my coat of many colors

This weekend, Rhon was going through some boxes in the outside closet and ran across some of my old clothes. And by old, I mean stuff I wore in the 80s. It was one of those boxes where everything in it was just so tied to memories that I couldn’t bear to part with it.

One of the highlights of the box was my denim jacket from the late 80s. Back then, the look was ripped up, acid wash denim jacket with matching jeans. Well, the floodgate of memories just came rushing back as I gazed upon the jacket and the strongest one was of my gramma.

See, when I first got it, I loved wearing that jacket so much that it began to develop rips and frayed edges. No biggie to me – I just kept wearing it. But my gramma took one look at it and was horrified.

“No lady ever wears ripped clothing,” she said to me.

Well, one morning when I was sleeping late at her house, she snuck into my room and took the jacket. I woke up to find that she had patched up the jacket by covering all the rips in a flowered fabric. The fabric ran across the front of the jacket, the underside of the collar, across the back shoulder area, and along the cuffs on both arms.

Now it was my turn to be horrified. How was I gonna hang out in the hard rock bars in a jacket with flowers on it…pastel flowers, nonetheless?

But wanting to make gramma happy – after all, I knew she just did it out of love – I decided to hell with it. I never was a huge fashion plate anyways. So I wore the jacket, and to my surprise, it was a huge hit. I wore it to the clubs. I wore it to all the hard rock/metal shows I covered as a writer.

I wore it so much, that on the rare nights I didn’t wear it, people would ask me where the jacket was. It became a part of my identity for most of the late 80s and early 90s. And every time I wore it, it made me think of gramma.

I kept wearing it until it basically just fell apart. You can’t tell in the photo, but all of the button holes are frayed to the point of not even being there. All of the pockets have huge holes in them and every hem is torn apart.

I kept the jacket though, and seeing it again after almost five years…I just felt like it was full of my gramma’s love for me. So I carefully folded it and put it back it the box after taking the photo. This is one item of my past I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get rid of.

Momma sewed the rags together
Sewin every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors
That I was so proud of
As she sewed, she told a story
From the bible, she had read
About a coat of many colors
Joseph wore and then she said
Perhaps this coat will bring you
Good luck and happiness
And I just couldnt wait to wear it
And momma blessed it with a kiss.

– “Coat of Many Colors”/Dolly Parton

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About zengrrl

I'm Michelle Snow, the writer and creator of Zengrrl. I write about travel, entertainment, women's issues, health, body positivity, and more, both for this blog and freelance. I have also authored/co-authored four guidebooks on Orlando and Florida. If you aren't already following me, the links are below, as well as on the top right of this page. Thanks!

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