It’s amazing how you spend your time when you have kids: Avery and I “enjoyed” a morning at Value Village last Saturday looking for an orphan costume. Her choir was performing two numbers from Oliver — Food Glorious Food and Consider Yourself — during the Christmas concert this past Tuesday night, and she needed to look like a street urchin from 1800s England. I pictured a child chimney sweep wearing rags, but I saw my vision was off base after the choir director e-mailed everyone this photo for guidance.
Just like English aristocracy, Victorian-era orphans looked smart. And evidently, coloured clothing didn’t exist back then. For some reason I figured Value Village would stock an assortment of drab, threadbare capris and vests, each for $2.99. Wrong. There was exactly one pair of olive-hued clam diggers, one cream-coloured turtleneck two sizes too big (orphans’ clothes never fit properly, right?) and two appropriate vests (Avery would borrow my brown corduroy newsboy cap). Not a great selection, but we took the items to a dressing room.
The first vest, according to Avery, made her “look like an old man.” She was clearly gunning for the second vest, a stylish brown number made of suede and rabbit fur, with a $10.99 price tag to match. It was just the kind of coveted item that would have drawn unwanted attention from rival street urchins back in the day.
It looked a bit rich, but we were already pushing the envelope with a turtleneck (a 1970s invention, I believe), so why couldn’t Avery go all out and be a poor little rich orphan?
Clearly the fur vest didn’t go over very well with Avery’s castmates because she wasn’t wearing it when she took the stage for Food Glorious Food. Backstage after the performance I inquired why she hadn’t worn the vest.
“They wouldn’t let me, Mommy.” “Why not?” I asked. “One girl said it was too nice and orphans didn’t wear that kind of thing.”
Sigh. Was it like that in Oliver’s time? Fellow orphans sabotaging his chances for adoption success?
No matter. Avery still rocked the songs and now we have a chichi fur vest that she can sport in Fernie over the holidays. I hear the poor little rich ski bunny look is all the rage this year.