I have had this fabulously sapphire blue winter coat since November 2009. Living in California, and Southern California at that, one never really has a need for winter clothing. Sure, for about two months we slip on peacoats and fur lined hoods because it’s season appropriate, but realistically it’s rarely weather appropriate. It just doesn’t get cold enough to justify owning nice, pretty winter outerwear. So when I got the chance to go to Germany for a week with my college MUN team, I was thrilled with the idea of buying a wintery hat, gloves and an amazing coat. And after searching many a store, I found my pretty blue coat.
Coat and I had a wonderful week in Germany, though it never snowed. And after that brief adventure, Coat was put in a garment bag and placed alongside some of my other not at all practical items (the Award Show worthy red prom dress, my First Communion white dress). There Coat stayed for over two years, waiting for its next adventure.
Finally, I had a real need for it. And Coat would be let out for longer than a week. I had recently found Coat a friend in a deep plum hip length peacoat that on really cold winter nights (in the ball park of 57 degrees) was used with far more frequency than the blue one. Both would come with me for a winter/spring adventure in Poland, where some years, it snowed till May. I wore it religiously. Not being a seasoned winter warrior, my sapphire blue coat stood out in a sea of practical black and grey. I loved it for standing out. It went to operas, it went touristing around Warsaw, it went everywhere. When the weather warmed up ever so slightly, I traded it out for the shorter plum gem. But when I wore a dress, the long blue coat was my go to.
But when it came time to go, after three months, I didn’t have room for it. Coat was just too bulky to fit in the suitcases and it was too hot to wear it on the plane as I had done before. So the decision was made to pack up both coats into a box, along with my brand new, almost never worn high-heeled boots, my suits and books and anything else that I knew I could wait three months for as the box traveled across the sea by boat. I wish I hadn’t tried to scrimp on shipping now. But at the time I thought, “Hey, it’s summer in California, I can wait for these things to arrive in September.”
Fast forward many months later and the reason why I now mourn the blue coat. In all likelihood, my package is lost forever. The shipping label had been separated from the box and without any other identifier, all I could do was describe the contents and the box, hoping that someone working for the USPS would be able to reunite me with my possessions.
I don’t need most of these things, they just aren’t required for the climate I live in. But when one finds something one genuinely loves, for me the blue coat, it’s hard to let it go. Perhaps this just illustrates just how over attached we are to our possessions. Maybe I look like a materialistic dork who can’t get over a piece of clothing. But don’t we all have something we hold on to even though we don’t need it anymore? Yearbooks, old books we don’t read, prom dresses and boxes of birthday cards and notes from friends. Realistically, when is anyone going to wear a prom dress again? And does it even fit? Do any of the odd pieces of clothing everyone has stuffed in the back of the closet really have a practical purpose? Of course not. But some of the things we hold on to have a memory attached or you’re keeping it because you never know, you might move to a cold climate where you’ll need it.
Everyone is allowed to hold on to things that are for some kooky reason important to them. My blue coat came with me on my first college adventure. It went with me on to an exciting internship in Europe. I had hoped it would come with me when I started my real career, most likely in a state/city that had real seasons. And so I mourn my blue coat and all the excitement it carried.
You can read more from Anna Kozlowski on her blog.
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