Sunday, February 21, 2016

Alice and the Sage Green Sweater

Long lost love?
Alice and I became friends the first week of freshman year in college. She was older (almost 20!) and had spent a year at another school before transferring and starting over. She was worldly to my naive. She had her own apartment! I lived at home. She smoked and drank! I didn't do either.

Alice never fell over backwards when a boy called or asked her out. She skillfully juggled all the boys buzzing around her. Perhaps she enjoyed my innocence and rapt fascination with her sophisticated life. More likely she realized I could use some sisterly guidance. We did what many good girlfriends do; we exchanged clothes.

I switched a goldenrod-yellow cardigan for her sage green pullover. My sweater wasn't new. I'd bought it the year before, straight from the pages of August 1959 Glamour. I wore it that senior year, marking time till I could escape the horror that was high school. I was happy to give up my sweater in favor of Alice's. For one thing yellow wasn't a good color on me (but looked great on her). I loved Alice's sweater, and the sage was far more flattering (looked good on her too). Besides, that sweater may have held a little Alice ju-ju.

Alice decided to leave school at the end of that first semester. She'd fallen in love and was ready to get on with her life. Before she left we exchanged sweaters back. It was my idea, which in retrospect was a stupid one. I was probably punishing her for leaving me, though I was the one who suffered.

I've never given up looking for that sweater. I've bought numerous garments in close proximity to the color. My bedroom is even painted a restful shade of soft sage. I quickly gave away the goldenrod cardi and never missed it.

Alice loved photography and took a favorite picture of me. I think she captured an 18-year-old's blank canvas of a face.

Alice, if you're out there, please know I've never forgotten you— or your sweater.


  1. Loved this little story of your friend and the green sweater! We all have elusive mystical garments we forever chase, don't we? I can think of a few including a handbag. Thank you for this...

    1. Not sure what I miss more— her sweater or Alice. I always thought it was the sweater, but now I know it was losing track of her. It's amazing what our young selves did (or didn't do). Thank you for reading.