Its funny how the simplest things can bring back memories more vividly than any
photo album. We all have that teddy bear, doll, or old hat that makes us smile when we
hold it. For me, that teddy bear was several sweaters. I believe in shirts. Those big, fuzzy,
thick shirts that eat up half your body when you put them on. The type of shirt that has
been worn so many times, and stretched out in so many directions, that it doesn’t really
fit anyone anymore. I believe in the big masses of fuzz that at some angles resemble
shirts. However, until you put them on, you can’t really tell what they are. I believe in
curling up inside a ball of shirt and sleeping in that warm cocoon of fleece when the
depressing winter months close in on you and not even the space heater you keep in your
cold basement room protects you from the frigid ice that freezes your joints. But mostly, I
believe in the scent and memory that each shirt keeps hold of.
Having three older sisters in the house, though incredibly dramatic at times, can have
it’s upsides. Advice was always given, and gratefully taken, but the hand-me-downs, oh
the glorious clothes that make up most of my closet, they were the real reason I was
grateful for my sisters. Growing up, my own friends often criticized me for my choice of
clothing, apparently, the large fleece button-ups I wore were never fashionable. I felt like
I needed to wear them though. I was always cold. Being as small and skinny as I was, I
didn’t generate much body heat. So the clothes my sisters began to give me were a
blessing, I looked cute, but I didn’t freeze for it. At first, I thought the only thing I liked
about the sweaters was the fact that they made up cute winter ensembles, but after a
while, I realized they were much more than that.
After two of my older sisters were married, things changed very drastically for me.
The younger of the two moved to Wales with her husband, while the other lived in
Longmont, an hour away from home. My sister still living at home spent most of her time
with friends, or at work, I was the only one still at home all day. I became lonely without
the occasional whisper of my sisters as they tried to fight without my hearing it. I found
comfort in the sweaters; no matter how many times they were washed, they always
smelled faintly of my sisters. Now that all of my sisters are gone from the house, I can
still find solace in the wide, fleece arms of the shirts my sisters so kindly delivered me.
My sisters never realized it, but with every new sweater, they were preserving that bit of
home, so that whenever I needed it, even when they weren’t there, my sisters were
always right were I needed them.
The sweaters are warm, and big, and stylish, in their own way, but the thing about
them that always makes me pick them up in the morning and smile, is that they can bring
home my sisters, who may be up the street, or on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, but
they are always there. The simplest things bring back memories, but it takes that old,
ragged sweater to bring home someone you haven’t seen in two years. So I believe in
shirts, but more importantly, I believe in the pictures they paint, the memories they help
me remember, and the sisters they bring home.
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