My father grew up happily in a Pennsylvania coal mining town. Nicknamed Uncus, his favorite character from the Last of the Mohicans, he spent days outside, roaming the woods. What he needed, and it wasn’t much, his mother purchased from the company store.
Still, it was my father who took me shopping for my high school prom dress. And it was he who burst into Bee Frank, a woman’s clothing store, every Christmas Eve Day, tickled to find half off clothing he purchased annually for his wife and three daughters.
One day, when I was pregnant with my second child, Dad showed up at our apartment and offered to take my baby son off my hands for an hour or two. They came home giggling later that afternoon, arms full of beautiful maternity clothes they’d purchased for me.
Though he loved a good bargain, the man believed in quality and I wore those maternity clothes through two more pregnancy, and lent them out in between.
Yesterday, Molly came downstairs dressed for school in a particularly eye-catching ensemble. I looked up and said, “Hey! That’s my sweater!”
“That’s what makes it cool,” she said.
And I agreed.
Purchased by my dad in 1981, the sweater retains its perfect non-pilled shape. I remember I was with him when he bought it and I protested the price.
“Cost per wear,” he said. “That’s the important thing.”
It became a running joke and, when he saw me wearing it in college, he nodded approvingly and said, “Cost per wear.”
“Dad, this baby’s paying me by now,” I said.
I’m thrilled the sweater’s making it through another generation, and I know my dad would be too.
Memories, lessons, love and 100% alpaca wool all built this season’s warmest sweater.