In our own backyard...Retro - or vintage?Walking down memory lane comes pretty easily these days. Just mention Nehru jackets, Woodstock, GTOs, Twilight Zone or The Swim in mixed company, and chances are you’ll find someone eagerly willing to talk about it.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
In our own backyard…Retro – or vintage?
Walking down memory lane comes pretty easily these days.
Just mention Nehru jackets, Woodstock, GTOs, Twilight Zone or The Swim in mixed company, and chances are you’ll find someone eagerly willing to talk about it.
It seems we Baby Boomers are everywhere, and sentimental memories that seem like only yesterday to us have somehow become trendily “retro” to the rest of the world.
My husband and I get together with a group of friends every month, and the hosts for our May event have decided to celebrate graduation time by haling back to the days of our youth.
The plan is for all of us to “get into character” by sharing our old yearbooks and graduation photos, dancing to a stack of 45s, feasting on sloppy Joes, potato chips and Jello, and digging out our bell bottoms, leisure suits, varsity jackets or letter sweaters. There will even be a raffle for an old 1960s-era Chevy that someone’s brother-in-law seems all too eager to part with….
My eyes began to sparkle as I started to plan for the event. I remembered that somewhere stashed in the depths of my closet was the chenille varsity letter that I earned during my senior high years at Grand Rapids High School. Following graduation, I removed it from my letter sweater, glued it to a piece of black velvet and framed it, along with the pins I earned from taking part in band, speech, Spanish Club and Model United Nations.
Up until recently, my framed high school letter hung on the wall of my old bedroom at my parents house – until my mother made it clear that it was high time I took custody of all of the things from my past that up until now I’d found more convenient to leave at home.
It didn’t take me long to locate the framed letter, but since I had long ago gotten rid of the sweater itself, I now find myself in a bit of a quandary trying to figure out where to find another.
The letter sweater of my era was a white, wool cardigan variety, complete with hip pockets and a button-up front. Once I actually earned my letter, the garment was transformed from being merely a sweater into a symbol of school pride and achievement.
It seems that the era of the letter sweater pretty much faded from sight when the letter jacket became popular, however, and I wondered just how hard it would be to find another one.
I decided to do a “Google” search for them on my computer, and I was shocked to find out that the few varsity clothing manufacturers who still carry letter sweaters now charge $80-$100 for them!
I then figured I’d go the second hand route and look up used letter sweaters on eBay – and much to my shock and chagrin, I discovered the “genuine article” was more expensive yet – like some sort of antique!
Worse yet, I discovered the only other retailers who carried letter sweaters were costume outlets and vintage clothing stores. Vintage? Suddenly, I began to feel a whole lot older….
“Did you used to wear saddle shoes when you were in high school?” my husband asked innocently enough later on that evening.
“Humph!” I huffed indignantly. “They were long before my time!”