Leg warmers.  Banana clips.  Jean jackets.  As a child of the eighties, I considered receiving each of these a huge achievement…for that moment, anyways.

Only one of these remains in my possession – the jean jacket bought in 1991 as the music world was moving from hair bands to grunge.   Though worn and torn at one of the shoulders, as I discovered while dressing for last year’s Bruce Springsteen concert, I cannot bear to rid myself of it.

After a torturous shopping session, Mom decided that my sister should be the one to accompany me on the mission for a new spring jacket as I turned fifteen.   After all, my sister was much less removed from fifteen than Mom, right?     She knew what I really wanted – that jean jacket – just as she must have coveted those Dr. Scholl’s clogs a decade earlier.  (You see, as much as I am a child of the eighties, my sister is a child of the seventies…)

I cannot remember doing much shopping with my sister after the search for the jean jacket.  Soon, she became busy with going back to school and having children.  Even as I chose to attend college in the small city where she lived and also attended college, it didn’t happen often enough for me to remember.   To be honest, though, as I wore that jean jacket while Homecoming float building or during pub crawls, I could not escape the thought of my sister across town as she was building her family.

Immediately following those college years, I moved a thousand miles away.   There were years when the jacket didn’t fit me physically due to weight gain.  There were years when it didn’t fit me emotionally as we struggled to build an adult relationship as sisters.

I cannot separate myself from it, I cannot toss it in a garbage bag, no matter how worn and torn it becomes.   The jean jacket reminds me of my big sister.  It smells like her, it feels like her.

(This is written for Genie’s Living Out Loud project, this month’s theme being a favorite piece of clothing, or jewelry, or shoes…and why we are attached to the good memories it brings.)

Posted on March 27, 2010, in Living Out Loud, Memories. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I had a leather vest that I just gave away for after 13 years. Ridiculous as it meant nothing to me but I just kept thinking, “today I will look good in it.”

  2. I’ve been cleaning out stuff also – and being older than you, I have MORE stuff. It’s hard to trash some of it, but I’m doing it.
    If I had a jean jacket from the 80′s, I’d keep it, too!

  3. Lovely story.

  4. Really powerful.


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