Perhaps because of my Goonies-watching that I mentioned in the previous entry, I found myself in such a mood that, before heading out to the library this evening, I dug waaaay back in the closet and pulled out my old, high school-vintage bomber jacket, which I've not worn in years. (I looked at my letterman's jacket, too, but was not feeling that liberal.) I bought this thing my senior year of high school and loved, loved, loved wearing it. This is the oldest photo I have of wearing it in my LJ photo album, from my freshman year of college.
It was funny to recall all the memories attached to it: the first day I wore it to school, being grabbed by the collar and pulled close as my too-cute Show Choir dance partner Jennifer inhaled and breathed, "I love the smell of leather!"; wearing it that first college Spring Break trip as I cracked my shoulder taking a dive in Queen's Canyon above Colorado Springs; my college girlfriend Ann discussing it as a personal symbol for me; the little splatters of paint on part of it from a canvas Julianna was working on. In its pockets I found a floppy disk (! The 3 1/2 inch kind, mind you, not the 5 1/4 inch). I just put that into a Mac here that actually has a USB-attached floppy disk drive and found that it contained an old Realmz game on it, which takes it back to the days of Clifford the Big Red House at Notre Dame. In another pocket was a small Anthony De Mello book Erik gave me, of similar vintage.
I stopped wearing the thing some time after I inherited my Uncle Joe's beautiful grey-green St. John's Bay leather jacket, and the old one is now frayed in the cuffs and has parts of leather worn soft as silk and parts worn to fraying. I immediately imagined Mom being really dismayed that I would wear the shabby old thing, but it's worth having a few pieces like that in the closet, I think. Things that we wore for so long get endowed with layers of memory like that in ways that keep us in touch with who we used to be, like a personal museum piece or a sacrament of our own history, laden in its visible sign with invisible realities.