a sweatshirt tale

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I stared at my side of our walk in closet .  My husband’s, orderly side just was so pleasing to me, colors were coordinating in a long hue, the pants hung correctly so the creases would remain creased, laundry in the basket, even the shoes lined up  shining, in a mocking sort of way, at my disaster on the other side.  So I sat down and decided that I would give my side at least fifteen minutes of straightening time.

I started at the bottom where the shoes really should be.  I started to pull out things that weren’t supposed to be on the floor of the closet.  I pulled on the cuff of a blue soccer sweatshirt that is unraveling.  I really should toss it, I know, but it reminds me of my favorite old Breck sweatshirt that had cuffs exactly in the same disrepair.  I briefly thought about Jeff’s puppy because she was the one that ruined the cuffs on both of the sweatshirts. Niia puppy was the craziest girl I’ve ever raised, well almost the craziest.  This led to picturing my curly-haired, almost grown up girl, who lives in her own place now in the city.

oh…back to the cleaning…back to the deciding whether I should toss the blue sweatshirt…why do my thoughts turn to my first love…my old grey sweatshirt?

I used to wear my favorite sweatshirt every night after school, unless I had to go somewhere.  It was a heavy sweatshirt with a five inch banded hem .  It didn’t gather up or bunch like most sweatshirts, it was flat and smooth down to the hips. The front lettering said Breckenridge on it. You should know, Colorado is my favorite state, out of the fifty.   I  should also mention that I  loved the large, peeling letters that reminded me of camping- of family love.  Oh how I loved this sweatshirt.  I would never retire it.

Every once in a while, when Kelly was home from college, I’d be out and about and would come home to see Kelly wearing my Breck sweatshirt.  One thing you need to know is, Kelly is about half my size and really looked good in my favorite article of clothing.  I am not a person who minds when people wear my clothes and almost would share anything with anyone at any time,  but when I would see her borrowing my Breck, I felt selfish inside, which isn’t exactly like me.  I didn’t really analyze it deeply, because after all, to anyone else, this was just my ratty old sweatshirt.

But maybe it was because it reminded me of all those vacations out west before Kelly was a member of our family, maybe it was jealousy that she was getting to wear it and then I couldn’t… but one thing was for sure… she was growing to love it as much as I did.  I noticed that every time she would wear it, she would wash it and fold it nicely for me.  She cared about it, she cared about me.  One day, as she was getting ready for another apartment move in Chicago, she was home wearing it,  I suddenly told her that she could take it back with her to her new place.  The words just popped out so quickly.  I didn’t ponder losing it at all.

“Really? she cried,  you just love it so much, I can’t believe it!”  It was like I gave her gold, a gift from one pack rat to another.

I know that, after reflection, my grey, old sweatshirt represented much more than an article of clothing to my precious Kelly, it represented love… and we both knew it.  Funny how one ratty, old, unraveling sweatshirt knit our hearts that day.

My thoughts turned to my present mission.  I stuffed the blue sweatshirt back with the rest of the clutter; my fifteen minutes were done.  The important job of the day wasn’t exactly accomplished, but I closed the door quickly and decided to check in on Kelly instead.

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About Judson RISE professor

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

13 responses »

  1. Ah…I could feel your story unfold and the slices of life that ol’ sweatshirt provoked. I too have such a sweatshirt in my house. It’s blue and was once worn by a gangly adolescent basketball player but now is an around the house, yardwork, painting one….worthy of jokes and laughs,,, and memories too,.

  2. I was right in your Slice from the start. Recently, I filled 12 bags of used clothes, filled my car and dropped them at Good Will. My closet is something to behold. Good thing I wasn’t held back by memories, but so glad you did. What a lovely story trigged by that sweatshirt.
    So glad we got to meet at All Write, Nanc,
    Bonnie

  3. Isn’t it funny how an item can spark a memory which led you to an action. Some things are hard to let go. Your description of Dave’s side of the closet made me laugh, that’s my husband’s closet. Fortunately we have separate closets. 🙂

  4. Fortunately, my husband and I both have similar closet sides…we are both just happy if it’s on a hanger and not a wrinkled mess! I love how your story played like a movie scene in my mind. I had a ratty old Central Michigan University sweatshirt that I couldn’t part with because of all the memories. I wore it everywhere until it was no longer presentable in public and then I wore it at home…my comfort shirt, I called it. Finally, my mom made it into a pillow, when the cuffs were almost too hole-filled to stay attached. It still resides on my bed…unless my daughter steals it. 🙂

  5. Nanc, loved your story and all the memories it brought back to you, especially the connection with your daughter and sharing in the love of that sweatshirt. When the girls were here, they pretty much cleaned out my closet, so in putting it back together, I did get rid of things that I haven’t worn. There always seems to be one article that can’t be parted with. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I love you slice. I have so many things I still love but can’t wear, but still can’t bear to toss. My closet is still on my summer to do list.

  7. I love your story, Nancy, and the fact that you gave that grey sweatshirt up is such a beautiful gesture-such kindness! Your writing was heartfelt-loved every bit. And you know, your side of the closet can stay, much more interesting to me!

  8. I have a fave sweatshirt that turned into a painting smock at my mom’s. It always surprises me to see my kids wearing that sweatshirt through the years. Ah, memories!

  9. Oh, this is a delicious invitation to write about a favorite article of clothing. I, too, am in love with that sweatshirt through your words! Kelly is lucky (to have that sweatshirt, but mostly to have you)!

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