my MIT sweatshirt

This MIT sweatshirt is the oldest piece of clothing I own. I’ve had it since I was 14 and summering in Hawaii. Summering is a fancy way to say that my mom was fed the hell up with the first year I spent as a teenager being suspended from Catholic school, sneaking into my boyfriend’s house and getting caught shoplifting hair products. So she sent me to stay with my brother George in a two-bedroom apartment he shared with a friend.

It was a gift from my cousin Esther (hi!), who attended MIT and later worked for NASA. The closest I’ve ever gotten to MIT was watching Good Will Hunting. Esther is so smart, she doesn’t have to use her fingers to calculate how much to tip the waiter and I bet she’s never become frustrated and drunkenly asked said waiter, “MY BRAIN NO GOOD NOW! WHAT’S EIGHT PLUS FIVE?”

everyone in this photo hated me

If you can see from this poor-quality circa 1998 photo, I am in the top right corner. I was attending the summer session of Junior Statesmen of America at Stanford. You cannot see that I am wearing the sweatshirt because I am using a couch to hide my overweight body. It’s a sad time when you have to use furniture to mask your bacon-monster frame. This is also why I am currently walking around with a rattan chair in front of me. It’s slimming.

I was 15 years old in this photo and completely in love with, Kevin, the boy who took the shot. I was in love the way you are in love when you’re a teenager, away from home for the first time and especially away from the older boyfriend at home, the one still living with his mother and driving a car with no brake pads and who constantly calls your dorm, leaving desperate messages with Savage Garden’s Truly Madly Deeply playing in the background.

I had two friends on my floor. Most of the girls hated me. I know this because when they saw me walking down the hall, they would shut their doors. I believe most of them have moved onto successful careers and graduate degrees, unlike the girls who hated me back home. I know these girls still party and have birthed children before they could legally drive. These things I know to be true. I have MySpace.

I spent very little time in my room thanks to a roommate who filled our tiny warren with her friends who only spoke in fluent Samoan and tossed just one English sentence my way: “Do you mind if we speak Samoan?”

When I wasn’t hurrying to debate class or loitering in the bookstore aisles (not to read, just to oogle at the selection of Kama Sutra how-to books [awww yeah Milk and Water Embrace!]), I wore this sweatshirt and hung out with Kevin.

I still wear this sweatshirt, 11 years later, as one of the last remaining vestiges of my teenage years. Gone are the wrinkle-free forehead, faith in humanity, and working knowledge of Yo’ Mama jokes. All of my Yo’ Mama snaps turn into compliments like, “Yo’ Mama is so fiscally responsible, she thinks a quarterback is a refund! Because she gave a dollar for something that costs 75 cents! Snap!”

What article of clothing do you treasure the most?

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  1. grrltraveler says:

    I have a pair of cut off Levis that I gave to a girlfriend when I couldn’t fit into them anymore. I weigh less now than when I wore them but I still can’t fit into them! Must be that baby body, I don’t know. Anyhow, they remind me of a trip to Hawaii that I took and are the oldest thing I own. I’ve moved too much and changed size too often to keep anything like that. šŸ™‚

  2. mrs. blogoway says:

    I have a Depeche Mode t-shirt that I bought in the parking lot leaving their concert. It has holes, and is barely a t-shirt anymore but I believe that something bad will happen to me if I get rid of it now.

  3. My high school swim team t-shirt. I still wear it to work out 17 years later.

  4. I have a UW sweatshirt that for the longest time I didn’t know it was a UW sweatshirt because it just says “Washington” across the front. Anywho, I “borrowed” it from my friend’s older sister during spring break 1994. It was already worn when I “borrowed” it. I still wear it today. It is by far the most comfortable sweatshirt I have ever had. About 10 years ago I saw the same sweatshirt in a UW store and I thought, WOW! I had no idea.

  5. thecandyqueen says:

    You had me at Junior statesman of America. WTF?

    I still have a long-sleeve concert tee from the Red Hot Chili Peppers 1996 World Tour for the record, One Hot Minute. I was in the 9th or 10th grade, not sure and I had an unhealthy obsession with Dave Navarro. Every time I clean out my closet I grab it to toss, but then something keeps me from doing it and I think “maybe my kids will think this is hilarious or awesome one day.”

  6. plumeria*girl says:

    It was only earlier this year I learned how to start giving things away: clothes and shoes (among other things). It’s hard to give up the things that hold so much memories, even if it’s just a T-Shirt.

    Once upon a time I was once called a pack-rat, but now I’m known as the person who throws or gives away things without hesitation, or without thinking things through. *sigh* I never win šŸ™

  7. My “Chamorro DC” t-shirt that, I believe, my cousin Christine gave me. It’s white and the fabric is thin, the lettering is dark blue and still like new. My daughter now wears the shirt.

    Christine was like a second big sister to me. She’d take me out (sometimes even when she’d and her boyfriend would go out), let me hang out with her in her room, pay me a quarter for a massage…

  8. The Introvert says:

    I’m still holding on to my 1998 National Dance Championship sweatshirt. I look totally pathetic wearing, but in my mind, I’m all “Check it! I was in the National Dance Championship. No. Don’t look at the year.”

  9. Somehow a college ex-boyfriend’s running shorts ended up in my suitcase when I moved back home.

    I’m not sure what’s more sad: the face I still have it, or that I actually fit into them šŸ™

  10. Anais in Wonderland says:

    I have an ACDC hoodie that I bought at Walmart a few years ago. It’s black, soft and says FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK on the back. I pretty much receive a compliment on it every time I wear it, and no one ever wants to believe that I bought it at Walmart. Speaking of which, I heard that ACDC’s new album will only be sold at Walmart. 0_o

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