thing I need to make clear is that the socks issue only went as far as my brothers. When I needed a pair of warm socks, it was perfectly acceptable to raid Dad's sock drawer for a pair of his airforce-issue grey woolies. But, if one of my brother's ever dared to even glance in my sock drawer, it was time for a noogie fest on their head. Unless, of course, it was Mark or Rob, my older brothers whose heads I could never noogie.

Mom colour-coded our socks by stitching thread at the top of each. Each of us had our own colour. I no longer remember what my colour was, blue was my favorite colour but I think mine was green. Peace and contentment was brought to the Groves' household by those coloured pieces of thread. After that idea by Mom, the first thing we did after opening a gift of socks at Christmas, was have her get out her needles and threads and brand our new socks for us. She went from having to figure out where our socks belonged, to entwining coloured threads to keep us all happy. Happy and free of our bother's cooties. Mom was so clever with this system, that it made it easy for us to sort our own clothes as we folded them. Once I realized that this enabled her to transfer this work from her to-do list, to ours, I came to know just how smart that woman is. How smart was your Mom when you were a kid? If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends so they can enjoy it too. If you write me, I will respond. If you follow me on either my blog site or on my Facebook page, you will get notified of each new post. See all Terry’s B.R.A.T. posts at Follow me on Facebook at: My personal website: Write me at Do you love to read? Check out this site for some awesome talent. When we support artists, they are able to continue to decorate our world with adventure and beauty.

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