Sunday, October 16, 2016

Member of the Immoral Majority

In my senior year of high school, 1983, I was feeling my political oats and had at least two T-shirts made at the local Fort Worth mall T-shirt shop. I used to love going into mall T-shirt shops, and mall record stores, and mall pseudo-head-shops like Spencer's---although located in malls (which are much mocked today), these shops offered exciting promises of self-fulfillment to a teenager raised in a small town far-removed from any mall until able to visit one upon getting a car at age 16.

One of the T-shirts was hot pink, with "Frances Lives" in yellow and white letters. My best friend at the time, Ginny (whom I was also in love with), had a matching shirt made. (I remember that on the way home from the mall, she changed into the shirt in the car I was driving.) We were both enthralled with the movie "Frances" (starring Jessica Lange) that had just been released. And outraged at her treatment by "society." Unfortunately, that T-shirt of mine has vanished.

Another shirt, though, has survived. In '83, Jerry Falwell's religious group "The Moral Majority" was in full sway, supported by President Reagan and constantly in the news. I thought the group sanctimonious and obnoxiously self-righteous, and, again, headed to the mall to have a protest T made: "Member of the Immoral Majority." Which I paraded around my high school in during the spring of my senior year. 

I didn't take the T to college in the fall of '83; left it at my mother's house. Soon forgot about it. About 15 years later (in the late '90s), my mom presented me with the below Christmas present: My "Immoral Majority" T made into a pillow:

1990s "Immoral Majority" pillow made out of my 1983 T-shirt.

I appreciated that my mom took the time to make the pillow, and I had it with me for a few years, but by the 2000's, after various moves, I'd long relegated it to storage at my mother's house. On my birthday this year, though, my mother had dug it up, and she gave it to me again.

At 51, I was mildly interested in seeing it again. Wanted to keep it for nostalgia's sake, not sure where to put it. ("Rebellion" is cute in your teens and 20s, but it wasn't like I was going to have it as a throw-pillow on the couch in my home today.) I ended up tossing it in the back of my cute Mazda 2 that I just bought in late July---adding "personality" to the car (along with the yin-yang fringed symbol hanging on my rear-view mirror and my "The Donald 2016" bumpersticker).

And then I again forgot about the pillow. Until today, though, when I was in the drive-thru for a local Austin sandwich shop (Thundercloud, for those who know it) on the way to work. The very young, very pleasant girl at the window was peering intently into my car, then said, "I was just trying to figure out what your pillow said."

So I started out with, "Well, Jerry Falwell had a religious group in the '80s..."---not sure if she'd have any idea who Jerry Falwell was. Turned out she did know of him and the group. And then she really thought it was "cool" that I had had that T-shirt made when I was 18---and that my mom had made a pillow out of it --- AND that I now had the pillow in my car.

Nice that someone was perceptive. Also nice to be asked about something that I cared about. Lately, I've been trudging along in life like I was invisible. It was nice to be asked about.

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