Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Company sweater

When I was growing up, the temperature in our family home was always the same.  Day in and day out.  Even before programmable thermostats, Mom was diligent about the temperature.  19 degrees (66 F ) during the day and 16 degrees (61 F) at night.  For as long as I can remember.

Mom was always too hot.  She could be found most days wearing a T-shirt or a sleeveless blouse, a pair of cotton pants (complete with elastic waist) and no socks.  My mother wouldn't wear a pair of socks if the floor was covered in glass.  She loved having her feet free and (despite the fact they were always cold to touch) her feet didn't see socks more than once or twice a year.

The family became immune to the weather in our house.  For us, it was normal.  There was no wearing shorts indoors in the winter.  It was full winter regalia.  If you were cold, put on a sweater.  Fine, put on another sweater.

When company would come to visit (as they did often in our house) it was not uncommon for the woman to be cold.  I don't know what made Mom different (maybe it was early onset menopause!) but she was rarely cold.  Except when she would go outside and then she was allergic to cold, but that's another story.

My mom had a sweater put aside especially for company.  It was called "the company sweater" (apt, eh?) and it hung in the closet waiting for our skinny, cold-blooded friends to come visit.  There were a few who had to ask for the sweater (or would be offered the sweater later when Mom would notice they were shivering and wearing their mitts) but there were a few people who walked in the door and immediately changed their jacket for the sweater.

The sweater was knit by my Grandma years before.  It was some sort of polyester blend yarn and was knit the perfect gauge for warmth.  With long, tight sleeves the sweater hit just past your bum and could be wrapped tightly around you or buttoned together in the front.  It was the perfect keep-you-warm sweater.

The sweater now hangs in my closet.  It waits for the occasional guest who is chilly, but mostly I wear it on days when I am too hot to wear a sweater all day, but need a little warmth.  Mostly, I wear it to be comforted by the memory of my Mom and imagine it gives me a hug on her behalf.

1 comment:

  1. Vicki A. was always given the sweater immediately on entry to the house. Actually we turned it to 15C at night. And opened the window in our bedroom. One winter night the water in the glass by Ella's side of the bed had ice in it. We agreed we may have overdone it a bit.


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