First time I see this. Nice
The yellow shirt...
baggy yellow shirt had long sleeves, four
extra-large pockets trimmed in black thread
snaps up the front. It was faded from
years of wear, but still in decent shape.
I found it in 1963 when I was home from college
on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of
clothes Mom intended to give away. "You're
not taking that old thing, are you?" Mom said
when she saw me packing the yellow shirt.
"I wore that when I was pregnant with your
brother in 1954!"
just the thing to wear over my clothes during
Thanks!" I slipped it into my suitcase
before she could object. The yellow shirt be
came a part of my college wardrobe. I
loved it. After graduation, I wore the shirt the
day I moved into my new apartment and on
Saturday mornings when I cleaned.
next year, I married. When I became
pregnant, I wore the yellow shirt during
big-belly days. I missed Mom and the rest
of my family, since we were in
and they were in Illinois
But that shirt helped. I smiled,
remembering that Mother had worn it when she was
pregnant, 15 years earlier.
Christmas, mindful of the warm feelings the
shirt had given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped
it in holiday paper and sent it to Mom.
When Mom wrote to thank me for her "real" gifts,
she said the yellow shirt was lovely. She
never mentioned it again.
next year, my husband, daughter and I stopped at
Mom and Dad's to pick up some
Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table,
I noticed something yellow taped to its
bottom. The shirt!
so the pattern was set.
our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt
under Mom and Dad's mattress. I don't know
how long it took for her to find it, but almost
two years passed before I discovered it under
the base of our living-room floor lamp.
The yellow shirt was just what I needed now
while refinishing furniture. The walnut
stains added character.
1975 my husband and I divorced. With my
three children, I prepared to move back to
. As I packed, a deep depression overtook
me. I wondered if I could make it on my own.
I wondered if I would find a job. I
paged through the Bible, looking for
comfort. In Ephesians, I read, "So use
every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy
whenever he attacks, and when it is all over,
you will be standing up."
tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but
all I saw was the stained yellow shirt.
Slowly, it dawned on me. Wasn't my
mother's love a piece of God's armor? My
courage was renewed.
in our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt
back to Mother. The next time I visited
her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser
I found a good job at a radio station. A
year later I discovered the yellow shirt hidden
in a rag bag in my cleaning closet.
new had been added. Embroidered in bright
green across the breast pocket were the words "I
BELONG TO PAT."
to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery
materials and added an apostrophe and seven more
letters. Now the shirt proudly proclaimed,
"I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER." But I didn't
stop there. I zig-zagged all the frayed
seams, then had a friend mail the shirt in a
fancy box to Mom from Arlington
We enclosed an
looking letter from "The Institute for the
Destitute," announcing that she was the
recipient of an award for good deeds. I
would have given anything to see Mom's face when
she opened the box. But, of course, she
never mentioned it.
years later, in 1978, I remarried. The day
of our wedding, Harold and I put our car in a
friend's garage to avoid practical jokers. After
the wedding, while my husband drove us to our
honeymoon suite, I reached for a pillow in the
car to rest my head. It felt lumpy.
I unzipped the case and found, wrapped in
wedding paper, the yellow shirt. Inside a
pocket was a note: "Read John
I love you both, Mother."
night I paged through the Bible in a hotel room
and found the verses: "I am leaving you
with a gift: peace of mind and heart. And the
peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the
world gives. So don't be troubled or
afraid. Remember what I told you: I am
going away, but I will come back to you
again. If you really love me, you will be
very happy for me, for now I can go to the
Father, who is greater than I am. I have told
you these things before they happen so that when
they do, you will believe in me."
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