A Worn Memory

A couple of years ago, in late October, I wrote a post about the many incarnations I assumed for Halloween.  I have photos as proof of the kangaroo, the gladiator, the geisha and gypsy that went from house to house on October 31, many years ago.

One year, I wore a pair of scarlet japanese pajamas.  It was 1958, and I was almost one and half years old.  I believe I looked three.  In this particular photo, I am attacking a bowl of candy with great single-mindedness and with both hands.  My cheeks could be envied by either a Gerber's baby or a squirrel, but either way I am obviously fattening myself for the upcoming winter months.  Here, it looks like my little rayon/taffeta top is a little tight around the middle.  

But such afflicted inches go unpunished when one is young.  Mother fed me prodigiously.

Now, in recent years, Mother has been in the habit of giving me things she comes across…old photos, scraps of interesting fabric I might be able to use – with sequins, metal threads, rosettes, many and sundries – catalogues, comics she'd like to share with me, comics she'd like me to explain to her.

But the other day, I received something else.  A pair of tiny frogged pajamas, embroidered and apricot colored.  The passage of fifty years had degraded my Halloween suit from crimson to pastel. 

But not a single hand embroidered thrread was ripped – not a flower in that wearable garden had been uprooted.  But my pajamas had been folded many times over the decades, so a puzzle of creases covered them:  tiny fields puckered over a rayon landscape.

I couldn't believe my good luck – that my mother had seen fit to return such a dear memory to me.  I'm sure I didn't wear my pretty pajamas many times after that faded Halloween, but still they have an air of weariness, of a tiny perfection, that assures me that for those few times they were worn very well, indeed.

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25 responses to “A Worn Memory

  1. Oh, how special Aubrey. They are loveely. I know how you feel. A few years ago my mother gave me my christening gown wrapped up in my baby pillowcase.

  2. How sweet! It's still so perfectly preserved. And you were (still are) so cute.

  3. So wonderfully written.

  4. How wonderful she still had them. Also: I admire your single-minded, double-handed determination to get as many sweets as you can.

  5. Wow… my mom is not very sentimental about things, I don't think she kept any of my baby clothes.

  6. That's really sweet that you got your Oriental jammies back. They look like they should be preserved for posterity under glass.

  7. Oh this is so touching and so beautiful, Aubrey!!! A sweet memory that you can actually hold in your hands. I love it. Thanks for sharing your lovely story. Such pretty little jammies, and the picture of you is adorable.

  8. Beautiful pajamas and beautiful pictures, Aubrey! It was wonderful to read your beautiful post about a special memory too!

  9. I love the colors in those old photos, as though everything were hazy and warmer 40 years ago. Enjoy your jammies!

  10. I love this, Aubrey, full of affection for the things that have contributed mightily, in small ways, to who we are!! Thank you.

  11. You as a gladiator? Now I've got to go back a couple Octobers to see if you posted this one.

  12. Lovely, sweet, cute and worth the memory-sharing. Thank you!

  13. How cool that you were re-united with that fabric. I feel like people have a connection to clothing and cloth. Yours certainly matches your energetic young spirit in that photo!

  14. How sweet! My mom does this too. She recently gave me a wooden bird cage and small set of carved stone elephants, both of which have sweet memories from my pre-teen years. lol.

  15. How sweet!!! I loved my Chinese jammies. Every little girl should have a pair at some point. ^__^

  16. How wonderful to be given such a beautiful memento from your childhood.

  17. I love the photo of you as a little girl stocking up for winter – it is just precious. How touching to get the pajamas from your mother – they are beautiful.

  18. beautiful and touching.

  19. [this is perfect]

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