Simple Pleasures—My Oldest Sweater
I try very hard not to be sentimental about things. Things get broken or lost and, to use a cliché, you can’t take them with you. Nonetheless, I have a sweater that I love. It’s off-white acrylic. I think my mother bought it from the Sears Catalog 30 years ago. It has real wooden buttons, interesting cables, and pockets for tissues. At some point, maybe 20 years ago, I managed to trade my mother another sweater for this one.
This sweater’s certainly seen better days. It’s covered with pills. The cuff near my Velcro watchband is particularly fuzzy. The top button’s been missing for 19 ½ years and though there’s a spare button sewn into the seam, I never seem to find time to fix it.
I don’t wear it in public. When I go to school to pick up the kids or out on errands or appointments, I swap it for something more respectable. But it’s always hanging there waiting for me when I get back home.
I’m not sure exactly why I like it so much. I think it’s partly because it was my mom’s. She laughs every time she sees me in it. “Are you still wearing that sweater?” But wearing it is rather like getting a hug from Mom whenever I want. Maybe I love it partly because it’s been with me so long: through planning our wedding, buying our first house, nursing babies in the wee hours, hours of solitary writing, leaf fights in the yard.
I could make a replacement. I’ve knit more complicated sweaters. I could buy some wool, copy the cables, re-use the buttons. A wool sweater would be warmer. In winter in our chilly house, an acrylic sweater doesn’t do it without another layer over or underneath. If I made a new sweater, I could wear it to school pick-up or to a friend’s house for coffee. But that sweater wouldn’t cradle me in memories.
So I’ll take credit for my sustainability: using things until they wear out, keeping things out of the landfill, and being generally frugal. But really, to be honest, it’s my security blanket. To me, it’s perfect as it is.
Do you have a security object?