I was cleaning today and came across an old sweater my wife bought me years and years ago. I hadn’t worn it in quite some time, and it’s a bit tattered, so I figured why should I keep it, and I tossed it in the garbage bag with the rest of the trash. After an hour or so, the idea of throwing this unwearable piece of clothing away didn’t sit well with me. Sure, I wasn’t going to go out in it, and I might not even wear it around the house – but I couldn’t throw it away.
There’s a lot of memories wrapped up in that piece of cloth. Besides the fact that my wife bought it for me – probably from Christmas past – I wore it in a picture with my son when he was four or five (he’s twenty-seven now). When you get older, memories are apart of us, even more then when we are young. It connects us to different times. Some good, some bad, but nonetheless a different part of our lives.
Being nostalgic is something someone does when their kids are older, and moved out, when there are fewer days ahead then behind. Its like magic, a spell cast on a thing that keeps us grounded.
It amazes me how clothing, whatnots and trinkets become apart of who you are, and who you were. Sometimes they are all we have of a loved one no longer with us. In many ways they are time capsules to the past – a moment in time that lives only in us.
I’m sure I’m not the only person to have this feeling of separation when we part with something as simple as an old sweater. It’s something that keeps your memories warm, and close to your heart. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve kept tools that were my dad’s, and pots and pans that were my mom’s. Its all we have left of them. In the same regards that old sweater keeps me connected to my son when he was a boy. Sure, I see him every week, but I see the man, not the child he was. It’s something unexplainable, but that old piece of cloth... it keeps me warm.