By George Capsis
I have black socks in my top dresser drawer that have more holes than sock, no kidding.
But let’s start at the beginning—70 years ago in high school—when, each lunchtime, I sat with a small group of quiet friends.
One of our group, Steve, listened more than he spoke. But what I found very special about him was how well he dressed; he dressed like a grown-up. One day I brought up his attire and asked why in both winter and summer he always wore black socks. He explained that when he walked he did not want to introduce that small flash of color which would clash with his always conservative dark trousers.
Oh wow, that made sense and I have been wearing black socks ever since. Yes, 70 years of black socks…
Way back I used to buy them at Macy’s which had, and may still have, a very large sock section. Then later, when we got a place in Bridgehampton, I only shopped at K-Mart and, yes—always black socks.
But things changed. I did not find the familiar brands I used to buy in Macy’s anymore. Now they have fashion names and I no longer trust Ralph Lauren to give me a soft easy-to-pull-up sock—comfort is not necessarily fashionable.
I ordered “small black socks” from Amazon and received a pair that would fit snugly on a four-year-old but, fortunately, when I complained the young lady said, “we won’t charge you.” So if you want a sock for a lollipop, I have one.
And then I developed another problem—weak muscles and pained joints—so pulling up a long tight sock and keeping it straight was simply agony. I did have a few short, soft, fat socks and they were a joy to slip on, but they got holes—first small, then bigger and bigger. Polly was very kind and never asked me about them. She just threw them into the wash and then back in the drawer.
One of the few remaining rituals I have is going to Rite Aid on Sunday morning to check out the weekly sales and leaving with only “extra strong” toilet paper. One Sunday, Dusty came up to me, in silence, holding what looked like, and upon inspection was, a pair of men’s black socks! Oh wow—I had made many desultory inspections of the Rite Aid underwear section in the vain hope of finding men’s socks and now I had them in my hand!
They had only one other pair and as I reached for them I noticed the sign, “Buy one and get 25% off on the second.” I snatched that very last pair. Heaven! After decades and decades. I pulled off the cardboard collar on a brand-new sock and discovered there were TWO pairs—oh joy—and then upon further inspection found that they were my old favorite Macy’s brand, “Gold Toe.” Oh joy again. And, although just a bit tight because they were new, I pulled them on with relative ease. After 70 years—a pair of new socks!
Oh—and this is very powerful—I took one of my short 70-year- old socks that was more hole than sock and dropped it ceremoniously into the trash…

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