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Wishing and Wanting

“Momma, I want this outfit sooooooooo-0oooo bad,” I exclaimed on a shopping trip at about the age of 13. We were shopping for new school clothes, but not in our usual stores. We happened into Aland’s, a boutique shop in Eastwood Mall, of Birmingham, AL.  I knew the second we opened the door that this would be one of those “wishing and wanting” kind of shopping days. We’ll See…

Any time any of us girls wanted something, we knew to ask Momma. Daddy had a recorded answer stored in his chief’s hat.  “Go ask your momma,” he’d say. Then, when we’d do as we were told and ask Momma, the answer might be yes or no. But, most times it was, “We’ll see.” Oh, how I dreaded the “we’ll see”! Because that meant she had to think about it, talk to Daddy about it, and research it. That’s usually when the beggin’ and pleadin’ started.

Wishing and Wanting

When any of us girls would beg and plead for something to the point of Momma losing her hair, the most dreaded answer came down like a gavel on a block. “Well, you can just wish in one hand and want in the other. See which one fills up the fastest!” Now that I’m a bit older, I know there is an adult version of this final answer. Momma only cursed under her breath occasionally, until we were teenagers. And then… well, I understood the NEED to curse when I had teenagers of my own.


My teenage shopping days included, but were not limited to, a neighbor’s hand-me-down closet; so shopping with Momma for brand new outfits was a special outing for sure! Momma loved JCPenney’s and that is usually where we shopped in Roebuck Plaza. But, for some reason, on this particular shopping day, we stopped into Aland’s, a boutique that sold brands like Bobbie Brooks and other Junior ready-to-wear.

I Guess So

I fell in love with a top and pair of pants that likely cost a day’s wage for my parents. They had 5 bodies to clothe, but as I begged and pleaded for this outfit, Momma knew this one was different. She knew I would wear it until it could not be handed down to either sister. Her answer: “I guess so, but you know you won’t be able to get anything else for awhile, right?” I knew. I didn’t care.

Wishing and Wanting Bobbie Brooks

Now I’m wishing and wanting again. I’m wishing I had a picture of me in that outfit, standing next to my momma outside Aland’s. I’m wanting to walk around Eastwood Mall on a rainy day and not worry about getting wet while shopping. I want to buy my first grandchild a swing set from Western Auto like my daddy did for me, and I can just about taste a pizza from Pasquales. I’d love to hang out with friends in the parking lot on a Saturday night. I wish I could stop in for a Krispy Kreme donut and still fit in a size 4 pair of Bobbie Brooks’ jeans.

But, I guess I can just wish in one hand and want in the other….

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Kim Burdette

Kim Burdette


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    July 11, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Loved this. I, too, would love to revisit some of the old haunts.

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