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A Love Letter to My Grandma’s 1960’s Wool Coat

July 11, 2019

Thank you for keeping my family warm.

When my grandma found you all those years ago, I’m sure she didn’t imagine that you would still be alive and well and in use over 50 years later. All she could probably think about was how thick and warm you were; how your navy-blue fabric wrapped around her tiny 5’ frame and made her feel safe and secure.

Thank you for allowing her to wear you while she cared for my mother and watched her grow up.

While winters weren’t particularly harsh in England, you were still necessary. My mom and her brother would hide under your long, trailing silhouette while my grandma shielded them from the icy cold winter rain. Indoors, you would be used as a blanket, allowing my mother to curl up by the fireplace and watch the calmness of the nighttime outside the window. While my grandma was already dwarfed in your embrace, my mother practically drowned.

Thank you for being passed on to my mother when she became an adult.

This came under a sad circumstance; your original owner had passed away, finally able to join her loved one, wherever he may have finally rested. My mother oversaw cleaning the home and deciding what to do with my grandmother’s items when she came upon you. She held you against her with a tight squeeze, taking in her mother’s scent and memories as she was able to let her go.

Thank you for traveling across stretches of ocean with my mother.

She brought you back to the United States, and I saw you for the first time. By this point, my mother was the one dwarfed, and I was the one who drowned. Your purpose was more realized here; where we lived, winters were harsh and white, burying the world under a quiet ivory blanket. Your wool, your weight, your thickness was appreciated here, even more than in England.

Thank you for staying with me, even if it were brief.

I took you on at the tender age of 22, after living by myself for the first time. I made the excuse that I couldn’t afford a new winter coat, but honestly, I took you, so I didn’t feel so alone. I would take naps in you, replacing my blankets with your warmth. I would show you off outdoors, watching the world freeze while I melted in your heat. I would let people touch you, remarking on your make and how unbelievable it was that you were still here, still going strong, 53 years later. Older than my mother, but just as comforting.

Thank you for staying together, even when I didn’t appreciate you anymore.

The longer I lived in the city, the more I wanted to fit in. No one was wearing a coat quite like you. While I should have recognized that this was a good thing, I instead casted you aside, leaving you to hang in the closet quietly awaiting your next adventure and eventually burying you in polyester and cheap plastic knock-offs. They may have been cute, but they didn’t love me like you did.

Thank you for allowing me to return you to my mother.

She was sad I let you go, but she was happy to see you again, and I could tell. She still wears you in the winter to this day, still appreciates all that you offer, and still reminds her of her mother – my grandmother. This connection alone proves you two belong together more than you ever did with me.

Thank you for keeping my family warm.

Amy Lancaster

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