3.08.2011

My Skeletons in the Closet

I believe that most people, if they're honest, have some history in their closets that is rather suspect. Things that could...quite possibly...destroy their reputations. Things that could be embarrassing if exposed. Things that are questionable, if not downright scandalous. Things bearing the shrouded stories of years gone by.

Skeletons in the closet.

Well, in a manner of speaking.

I'm talking about old T-shirts. And I am about to shine the light of day on mine.

There is something about screen-printed tees that makes them very hard to throw away. After they've been washed 10,362 times, they are incredibly soft. And sort of threadbare. Multi-purposed...for the gym, housework, sleeping, lounging. And pricelessly sentimental.

How could you possibly part with your Homecoming tee? It's a one-of-a-kind! Drawn by some marginally talented classmate of yours! Owned by only you and the rest of your entire graduating class! You can't send these kind of things to Goodwill. No one else can identify with the Huskies the way you can. Class of '94 for-evah! So it's either keep it or throw it in the trash.

Keep it.

Oh, but then there's that one from youth group. And summer camp. And when you taught Vacation Bible School. And helped to host that thing that time for that non-profit group.

Even my husband likes to hang on to his. It was a sad day when his football tee from high school bit the dust recently. The "Russellville Tigers 225 lb. Club," which featured a poorly-drawn pen sketch of some out-of-proportion jock lifting weights, had to go to the place where all T-shirts go to die. I, on the other hand, was absolutely delighted, never having held any affection whatsoever for the odd-looking weight-lifter guy on the shirt who appeared to be wearing underwear.

It works both ways, though. My husband is not exactly fond of this Michael W. Smith T-shirt that I have held on to from 1991 with Michael's big face plastered across the front. It says "The First Decade" on the back. Given that Michael is now into his third decade of recording, I realize that this one is sadly out-of-date, yet...sentimental.



And here are a few more blasts from the past, or rather, from the depths of the closet:

Panama City Beach youth camp, 9th grade. "Outta This World: Beyond Imagination" was the theme that year. The T-shirt is about 10 sizes too big for me, selected in the era of oversized and brightly-colored everything.



"Triumphant." Christian T-shirt from 8th grade. I really liked it then. I thought it was so pretty. The last time I wore it was around the house when my oldest child was a baby. She was fascinated with the yellow eyes.



"UNA Homecoming 1997." Thar she blows. The opposing team's mascot is cowering in the bottom of the hourglass, and our mascot, Leo the Lion (occupying the top of the hourglass), appears to be morphing through it in order to squish him. What? Apparently, that was the best way to incorporate 1997's Homecoming theme, "Once Upon a TIME," into a T-shirt. In all of its weirdness, I love it.



"National Champs, '93 and '94." The football team from my alma mater, the University of North Alabama, carried the National Championship title for Division II football three years in a row. I can hear the Beach Boys now: "Rah Rah Rah Rah, Sis-Boom-Bah, be true to your school!" Like an old friend, this 17-year-old tee with its dated graphic is a keeper. "How sweet it is." Truly.



"BCM mission trip, 1996." Remember those "I Love You, Man" beer commercials? That's what was on the front of this T-shirt for our college mission trip to Florida. Nice.



And then (of course) there are these gems, boxed up for a long time, but re-discovered recently. I am still fond of them for their history and for their novelty, even if I don't wear them anymore...except for that one time when the situation dicated that I do so. They are my oldest ones, clocking in at 21 years. Oy.



What about you? Do you have old skeletons...ahem...I mean, T-shirts...holed away somewhere, ones that you cannot bear to send off into the universe? Do you still wear them? And what will it take for you to part with them?

I know I'm not the only one who kept my oldies-but-goodies. Now...it's your turn. Tell the world. It's liberating.

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