Let’s get into the “way back ” machine.
The year is 1996. I’m a mere sophomore in college, on a European backpacking adventure with my college roommate Amy. There have been three Wallace and Gromit short films, stop-motion animation done by a Aaardman Animation, a studio based in England. They aren’t very popular in America, but as a film major, specializing in animation, I had seen and loved all the animated shorts. I was a HUGE Wallace and Gromit fan and happy to discover all sorts of Wallace and Gromit merchandise while traveling in England.
I bought a black shirt with Gromit in a yellow rainslicker. (From the short The Wrong Trousers.) That was almost 20 years ago. It’s now lying on my bed next to me as I type this. This shirt has outlasted my marriage, traveled to more than 20 countries, and helps me sleep at night.
I don’t know quite why this shirt survived so long. It’s not especially attractive or high quality. It’s compact, and I love the picture which might be one of the reasons it came with me when I traveled around the world in 1999-2000.
It was one of the items of clothing I had washed in Indonesia in the year 2000. To make sure the clothes didn’t get mixed up, the washer woman put a small colored thread in each item of clothing to mark the owner. That thread is still in the shirt 15 years later.
As time went by it got thinner and softer. I have trouble sleeping when there is any light in the room, and I don’t like sleeping masks. One morning, as the rising sun began to trickle into my bedroom, I reached out for a shirt, grabbed this one, and covered my eyes with it. A habit was born and in 2005, long after it was no longer wearable, the shirt came with me to China to help keep the light out of my eyes.
I haven’t worn it in years, but I use it daily. I don’t need to use this shirt to cover my eyes, but I prefer it over others. And it has become a sort of trigger to tell me it is time to sleep. (I wouldn’t go as far to say it has become a security blanket, I don’t bring it with me when I travel and I sleep just fine. But it does make me feel better when I have it.)
What the oldest piece of clothing you still have?