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A Hand-Me-Down Sweater

As the temperatures begin to dip below 50 degrees, it’s finally time to bring out the sweaters. As I was trying one on recently, it brought back a memory that I’d not thought of in years. When Mr. Cozi and I married, we were still in college. It was his senior year at AU and I was a sophomore transferring from a junior college. I had lived at home until then and also worked in a doctor’s office where we wore scrubs every day. Needless to say, my family and I had spent most of our $$$ on the wedding, so my trousseau was a bit bare. My 60-year-old neighbor taught me to sew and I made 2 skirts with matching vests and she gave me some of her clothes. One of those items was a green, striped sweater with a large collar. I wish I had pictures.

I wore that sweater to class at least once per week that fall of 1980; sitting in class with lots of preppy girls who wore wool-plaid shorts, polo shirts and coordinating sweaters wrapped around their shoulders. I’d never felt more loved and shunned at the same time. Mary (my neighbor) had given me her sweater out of love and generosity and I was so very grateful. It was warm on those cool mornings, but it was, after all, a sweater worn by a lady 40 years older than me.

A Hand Me Down Sweater

Similar sweater found on Ebay, described as an 80’s Military Sweater

I loved that hand-me-down sweater, but also wished on most mornings that I had something more stylish to wear. Funny now, as I look back at the sweater styles worn by most of the country in the 80’s, I likely looked better than most. Fame was a hit movie back then, so a lot of girls were beginning to come to class with oversized tops, wearing slouch socks with their Ked’s tennis shoes. Every where I looked there were styles that I didn’t own.

To add insult to injury, I had a part time job at a popular clothing store at the local mall. Do you remember Brooks? Every day I unwrapped, tagged, steamed and hung the new styles of the day for others to purchase, while wearing my hand-me-down sweater or handmade skirts. I left that job to work for the university, which was a much better job. But, one of the reasons was because the manager insisted that I wear Brooks clothing. Not an unreasonable request, but it just wasn’t in the budget that year.

When I think of that year now, it was one of the most romantic years of our marriage, we had some of the best times just walking to get ice cream and I learned how to sacrifice for the bigger picture. We had a bright future ahead of us and I can now wear the trends as they happen. I no longer own that hand-me-down sweater, but I wish I did. I would squeeze myself into it and wear it proudly as a vintage piece. Who knew that what we considered hand-me-downs back then, would today have the distinction of a lovely title like … vintage clothing.

On this Fashion Friday, I am sending you warm wishes that all of your hand-me-downs will bring you confidence, a bright future and sweet memories. I know mine did.

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