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  • jdettmann

Coat Tales

My grandparents in 1931. There is a slight chance that the love of a good coat can be inherited.

We are going to America in a month. This decision was made this morning when I discovered some outrageously good deals on airfares. Shoving aside the huge heap of obstacles (H has a job to go to! H’s father is very sick! May Blossom has finally started sleeping with both eyes closed! We are a bit skint! A one-year-old on a plane for 14 hours!), I walked up to Flight Centre and plonked down Captain Plastic, and that’s that. We’re going for 11 days to Denver to see my almost 102-year old grandmother.

With that out of the way I put May Blossom to bed and got down to the serious business of trip planning. Finding a rental car that won’t cost more than our house? No. Figuring out somewhere to stay? Don’t be silly. Online shopping for a new coat? Yes!

I have a deep and abiding love of coats. Living in the temperate climate I do makes this a foolish addiction, but I can’t help it. Coats are wonderful.

My first love was a 1970s donegal tweed tweed coat that I bought from Glebe markets in 1993 for $5. I still have it. My brother told me then that it looked like a dog blanket sewn into the shape of a coat. He knows nothing about fashion. He wears cuffed trousers. I still have that coat, and it’s pretty thoroughly worn out. If I ever get a dog I will probably give my tweed coat to it.

My next passion was for a full-length black fine wool opera coat with a velvet collar. It was from Laura Ashley in 1994. It fastened down the front with twenty buttons and the skirt was full enough that it swooshed out when you spun around. Anne Shirley would have wanted to borrow it for a fall walk with Gilbert Blythe, if she and I were friends and she weren’t fictional. It was my birthday present from my parents, which I was allowed to choose. It’s not a warm coat, which was what they wanted me to have. I told them my love for it would keep me warm. I didn’t wear it very often because it was too beautiful and I didn’t go the opera a lot as a fifteen-year-old. I also still have that coat.

There are now more coats in my life than I have time to write about or you would have the inclination to hear about. They hide in my wardrobe, sometimes lurking on the floor at the back when they slide off their hangers. More are in plastic storage tubs and vaccuum bags with all the air sucked out so I can kid myself that they don’t take up that much room. Honestly, the last thing I need is another coat.

But do I want this one, and this one, and this one? Would they make me ever so happy? I think yes.

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