Holiday not too taxing

CNJ Staff Photo: Andy DeLisle
Sandi St. Clair, a house parent for the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home in Portales, carries clothing for, left to right, Dian, 11, Julienne, 14 and India, 5 while shopping Friday at J.C. Penney.

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ Staff Writer

Editors note: Freedom Newspapers has agreed not to publish the last names of the children in this story by request from the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home in Portales.

Juggling an armful of clothing, a cell phone and four shopping lists, Sandi St. Clair took a break from her back-to-school shopping by perching on the edge of a display table. Around the harried guardian, three young girls stood impatiently awaiting the continuation of their shopping spree.

St. Clair, a houseparent at the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home, was at the North Plains Mall early Friday morning to take advantage of the tax holiday.

The statewide event began at 12:01 a.m. Friday and continues until midnight Sunday. Shoppers can save about 7.5 percent on clothing, footwear and school supplies.

“This (tax holiday) is a very good opportunity (to save money)” St. Clair said, “and it allows the kids to get more.”

While quantity was on St. Clair’s mind, her young charges were drawn to items that would reflect their individual style.

India, a Portales kindergarten student, was searching for her favorite color. “I like pink,” India said. With an eager attitude, the energetic 5-year-old was successful in choosing a pink corduroy jacket and a sequined denim jacket with matching jeans. The youngster also chose a purple sweatsuit, adorned with the words, “Dance Dance Dance,” that she plans to wear her first day of school.

“I like to have my picture made,” India said with a dimpled grin, “and I like trying on clothes.”

Unlike her younger housemate, fourth-grader Dian avoided the feminine colors and gravitated toward items with an athletic style. With a shrug of her T-shirt-clad shoulders, she said she was searching for the perfect pair of jeans. Preferring not to speak, the shy girl instead displayed her choices by holding them in front of her face. Her selections included several camouflage pieces and lots of denim.

“She (Dian) is not a girly-girl,” St. Clair said. “She’s sporty.”

The most fashion-conscious of the shopping group was Alexis.

“It (clothes) doesn’t have to look like the stuff in magazines,” Alexis said, “but it has to be cute.” The headstrong Portales sixth-grader wrinkled her nose in disgust at sweat pants and cuffed denim capri pants.

“I want what is in style,” Alexis said. “That stuff is old where I come from.”

After much debate over appropriate fit and age-appropriate material, the preteen eventually settled on a stylish pair of black culottes. “They’re comfortable,” she said.

Style was also on the mind of Julienne, a Portales ninth-grader. The oldest of St. Clair’s charges, she preferred to shop alone. The teenager considered a soft, pink sweater before deciding it didn’t suit her style.

“I only like hot pink,” Julienne said, “and then only with black.”

All four girls said they enjoyed the shopping trip and are looking forward to wearing their new clothes on the first day of school.

“Now I have to get my hair braided,” Alexis said.