I only met Justin's grandfather a few times.
He lived in Texas near Justin's aunt, and by the time Justin and I had started dating, Popi was long retired from the Oak Ridge Nuclear Power Plant and well-settled alongside Grandma.
The last time I saw him before he passed away a couple years ago, Justin and his mom reminded me firmly that I was under no circumstances to take off my shoes, but if by some chance one of them slipped off, to make sure at least that my socks stayed put. If I didn't, they'd hear about it for weeks.
Collector of coins, singer of hymns, walker of walks. When he was teaching Justin's mom to drive, his favorite words of wisdom were, "Back up 'til ya hear glass, Em!" It's a dinner table favorite today.
He was such a consistent man that, after his retirement, the local restaurant where he ate breakfast daily could practically set their clocks by him; when he walked through the door, his meal was already waiting. They knew he'd be there before his food got cold.
It's quirks like these that make Popi's memory a source of joy for the family. That's why, when Justin's mom gave us his sweater, I knew it was special. I knew it was a treasure.
And I mean, come on. The man had style.
This week's theme for Slow Fashion October is "Long-Worn" (if you missed it, the first post is here). Karen from Fringe Association (@slowfashionoctober on Instagram) has ingeniously created #SlowFashionOctober as a way to collaboratively celebrate slow wardrobes, and I am thrilled to participate in the conversation all month long.
When I think of an item that is "long-worn," I think of something like Popi's sweater. I think of a piece that is treasured, beautiful, and so well cared-for that its usefulness spans generations. If it gets damaged, it is repaired rather than discarded. If it needs washing, it's done with care and caution.
Maybe it's a piece that is worn by multiple people (Justin and I share this sweater, though I wear it much more often). Maybe it's so versatile that it supersedes fly-by trends. Maybe it comes with heart, story, and history.
Many thanks to Popi. And many thanks as well to my mother-in-law, who entrusts us with this beautiful hallmark of her father's memory.
Do you have any long-worn items in your closet? Any quirky pieces that make your wardrobe slowly, uniquely yours?