Tuesday, October 28, 2008

wearing my brother's uncle's shirt

The above photos: Part of why I like the Pacific Northwest - Blooming Rose & Color changing oak - Same Yard - Same Day.

This is a re posting of my most popular post - ever. Interesting, because I think I've had better. Anyone out there, what do you think?

I'm sitting here wearing a shirt that belonged to my brother, and before that to My Uncle Henry, now Deceased. Whenever I wear this shirt I think of them both.
My Oldest brother, a good guy, talented guy, Very unusual - don't see him near often enough. I remember him driving me in his '47 Chevy sedan, back seat like a sofa, living room's worth of space to the front seat.
Taught me my 1st guitar cords, showed me Hong Kong on Chinese New years.
Uncle Henry, died decades ago and I never did see him all that often. Nor were we especially close. But, for several years in the mid to late sixties, as I recall, I would go spend a couple of weeks during summer with him and my Aunt Bea(yes really, Aunt Bea) in Arkansas. Ok, I grew up in Kansas. Even so, Sixties Arkansas was kind of odd, though I knew that less then than now.

Doesn't matter. What matters is the feeling I get when I wear Uncle Henry's shirt. I remember him, Not very tall, in western cut khakis, cowboy hat & big old cigar, driving me around the small town of Mountain Home, in his Ford pickup, where it seemed from people's reactions that he was King. He was a good guy. kind of guy never had a harsh word for anyone. I once saw him riding his quarter horse next to Aunt Bea on hers. They both were sitting full Silver concho'd Parade saddle in a Rodeo Opening. Very happy & proud. Easy going as always.

I have a chambray work shirt of my Dad's. When I wear it I think of him, at home back in Kansas. Dad's older now than when he wore that shirt to fix railroad electrical stuff, or fix our barn, or sit at dusk on the old rock table listening to the crickets and watching the fire flies. He taught me about tools, and fishing, and being nice to animals while in shirts like that(him not the animals). I also don't see my Dad nearly often enough. 2,000 miles is very far, made farther by the limitations of personal economics.

I have a polo shirt that belonged to my other brother. Like wise, wearing it invokes memories of him. from that last time I saw him, back to when he taught me to walk train rails, carefully balancing along the top edge of the rail road track rails that wound around two sides of my Grandpa's farm. I think I was about seven then. It was summer, hot in Missouri, hound dogs & cotton mouths....hillside caves, crawdads in a minnow bucket in the well house, the smell of the old barn......I don't see that brother nearly often enough either.
Wearing someone else's shirt, someone you have looked up to, tends to cause one, to try to behave different. Interesting, that.
Okay, I don't own any shirts of my Mom's that would be just creepy.
but then, I don't need a shirt to remind me of Mom(even though I forgot her birthday until four days later this year - D'oh!) ...and I don't see her often enough either...Ya gettin' a common thread here?
I have had many shirts, bought at great prices, from a bunch of different thrift stores. I have no idea who owned them. I sometimes wonder......


  1. I love hearing about important people in someone's life.

    And wouldn't it make a great television show, each week following the histories of thrift store clothing?

  2. Yes, it probably would be a fun show, but only you, I and about half a dozen others would watch it.