Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sisterhood of the Second Hand Coat

I've known for sometime that my coat is missing the front buttons. It does not stop me from wearing it. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I have the idea that I will one day find the correct replacement buttons, but not yet. I wrap the coat tightly around me in the icy wind, (it is 6 below this morning), and my trusty white extra super long soft angora scarf is twisted around my neck several times, the ends sometimes getting caught in the car door.

I found this coat in the second hand store on the corner of Alexander and Versailles Road. Only it was considered a consignment shop then. It was the first of many that I began to frequent. I always have found that amusing, because I started haunting them when I had reached a point in my professional career where I could shop anywhere I chose. And I chose them.

I was on a frenzied search to find such a coat because of what had happened at my Mom's.

How and why, I'm not certain, but 20 years ago my Mom's friend gave her some clothes that were meant to be thrown away, but they knew my Mom would find someone who would appreciate them.

Among the donation was a vintage cashmere Navy Pea Coat from the Korean War. I immediately fell in love with it. It fit ..... okay. It was a medium man's size, and was large on me (at the time) but the way it felt! The way it hung on you, it draped its length around you and snuggled up to you, it embraced you.

The way it made you feel! Beautiful and elegant. Like wrapped in magic. People noticed you and smiled at you. Admired you in your striking coat.

I loved that coat, and so did Omega.

I was never able to sneak, beg, borrow, or steal that coat away.

In a snit, I went and found my own man's cashmere coat. The cashmere is not as soft, and it is not nearly as elegant. It does not have the magic humming in its threads. Yet, I have held on to this coat for all these years and I wear it today. It is the warmest coat I have ever owned.

I hung it up on the back of the door in our office. It is too beautiful a coat to hand on a hook!! And as I run my hand down the back of the coat, smiling at the touch of the cashmere under my palm, marveling that I have owned this coat for so many years and it still looks great.

Except for the missing buttons.

And the bits of stray angora attached to its back. And maybe the tiny holes along the sleeve that only I know about.

I wonder if Omega still has her magic coat?

I must remember to ask.


emmapeelDallas said...

Beautiful. I, too, haunt consignment shops...I have my own navy pea jacket, not cashmere, but soft wool, that was originally the jacket of a Hertz (I think) uniform...and I know this because when I found it at a charity garage sale, 20 years ago, it still had the Hertz label inside...

Nelle said...

I had a pea coat like that but it would not fit me now. Several years ago Macy's had a huge sale and I bought a good wool coat. It's about ten years old now and I wear it every winter and love it.
You know you can go to a craft store or sewing store and buy new buttons. Love consigment shops and my sister found the best one in Albany. I am tempted to drive 4 hours and check it out!

Lisa :-] said...

Good thing your coat is cashmere or it would never be warm enough for those Indiana winters. I think you'd probably better work on getting some buttons for it, though...

Delena said...

Oh huzzah, another thrift shop genie! I loved the way you wrapped up all the magic and wonder and beauty and entrancement of Omega's coat. Sometimes there's just that perfectness in a second-generation garment.

I'm still on the hunt for a peacoat of my very own. *sigh* One of these days...

Chris said...

Love this story. Reminds me of Dolly Parton's coat of many colors song.

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