Tomorrow is 2018. How many of you are excited you still own a royal blue, Nike T-shirt from 1980 – 38 years and going strong?
You don’t? And you’re not going to wear it tonight at your New Year’s Eve celebration?
Come on now, I can’t be the only one that owns a T-shirt that old? Quick, go double-check your drawers and closets…(I’ll wait here…).
Well, darn tooting I guess I am special after all? I do own one and am damn proud of the family treasure.
I even framed it. Yep, I did. See, isn’t it pretty?
It sports a picture of me wearing it back in 1980. I cut off the friend I was sitting with, because, well, that would be weird to keep her in the picture. I didn’t want to have to tell wild stories about adventures of me and my friends in our T-shirts back then. Not appropriate when I give the frame to my father-in-law on his special occasions. Those are moments for focusing on him, not me (even if I’m in the frame as a constant reminder of who owned it first…).
Okay, alright, just a quick story…! Ah, so many memories of the glory days, hard to pick one. There is one of us as teeny-bobbers; friends dressed alike in matching T-shirts; cooler and all with assorted beverages; my mom who hauled us to and fro had no idea what was in those coolers (that’s another story, for another time); we’d squeeze our way into the seats and through the back hatch of our rusty orangeish colored AMC Gremlin, and head out on adventures. We learned our share of things about fitting in and growing up in style in 1980 in the back of that Gremlin. I better stop there, I’ve got you really jealous now!?!
The thing is, every time I give this T-shirt to my father-in-law, I end up getting it back. On a different special occasion.
He’s not only very, very, very clever, he’s the king of thrift. He scored the shirt from me when I tried to part with it at a thrift sale in 1990. He’d be the first to tell you he didn’t make trillions by wearing designer jeans. We’ve come to understand frugal wear is the best wears ever. Even better when recovered as a discarded item from a family member.
When I decided to part with it, I thought I had gotten the most one could get out of it. Nope! My father-in-law wore it until it was see-through. The love the T-shirt has seen is beyond words.
One year, in an effort to convince him it was time to part with it, I bought him a new one for his birthday. He couldn’t bring himself to toss it. Maybe he’s right to hang on to it? Vintage wear just has this feel – it is something so hard to replace (He also loves to hear he’s right…!).
It has become a very special re-gift gift.
There’s sentimental value attached to good old white and blue. One year I told him vintage shirts are hot ticket items – maybe he could sell it on E-Bay? I didn’t think he believed me. But, I could tell from the sparkle in his blue eyes, the thought of E-bay would come back again someday.
Christmas 2013, I received the t-shirt wrapped in a delicate little package tagged, “Fragile – Handle with Care.” Oh, man, he’s good. I wasn’t going to go down without a fight. He’s taught me well over the years.
I didn’t want the precious remains to fall apart. It had life left in it. So that’s the year I framed it, preserved for eternity, even included the precious fragile tag. I etched a small historical note on the back of the frame and hung it on my office wall.
Whoever is the giver has to wait for an appropriate amount of cleverness to arise before the re-gift moment. The shirt must pause and collect dust on the frame. That adds a special touch to the surprise factor.
When I remodeled my office, I took the frame down, added another note on the back and wrapped it.
The perfect re-gift moment came when I gave it to him as an extra-special-treasure gift for his 80th birthday. I had a hunch I might get it back this year for Christmas. I was just asking for it back. (As he opened it, another of his adorable, fist balled up shaking at me, eyes twinkling moment appeared – “I’ll get you back, girl, just you wait and see.”).
I was right. He remembered…but caved, too. The t-shirt is here. All safe and sound, ready for me to re-gift it again.
Now I have to think of something more clever than “Sold it on E-bay.”