Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"Mating" Socks

Growing up, we had a big oval wicker laundry basket with handles and it was always full of socks. The sock basket. If we needed a pair of socks we'd simply dig through the sock basket . When there was no pair in sight we were forced to wear what my Mom called clown socks. They didn't have to match. Often I would get the chore of what we called "mating" socks. This would generally consist of dumping all the socks on the livingroom floor and dividing them up into piles of like colors, "mating" as many as possble then putting the "unmated" socks back in the basket. As far as I knew every household did this.

In my early adulthood, for reasons I can't recall, the sock basket came up in a conversation and it soon became clear that not everyone grew up 'mating" socks. They looked at me as if I'd participated in some depraved sock reproductive ritual. For a moment I felt ashamed, but from what I could remember there was absolutely no reproducing going on, more of a slow methodical elopement perhaps. Our socks were quite enlightened. Color, texture and gender blind. I secretly vowed at that moment that I would never have a sock basket of my own. Twenty some years later I know of only three rogue socks in my laundry system and if thier "mates" (perhaps it's a British term) don't appear soon they're done for. My Mother can never know this, however, it would become apparent that I didn't inherit all of her legendary thrift and resourcefulness. My parents generation never called it recycleing. I vaguely remeber them using a saying that went something like this; use it up, wear it out, make it do or go without.


Cheryl said...

I chuckle while I read your post! I have been "mating" socks for as long as I can remember. It is not one of my favorite tasks and so I used to save it until the basket overflowed! I have even been known to bring out the sock basket when my Young Women buddies would stop by to visit. Bonding time, baby!! (Just ask Kelsey and Camille for verification!!)

When all of the kids were home I had a system for making sock mating easier. I bought the same sock for each boy. Levi, red stripe, Aaron blue stripe, Ben plain, etc. It really helped.

Now that there is just Luke, Scott and I, I really have no patience for rogue socks. I give them a couple of laundry days and then their number is up! Out they go!

Sock mating..........ahh, those were good times!!

ray said...

Personally, I grew up matching socks which may have the same connotation of "mating" if you think in terms of the "Matchmaker" song from Fiddler on the Roof. But "mating" does sound cost effective if you didn't have to buy more when you needed them. Just put two in the dryer, turn up the heat, let them take a roll in the barrel, and voila! New socks!

Tim said...

I hated mating socks growing up. Whenever we watched TV, if there was a basket full of out-of-the dryer clothes, mom would put the basket in front of you as if to say, "make yourself useful." Getting the whites was a gamble. Sometimes, you'd discover just a bed sheet and a few towels. That would go fast. On the other hand, you could get a basket full of socks that needed mating. That was the worst.

I remember going through a phase where I'd roll off my socks in the shape of a donut and throw them in the wash. They'd usually come back to me in the same shape, damp, and definitely not clean. At other times, they would unroll in the wash. And then on rare occasions, you'd get one that was unrolled, and another one that was still rolled. In those cases, mating the socks became exactly that.

Ambie said...

Just wondering... If socks were to actually mate would non matching socks be coupling or would like socks be coupling, if so wouldn't that be incest and then would their offspring suffer deformities like holes possibly?

FYI this post was generously donated by Aunt Nat

ray said...

Tim, Maya makes her socks into donuts all the time and it drives me crazy! there's nothing grosser than having to unroll someone else's dirty socks. maybe I should just let them run through like that - except I hang dry all my laundry and they wouldn't fit in the clothes pin.

Yes, Ambie, I knew it wasn't you writing this because I've seen your heinous sock basket. And when I finally took the time to organize it, I swear there were all of 3 matching pairs.

Thanks, Nat, btw. Nice writing, although it's triggered a bit of PG-13 comments. Not Cheryl, of course. Her mind is pure as driven snow...

Ambie said...

that would be all the healthy offspring from those unrelated who chose to mate.

Cheryl said...

My eyes are burning from all of the racy comments on here!! ;p)

What food for thought!! Love Nat's comment! She's a thinker, that one!!

My opinion of donut socks is it makes them easier to chuck into the trash! Luke usually does that when they are wet or really gross. If he is too grossed out to unroll them, what makes him think that I am going to do it??!

natalie said...

Thanks for letting me play, I guess I really needed to get the sock issue off my chest. Wheh!