"I did buy a
new suit to go to Hawaii in 1976," my Aunt Viginia said recently. "But
it didn't hold up. I went back to the green one."
Now some people
might ask how my aunt has managed to fit into the same suit for 40 years. There
are two reasons. One is that she diets between binges of Ritz Crackers, Oreos
and Fannie May candy. The other is that the suit has given a little over the
years. My cousin Judy, who has gone from snuggly round to a little more snuggly
round, wears the suit to mow her mother's lawn. Looking at it hanging on the
mantle, Judy said, "That suit can handle about a 60-pound range. It's been
through thick and thin and thick again."
My cousin Bobby,
by the way, became a high school baseball star. He met and married a smart,
pretty girl, and they have three children. It was with these children, in fact,
that the green suit went swimming last summer. Next summer, my cousin Mickey's
grandchildren—my Aunt Virginia's great grandchildren—will be old enough to
swim, too. There will be plenty of food, and everyone will be perfectly
I hope that this
family, the memories and the green suit go on forever. Says cousin Judy,
"It is a real symbol of stability in this family."
It is also,
sleeping there in Bartlett with its MADE IN THE U.S.A. label still secure in a
seam, a real tribute to American workmanship.
Forty years ago
this summer, when my aunt got the suit from a friend, it was secondhand.