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Love of old T-shirt will probably outlast the fabric - Kearney Hub: Opinion

View From Home Love of old T-shirt will probably outlast the fabric

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Leslie Means

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Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 2:32 pm

In 1986, the Blue Hill High School football team was good enough to make it to the state playoffs. I know this because I own a T-shirt that says so.

I was only 5 at the time and the T-shirt is size large so I’m going to assume it wasn’t purchased for me. But somehow along the way it ended up in my possession.

My wardrobe consists of numerous dresses, a few suits from my TV days, plenty of jeans, sweaters and skirts. I have also accumulated at least 50 T-shirts throughout my lifetime, but one keeps showing up night after night.

The Blue Hill football T-shirt from 1986.

I’m on day seven of wearing this gem to bed. Despite what my husband says, I do wash it from time to time. As you can imagine, he hates it. On day six of my T-shirt marathon he told me, “Leslie, I am going to take that T-shirt, rip it up for rags, use those rags to wash my dirty truck, then proceed to burn them.”

He’s not a fan.

T-shirts aren’t usually made to last longer than five years, let alone 26 years. The cotton is stretched and in some places it’s see-through. There is a large hole underneath the left armpit. Large pink paint stains still linger under the “F” and near the football helmet.

But for some reason, I keep going back.

Maybe my affection for the T-shirt stems from my younger years. I hated closet cleanout day. Mom would go through and make me donate or throw away items that no longer fit or I simply didn’t wear.

That concept makes sense to most, but I always had a hard time letting go.

I’ll never forget my fuzzy purple dinosaur sweatshirt from Aunt Susie or my favorite black and white checkered dress from second grade. My body was adorned in a fantastic jean skirt, ruffled pink socks, a matching pink shirt and white tennis shoes during my first trip flying in 1990. The stewardess pinned TWA wings onto my shirt when we landed.

On a vacation to Los Angeles during my teen years, I spent what seemed like a million bucks on a yellow prom dress found on Rodeo Drive. My wedding dress cost less than that frivolous purchase. The polka dot heels I was wearing when Kyle proposed still sit on my closet shelf. Not far from the heels hangs my grandmother’s leather coat from the ’60s. Even though she has passed, I feel a little bit closer to her each time I wear it to a fancy dinner.

To me, a piece of clothing isn’t just thread. It always makes a statement. Sometimes it says, “I want to be risqué,” like the backless yellow shirt I wore to my first college party. Or maybe I simply want to tell the world that I have a speckled point Himalayan cat named Princess. Yes, I had a shirt made with her photo on the front.

I don’t wear it anymore.

I guess that’s why I can’t get rid of my faded, see-through shirt from 1986. There’s something to be said about a piece of clothing that has lasted so many years. At this point, I can’t bear to throw it away. I want to hold on. I rocked my babies to sleep in this shirt. I painted my girls’ rooms in this shirt. I’ve made career-changing decisions in this shirt.

Doesn’t something so old deserve more respect? If I’m lucky, the threads will hold out for at least one more year. I will cherish the moments of comfort we will share together in its final days and I’ll be sure to keep it away from my husband.

Read more from Leslie Means at her blog, www.herviewfromhome.com, and share clothing you love or hate.

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