I don’t remember the exact birthday, but I was a middle-teenager.
As was his tradition (begun by grandma), we went to the mall. I’m sure he was massively uncomfortable because he heavily relied on my good sense (ha!) and the fashion advice of the sales clerk at J.C. Penney.
My parents were livid, though, when I came home with a matching navy mini-skirt. Unfortunately for me, they said nothing in front of Grandpa, though grateful he’d provided them with a receipt “just in case.” I don’t think they waited that long to drag me back to the mall to get something more modest.
I was pissed, but had no choice. I don’t remember what we got instead, probably a damn jean skirt, but I’ll never forget the joy of shopping with Grandpa and the few minutes I got to feel pretty in that skirt.
The sweater has been a favorite since day one. I wore it constantly in high school and college, but in the years since, I’ve keep it on the top shelf in my closet. No more wear and tear, but seeing it every day when I get ready has been a constant source of comfort.
Breaking tradition a few days ago, I wore it out. It was incredibly warm and cozy, just like spending time with Grandpa.