Inspirations for album pages (and blogs) come in the strangest places. Today inspiration struck while I was sitting on a bench outside the car dealership, waiting for the technician to check out my minivan. It was a chilly morning (for Florida, at least), and I was huddled up in my trusty grey sweatshirt.
I started thinking about how comfortable – and comforting – my grey sweatshirt is. And then I started remembering the long parade of grey sweatshirts in my life. These grey sweatshirts are always zip-front, hooded, with roomy pockets, and, well, grey. I can tuck my hands in the pockets, pull up the hood, and face cold winter mornings or chilly summer evenings with aplomb.
The first grey sweatshirt appeared on the scene rather serendipitously – it was the only sweatshirt available in a little country store in the mountains of New Hampshire when I was in desperate need of warm clothing. I was a high school student serving as a mother’s helper to a family vacationing in a lakefront cabin. I had jumped at the chance to escape New Jersey for a few weeks, but I hadn’t packed very wisely. So I had to spend my hard-earned wages on a sweatshirt.
And that was the beginning of a long line of grey sweatshirts. (Imagine if the only sweatshirt in that New Hampshire store had been camo? Or pink?) That first grey sweatshirt accompanied me on all my summer adventures – sliding down a New Hampshire Mountain, canoeing across the lake at sunset, and sitting around the campfire with my first “summer love”.
When I got back to real life in New Jersey, my grey sweatshirt was a memory of that magical summer. I wore that sweatshirt all through my high school and college years, until it was threadbare with a broken zipper and holes in the pockets. But still I could not seem to part with it.
Then I moved to Maine and got a place just down the road from L.L. Bean headquarters, where I came across the coziest fleece sweatshirt – hooded, zipped, and grey! My first grey sweatshirt was retired with honors, and the new sweatshirt came on duty. It was with me when I rafted the Kennebec and when I dragged my red Perception kayak through hip-high snow to reach a whitewater river in early spring. It was with me when I walked along the rocky shores of Casco Bay and when I drove to work at the paper mill in Westbrook.
Then my grey sweatshirt and I moved all the way across the continent to the Pacific Northwest, where we explored Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, the Cascade Mountains, and even Victoria, British Columbia. We climbed Mount Rainier and watched the flying fish at Pike’s Place Market. And we walked the cutest little Rottweiler puppy at all hours of the day and night.
And then came the family-raising years in Georgia and Chicago, and the next grey sweatshirts had more X’s on the tag in the back. Together we pushed babies in strollers, held little hands at the playground, and waited for the bus.
Fast-forward to the present – now I live in balmy Florida, and the grey sweatshirt that served me so well in Chicago is now too warm most of the time. So this fall, I met the perfect Florida grey sweatshirt – lightweight, light grey, and – hooray – with fewer X’s on the tag. This is the sweatshirt that I huddled up in at the car dealership, the one that started this trip down memory lane.
Isn’t amazing how an article of clothing can tell so much about a person and bring back so many memories? Somehow remembering wearing that grey sweatshirt helps me remember being “me”.
Overlays: All Roads Lead Home, Black & White Power Palette
Fonts: Fancy Schmancy, Bookman Old Style, Arno Pro Smbd