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Embroidering Memories That Last

When I was about eight years old I was given a gift that I still remember fondly to this day.  It was very grown-up and very cool and it had my name on it.  It was a maroon corduroy jacket with a white emblem embroidered on it that let anybody and everybody know that I was a bona fide member of an exclusive club.  The club was called the Gallagher Club, and outside of Philadelphia the name might not even ring a bell, but to me and the rest of South Philly, wearing this jacket meant that for one brief moment in time I got to strut with the Mummers in the New Year’s Day parade.  It was a very big deal.

An embroidered corduroy jacket might not seem like that big of a deal, but trust me, it was.  It might not have kept me warm if more than a light breeze blew, but that wasn’t the point.  The point was that out of the roughly 4.85 billion people walking around in the world at that time, only about 60 people had that jacket.  The jacket represented a select group of people and the embroidered monogram signified that I belonged to that group and to the city itself.  It was a tremendous source of pride to an eight-year-old me and it represented a feeling of camaraderie that has stayed with me well into adulthood.  My short time with the club is still a cherished memory and it is only enhanced by the thought of my name embroidered on that jacket.

Knowing what a lasting gift an embroidered piece of clothing can be, I recently got hold of an old Beatles t-shirt that belonged to my dad way back when Beatle Mania was still at its peak.  Since he has long outgrown the shirt he wore back then, I gave it to a friend of mine who is a wiz on the sewing machine and had her turn it into a pillow case and personalize it with an embroidered message.  A regular t-shirt refashioned into a pillow case is not that big of a deal, but a pillowcase made from a t-shirt that you have because you were around to fall in love with the Beatles when they were still live on Ed Sullivan is a very big deal indeed.  It’s the memory that makes it matter.