Ratty Sweaters

She comes to me from a world beyond

In dark, smirking comedy

A reminder of a time that is past

A black sweater shall not be her remedy

I am my mother’s daughter it seems.

I hang onto clothes that are comfortable, no matter the condition. The clothes that envelope me in warmth and security, like a blanket in the hands of Linus and the black sweater my mom hung onto in her nineties.

It took me over 20 years to let go of a pink summer bathrobe that had seen its better days. It took holes and thinning fabric and a why-are-you-still-wearing-this realization to loosen a tight, white-knuckled grip.

She shakes her head from the world above

In a knowing mother-to-daughter glance

I had to let go of mine five years ago

While you engage in a hoarder’s dance

I am not a hoarder.

I may have trouble letting go of certain things, but I am not a hoarder. If that were the case, I’d have a well-worn sweater and bathrobe in every color imaginable hanging in the closet.

As the ratty burgundy sweater purchased from a Chicago mall was washed over the weekend, it reminded me of mom’s black sweater and the fact that I will not easily let go of what is mine if it still serves a purpose. It keeps the cat hair away from the other sweaters, warms up flesh in the morning and envelopes its owner in warm fuzzy feelings almost daily.

So, the ratty sweater stays, regardless of what mom or anyone else would say in opposition.

She laughs and throws up a flag of white

Like mother, like daughter in many ways

A clothes horse, a keeper of the sweater

The black one is gone, but the burgundy stays

As a substitute sacrifice, I did offer up a sparkly shirt I bought many years ago in Nashville. It held some special memories of a road trip, good music and wonderful friends. Sadly, though, the memories weren’t enough to hide the stains and fuzzballs that would prevent me from wearing it again in public. Nasty.

There is still hope for me.

I’ll throw away the ratty burgundy sweater some day, but just not today.

27 responses to Ratty Sweaters

  1. beth says:

    I so get this – I had a soft sweatshirt with a hood that was like butter and beginning to get holes, but the best ever. It took a long time before I got rid of it

    • bikerchick57 says:

      It’s a comfort to hold onto something that feels good, much like holding onto a glass of wine in front of a fire. Warms the soul, Beth!

  2. Dan Antion says:

    Well done, Mary.

    She shakes her head from the world above
    In a knowing mother-to-daughter glance
    I had to let go of mine five years ago
    While you engage in a hoarder’s dance

    I love that! That is so Mom-to-daughter.

    Thanks for making me smile.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Dan. I can hear mom’s voice speaking those words because she would have said that and probably more. Always glad to provide smiles at the beginning of the week. Happy Monday!

  3. I get it! I have what I call ‘house clothes’ that I wear when I’m not going out but want to be warm and comfy. Of course, I’ve been wearing them for nine months now, and I’m not about to get rid of any of them. I also have gardening clothes – those you really don’t want to hear about. 🙂 Happy Monday.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      That’s what I’m talking about, Judy. House clothes. The items that are perfect for home, but not for social events.

      I also seem to have retirement/lock-down clothes that are repeatedly worn regardless if they are in good condition. It will be fun when I can wear nice clothes again that someone other than the cat sees.

  4. Maggie says:

    I still have a sweatshirt I bought when my daughter was in high school. She is 45 now. I still wear it although it does nothing to keep me warm – it is the softest thing I own. The store where I purchased it has long been out of business. It comforts me. My granddaughter who just turned 11 said to me “Grandma, you always wear that shirt”. She’s right. I am not ready to let go of it yet.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      In a world that isn’t always kind or soothing, isn’t it nice that we can hold onto a piece of clothing that brings us a bit of comfort? Keep wearing that shirt, Maggie, no matter what comes out of your granddaughter’s mouth. 😉

  5. dennyho says:

    Comfort clothing is as soothing as comfort food…and not as bad on the waistline! I enjoyed this ode to your well worn (out) garment.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Now you have me yearning for a bowl of mashed potatoes or mac ‘n’ cheese – comfort foods – that would go very nicely with the ratty sweater. I won’t be eating either one, but the thought is very soothing.

  6. Ingrid says:

    I didn’t want to give up the bathrobe I wore when my first son was born, but in the end I let it go!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Beyond being warm, fuzzy or ratty, our clothes can also hold special events or memories. I can understand why you didn’t want to let that bathrobe go, Ingrid.

  7. murisopsis says:

    I’m guilty too. I finally let go of the bathrobe. Then it was the satin/flannel lined nightgown. (yes I replaced both!) I have a particular jacket that I’ve been wearing for at least 15 years that I just can’t relinquish. I think I’ll request that I be buried in it!

  8. rugby843 says:

    I can relate to this, sadly. I prefer comfort and I guess security falls in along with the feeling of donning a favorite piece of clothing. I think one reason for keeping a well worn item is that you can never find that same item again!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I know what you mean about not finding the same piece of clothing again. I have a pair of yoga pants that are still in good condition, but I should have bought two at the time. They are sooo comfortable.

  9. lois says:

    I have a dark gray cardigan that I can wrap up in and I will not let it go. It has holes in the end of the sleeves and picks (from the cats)but I love it. I use it year round–in the winter as a bathrobe and in the summer when I get a chill from the A/C. I have had it for almost 20 years, but it’s still good. Nope, I will not let it go. Excellent post, Mary!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Congratulations, Lois! You are a card-carrying member of the Ratty Sweater Club. Your membership allows you to keep your gray cardigan for as long as you wish.

  10. LOL. Keep the sweater, Mary J. It’s a luxury of a different kind.
    It was always so hard for me to find comfortable shoes that I tended to wear them until they literally fell apart.
    Hugs on the wing.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I think my sweater might be bringing “grunge,” back in style, Teagan. I shall keep it as you hang onto your comfy shoes. Gibbs sends purrs on the fur.

  11. joey says:

    ME TOO. I am sitting now in what I call my red Mary Beth sweatshirt, because it is poppy and before Mary Beth gave it to me, it was her husband’s for a good twenty years. Do you know how incredibly comfortable this sweatshirt is??! Honest to goodness, it will have to be threadbare to the point of obscenity for me to retire it. My MIL once gave me an pink fleece and I wore it to that point.
    Some of my favorite tops are older than my oldest kid!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I know, Joey. My ratty sweater is like a warm fuzzy and it’s going to have to look a lot worse before I get rid of it.

  12. JoAnna says:

    The memories are worth the holes in these holy clothes. I have three sweatshirts that belonged to my dad. One is yellow and has Green Bay Packers stenciled on it. I cut off the ratty sleeves. The other ratty one says Penn State Sugar Bowl and is my painting shirt. The big green sweatshirt with the bull dog says United States Marine Corps and is still in good shape. it gives me strength and comfort. I will never ever get rid of the bull dog sweatshirt.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I had a Packer sweatshirt that I wasn’t going to give up except that it was really bad and I had another one to replace it. The burgundy ratty sweater is a memento of a good time, a birthday weekend, in Chicago. I will be keeping it more some time to come.

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