Dear Mrs. Bowers,

Arlen has been criticizing me lately (Arlen is my husband) for writing to you so often, instead of "taking it to the Lord in prayer." I do hope my queries are not a burden to you - your advice has been so helpful.

My latest problem concerns proper home school attire. Arlen fashioned the basement into a classroom and on days when it's not raining or flooding I take the children - Destiny, Desireé, Damion, Danial, Delilah and little baby Dorian - down there for their lessons.

On occassion the other home school mothers and I meet in the park with our children and enjoy adult conversation over coffee from the thermoses we bring. I'm always really embarrassed as the other mothers wear what they call "sweats" and tease me for "dressing up." Sometimes their "sweats" match the outfits their children wear but one thing you can count on is the predominance of the four colors of the apocalypse: magenta, kelly green, perriwinkle and peach. Often these are accented by scraps of dyed leather, feathers, rhinestones, ribbons, fringe and cryptic "WWJD?" acronyms.

I must confess that I do have trouble negotiating the sandbox wearing 2 1/2" Bandolino heels and more than once I've been nearly strangled when my Anne Claiborn scarf has gotten caught in the chains of the swing-set. And I wish I had a dime for every time some little urchin has clawed at my calves and put a run in my L'Eggs.

Would it be wrong for me to adopt the utilitarian garb of my fellow home school mothers or should I continue to risk alienating them by sticking by my more refined fashion sense?

Mrs. Bovina Dawkins-Shoope

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