Posted by: ktzefr | August 9, 2011

My traveling pants get tossed…

I haven’t given up on travel — just these pants.  Classic white, Liz Sport, circa 1990 or thereabouts.  The elastic band gave way years ago, but I guess my hips broadened to accommodate the extra space so they never fell off.  I loved those pants with the deep pockets, straight legs, fabric thin as a ribbon.  My mom would have called them “threadbare.”  But they fit like a glove and felt like a hanky.

When I was getting in the car the other day I must have stretched a little too far and the rear end split as easily as tearing a sheet of notebook paper.   Finis, kaput, the end.  Literally.

I can’t begin to remember all the places those pants have been or what they might have seen, heard, or felt if a piece of clothing had that kind of ability.  I always kept them in tip top shape, bleaching out stains a number of times to make them ice cream white.  But alas…they’re out with the old notes and used calender pages and discarded envelopes that came bearing bills and junk mail.

Too bad they weren’t recyclable.  When I was growing up my mom made most of my dresses and skirts, and  I was far more likely to grow out of a piece of clothing than to wear it out.  But nothing was tossed.  The good parts of old clothes eventually made their way into quilts.  Curtains did, too, though sometimes they became aprons or cushion covers or elbow and knee patches. 

I used to attach memories of a time or place or event to what I had worn for the occasion — the blue-flowered skirt on a first date, the purple party dress, the red gown I kept for years thinking I may wear again.  I still have that gown but don’t have any serious plans to wear it. 

In his poem, “Old Clothes,” the Turkish poet Orhan Veli Kanik writes —

“I buy old clothes and refashion them as stars.”

I like that!

Do you have a favorite piece of clothing with a story to share?




  1. Katie, I’ve never enjoyed a story so much about old clothes! While I don’t anymore have such well-worn and well-loved clothes from my past, I do recall fondly a wonderfully comfortable white, long-sleeved, buttoned sweater from my college days. It was so buttery soft and a staple during the long, cold Michigan winters, especially while studying for exams. Wearing it gave me a such a cozy feeling. A number of Christmases ago, my husband, recalling how much I loved that sweater (and how much he liked it as well back then), gave me a gift of a new sweater, hoping to recreate the look and feel of the one I had long ago outgrown and given away. Though the sweater was lovely and the gesture so very sweet, the new sweater just couldn’t compare. Perhaps it was the memories that went with the old that made it so special!

    • Stacy…I think, maybe, it’s always the memories that make inanimate objects — whatever they be — special.

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