I obtained the sweater in 1984, when my young daughter won a $100 Hudson's Bay gift certificate for me in a Mother’s Day colouring contest. We lived in a very small town in the
Northwest Territories, a town with a little general store,
a tiny Bay, one hamburger take-out joint, one eat-in restaurant, one motel, some government offices, the college where I taught, and about 750 people not counting the students temporarily in residence. As any serious shopping required a flight out
to Edmonton or an excruciatingly long drive on
rutted gravel roads to Yellowknife, and we had been in the North for nearly a year, I used it to replenish my rapidly depleting and somewhat boring closet. I don’t remember what else I
bought, but I do remember falling in love with the bright red sweater.
As I walked down the hall, sweater in hand, towards the bedroom this morning, I noticed a seam under the arm that needs mending and a button that is loose. A seamstress I am not, and mending usually means the rag bag or perhaps a donation to the thrift store, but the thirty year old sweater will be mended. Too sloppy to wear for going out, it is my go-to sweater when I am chilly in the house. It is warm, it is comfy, and it is full of memories. And, as I hung it up, I noticed it is a medium – a size I haven’t worn for a very long time – which really makes me smile as it isn’t the least bit too small for me.
I love my old red sweater. I love its cheery colour. I love that it still fits me without the least discomfort. I love that it has lasted over thirty years. And, most of all, I love that it was a gift from my child who coloured so carefully in the hopes of winning something for her mama.
The old things in life are often the best : old friends, old dogs, old recipes, old sweaters.