Monday, April 1, 2013

A “Tie” To The Past

I could cut a dashing figure at one time. I sort of enjoyed dressing up in my younger days. I wasn’t the best at coordinating things, but with the help of female friends and family, I didn’t do badly. Plus, some of my clothes, I bought from a cousin that had a clothing store and he had a good eye for color and knew what was in style far better than I did. Between them all, I had a limited, but good-looking wardrobe.

Times have changed, and so have I. Now that I’m old and arthritic, I go for what feels good on my over-weight, achy old body. I wear blue-jeans, colored tee-shirts and a pair of L.L. Bean camp mocs as my “uniform” of laid-back lifestyle. I don’t own a single pair of slacks. I DO have a very expensive wool suit that I wore only a handful of times before outgrowing it. I have a couple dress shirts, two ties and a couple pair of dress socks to go with it. I need to find someone who can use the suit so that it won’t go to waste by just taking up space in my closet. One of the ties is a cheap but attractive polyester wonder that looks like silk, but feels like barbed-wire. The other is an expensive silk tie that even at half-off cost five times what the polyester one did. I’m tempted to keep that one.

I had to ask myself why I desired to keep something that I would probably never use. It took me a while to figure it out. It takes me back. The beautiful colors and slippery texture remind me of the ties that used to hang in Dad’s closet. He probably had two or three dozen or so big, wide silk ties. They were out of style when I was little—temporarily replaced by skinny little fabric bits of nothingness. Still, he chose to leave those silken beauties in the closet and use the clip-on, barely belt-width strips of polyester then popular. Looking back, I sort of wish that he’d stuck his thumb in the eye of “style” and wore those classy old ties to his heart’s content.

I remember having a certain fascination with those ties when I was little. Sometimes, when he’d left his closet door open, I’d take a good look at the ties and feel the smoothness of the silk. Some were big, flowery prints, some were simple stripes, and a few were variations of paisley. Quite a few, though, were beautiful scenes of Pacific islands, perhaps bought in memory of his time spent there during World War II. Those were my favorites. He lived long enough to see wide ties come back in style for a while. He’d wink and quote the old saying, “All things old are new again.” He didn’t wear the ones with the island scenes, though; I guess he figured that their time was gone.

A few years after Dad passed away, Mom asked if I wanted the ties. Wistfully, I thought of my limited storage and declined. She gave them to the Salvation Army, where I’m sure they were probably bundled up and sold as rags. I wish now that I’d kept them. If nothing else, they’d have made a nice wall-hanging for the bedroom! So, do I keep the one tie as reminder of the old days, or just in case I should need a tie one more time before I croak? That sounds silly when I put it on paper. I can recall Dad’s beautiful ties without a prompt for my memory. Plus, if I’m ever so insane as to be tempted to wear a monkey suit again, I can just have my wife shoot me. © 2013


Sixbears said...

I had to wear ties with my class A and B uniforms. Could not take them off fast enough. Always thought of them as the equivalent of a dog leash.

For me to wear a tie these days, a judge has to be involved. Might wear one for jury duty. Still have a good black one from my class A uniform.

Phillip said...

Now days my work, go to church, hiking and fishing clothes are all the same, don't own a tie any more, just wear different shoes for different activities.

Ralph Goff said...

As an incurable hoarder and junk collector I've got a bunch of old fifties and sixties vintage ties saved from my dad and uncles. Used to have to wear a clip on bow tie every sunday to church as a kid. Later clip on full length ties as I never did learn to tie one.

Gorges Smythe said...

Black goes with anything, they say, Sixbears.

You're a wise man, Phillip!

I don't tie them well, Ralph, but I get by.

kymber said...

Mr. Smythe - i think it is because i had no family outside of mother, father, 2 sisters and a brother that i get teary-eyed when i go to garage sales or second-hand shops and see items that must have belonged to someone's grandparents or even great-grandparents. i used to purchase every photo album and picture at those broke my heart that people who took the time to write on the backs of those photos or in the albums were now not being carried down through their family lines. i love that you have all of the photos, cards and letters that you share here.

i collected all of those albums and photos of other people's families but that was because i lived in a big house with lots of shelves where i could arrange all of those things in a way that when, if i felt sentimental, i could go and look at them all and touch all of it and feel a connection to some sort of line to the past.

sadly, like you, our space once we moved became limited and i had to depart with cherished things that came from people that i didn't know.

i love the idea of making a wall-hanging out of all of those beautiful ties - however, i think that someone like me would have purchased them all and genuinely cherished them until such a time as they had to pass them on. keep that one cherished does not take up space but fills your mind and heart with memories.

i wore a very starched, uncomfortable army dress uniform to work for 10 years. i have never used starch again. and then i wore power business suits and high heels for another 10 years. i have made jambaloney promise to shoot me if i ever wear that again. i hope that your wife will shoot you if you ever wear a suit again.

not trying to be too sentimental in my comments but i am catching up on your posts and your "auntie's letters" and pics have made me so. so i blame the sentimentality on you. and rightly so, Sir - teehee.

your friend,

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Funny how you associate some things you do now with the past without really realizing it. I don't know how you get by without a single pair of slacks- unless you have some Docker type pants. I will say I don't own a single dress. I do think I have a skirt somewhere in the closet but haven't worn it for years.

Fimbulmyrk said...

I have to wear ties sometimes in my job. I can pretty much relate to them feeling like a dog leash, and in fact they are something quite similar.

They are a part of the bankster´s uniform. Once they used to be a symbol of integrity...;-)

The ties I own are from my laid father´s wardrobe. I remember he did not like wearing them either. His favourite wear was a knickerbocker pants and a flanell shirt...;-)

Warren said...

If any older member in your family offers you old ties sometime, you can have them made into pillows. Someone at my church made 4 little pillows with a closet full of old ones. Used them as gifts.

Scooney Adrift said...

When I retired from the funeral biz nine years ago, I gave 30 suits to Goodwill and no telling how many ties dating back to the sixties. Like you, it's jeans and a T-shirt, being the uniform of the day. I can relate to your post very well.

Gorges Smythe said...

You're a gentle soul, kymber, bless you.

Just jeans, Kathy, but I do keep my newer ones for "dress!"

I feel for you, Fimbulmyrk; maybe you'll find a less formal job down the road.

I think I've heard of that, Warren, but I don't remember seeing one of the pillows.

Goodwill was probably as happy to get them as you were to get rid of them, SA!

Mamahen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gorges Smythe said...

That would be pretty, Mh!

Mamahen said...

When I looked at what I had written, it reminded me of letter 7in "Aunties" collection :))