When our three boys were in elementary school, I had some level of control over what they wore. Off they’d go in their khaki pants, cute little striped polo shirts and dock-siders. Kid-prep, all the way. Dressed for Success.
The oldest and the youngest complied nicely. They stuck to the rules and never made a fuss. Not so much with the middle child. He rebelled. (Why is it always the middles who rebel?)
He’d return later in the day “Dressed for Distress.” Items that had been lost, found, and tossed into the school dumpster were now on his person. All that cute, preppy, stuff had been “exchanged.” We got used to it. No use in struggling. Time would, we hoped, provide a correction. (It did.)
As there is in almost everything, there was a silver lining in that dumpster. It came home, on the middle child of course, in the form of a sweatshirt. A Harvard sweatshirt, to be precise. We lived in a well-educated community so even trash had a certain panache.
As soon as I saw it, I knew that sweatshirt was meant for me. First, the size was “small.” Second, it was a Harvard sweatshirt and the Mister had schooled there so my wearing it didn’t feel fraudulent. And third, it was soft. So very soft.
That was 45 years ago. That sweatshirt has never shrunk, stretched, faded, or frayed. It’s never pilled or puckered. It’s still warm, soft and most importantly, still mine.
At a wearing rate of 3x per week for 45 years, I can safely say it’s been worn 7020 times! I can also extrapolate that it’s been washed 1800 times! It looks as good and feels as comfortable as the day it came home from the dumpster, all those years ago.
Even the “care” label is still intact. Washing instructions are legible. And one little bit of information on that label tells the story of its longevity: “Made in America.”
They just don’t make ’em like that any more.