Blue jeans, classic rock, and saying goodbye.
My favorite jeans
I came of age in the "rebellious" 60's. What was to become "classic rock" was playing on all the radio stations. Blue jeans were the most important article of clothing to own - that was the 60's style. It was my senior year in high school and we had finally won the battle to allow girls to wear pants to school. More often than not, those pants were blue jeans. The jeans that I got that year were destined to become my favorite. The brand was Landlubber - I don't even recall if that was an obscure brand or a fairly common one. They were bell-bottoms (of course - the year was 1969) with a high waist and a wide flare. And for some reason the part I liked best was that there was no seam on the outside of the legs - just one on the inside. I think that I liked this because as the jeans got older and softer they just fell and draped from my hip so nicely. And they did get quite old and quite soft! I wore them all through college.
I wore them so much that the denim just plain wore out in places. When I see today's jeans that are purchased brand new with tears and holes I have to laugh. We couldn't wear clothes that had holes in them! So they were mended, or discarded if they were beyond mending. Ah.... but there was a special art to mending blue jeans. We could patch them. And patch them I did. I'd cut out pieces of other old jeans, ones less favored than my Landlubbers, and I would use these pieces for patches. I embroidered wonderful hearts, flowers, rainbows, and sayings on the patches - some were lines from classic rock songs - Give Peace a Chance, Where Have all the Flowers Gone? Some were just anti-war slogans of the times - Make Love Not War, What if they gave a war and nobody came? And then I carefully hand-stitched them over the holes in my beloved Landlubbers.
Oh, Very Young
I still had my jeans in 1974, when Cat Steven's released his song Oh, very young, another one of the great classic rock era. Like all of his music, the melody was beautiful; the lyrics held great meaning. They expressed the idea that youth is but a short period of time, filled with hopes and dreams; that when we are young we hold onto these dreams even if the turbulence in our lives would make it easier to let go of them. Sometimes the dreams last, become reality, but often they disappear with our youth. It is never easy to accept when it is time to let go of a dream - and the harder we have fought to hold on, the harder it is to bid it goodbye. As he has done so often in his songs, Stevens used a metaphor to express this, and the metaphor he chose was faded blue jeans.
.... Make the Goodbye Harder
Well, my life went on. I graduated from college, moved, went to graduate school, moved again, got married and had kids, and moved again and again. When I realized years later that these jeans had somehow disappeared in one of my moves I felt a real sense of loss. Letting go of something or someone that we love is always painful. But when you think about it you realize that the more of yourself that you have invested in what you are losing, the harder the loss is. When you've cared enough to mend - whether it be mending a friendship, a person's heart or spirit, an injustice, or just a hole in a favorite piece of clothing - in some small way a part of you goes with it. As the song says, "the patches make the good-bye harder still."
To this day, I still think of my favorite blue jeans when I hear this song. It always reminds me how very elegantly songs and metaphors can express feelings that we didn't even realize we had.
Oh very young What will you leave us this time
You're only dancing on this earth for a short while
And though your dreams may toss and turn you now
They will vanish away like your daddy's best jeans
Denim Blue fading up to the sky
And though you want them to last forever
You know they never will
You know they never will
And the patches make the goodbye harder still ~ "Oh Very Young", Cat Stevens
This story was inspired by a feature article in the Living section of The Palm Beach Post. It was around the time that the movie "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" had been released. I noticed a call for stories about favorite blue jeans - it especially caught my eye because it began with the lines from Cat Stevens' song, "Oh Very Young". Because these lyrics had always resonated with me, the words flowed out of me, and my story was among those chosen by The Post to be printed in the subsequent feature. Here is the link to that feature article. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/accent/content/accent/bluejeans.html
The introduction provided by the newspaper is a fun read, as are the other stories (and pictures) submitted. Mine is the eighth story - my name is Nancy.
Additional Elegant Thoughts About Saying Goodbye
Gone - flitted away,
Taken the stars from the night and the sun
From the day!
Gone, and a cloud in my heart.
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie
Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love. ~George Eliot
Where is the good in goodbye? ~Meredith Willson, The Music Man (Thanks, Thomas)
Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would I'd never leave. ~A.A. Milne
Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. ~Kahlil Gibran
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. ~Gilda Radner
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. ~Theodor Seuss Geisel
Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye? ~Author Unknown