The Tale of the Unwanted Letter Jacket

Once upon a time (okay the ‘80s), in a land far away (actually Oklahoma, far at least from me, now, in Houston, Texas), there lived a high school cheerleader named Crystal. Her parents had both been cheerleaders. Her older sister had been a cheerleader. Her older brother would go on to Oklahoma State University and become the school mascot Pistol Pete, a cheerleader of sorts.

L-E-T-S-G-O.
Let’s go. Let’s go.

The thing is—Crystal was a quiet girl. She liked reading books. She liked boys too much. And although she liked dancing and gymnastics and performing, she didn’t like yelling, and she lacked an interest in contact sports. But there was a family tradition to uphold, and Crystal tended to be good at things she didn’t like, like math and cheerleading. Crystal also tended to be a people pleaser, and so she was a cheerleader.

L-E-T-S-G-O.

More than thirty years later, Crystal’s dad would be cleaning out his own house, the one where she grew up, and getting rid of things he didn’t need and things that didn’t belong to him. He gave Crystal her high school letter jacket, the one that identified her as the cheerleader she never cared to be. The vinyl sleeves had begun to sweat a waxy residue over the years of hanging in a dark closet. The jacket was a hot sticky mess, and besides where does a fifty-year-old woman wear the too-small letter jacket of a high-school girl? And why would anyone need an oozing, never-to-be-worn-again jacket to hang in a closet for thirty more years? The jacket was not worth saving, but it was worth a story. And so Crystal snapped a few photos and wrote one, and she lived happily ever after.

Going. Going. Gone.

 

52 thoughts on “The Tale of the Unwanted Letter Jacket

  1. I still have my college letter jacket which has not stood up well either. I’m pretty sure it’s in worse shape than yours and doesn’t even merit a story in my blog. I’m now inspired to be brave like you and trash it. Thanks for the wake-up call!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Must be the day for a trip down memory lane. I bet you had fun cheerleading. My son and I enjoyed the cheerleading half time show at a Seahawks game years back. They were a southern university team and what a performance with a few hundred at least on the field. The people at home missed it all. You had to be there.

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    1. I’m sure I have other things that would be harder to part with…like my yearbooks, especially the one from my senior year when I was editor. Hurricane Harvey took them, so I don’t have to make that decision. After losing things to a flood, I’ve found that most of “it” doesn’t really matter. But people do! I appreciate your visit, Cindy! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Julie! Our experiences make us who we are whether we choose them or not. Cheerleading was just one of my smaller pieces. I appreciate you for reading and taking time to leave me a note!

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  3. Ha! Hand on heart, you made me laugh out loud, Crystal!

    Perfect, and for me at least, unexpected, way to conclude.

    The words by themselves would’ve conveyed the point, yet the photo gives it a real charge! Obviously, your writing wired this one for power, Crystal!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Points-a-plenty, that’s for sure.

        While we’re over here laughing, you’re filling our minds with all kinds of thoughts. Quite crafty!

        When a writer hits her stride, we poor readers are no match. You have us just where you want us – which happens to be precisely where we want to be, anyway.

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  4. I went to Marine Military Academy and we had to wear out letter jackets everywhere, especially off campus. It was in a bright red and gold color, so combine that with a terrible buzzcut and every girl in town knew you were basically hands off. Even worse that it was the only thing I had to wear when i’d go home haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Linda! Thanks for reading and stopping by. So, a few years ago, Hurricane Harvey flooded us out of our home and took much away. Since then, I’m just not attached to things. My favorite part of cheerleading is still about the friendships, and I still have my friends. I hope you are well. It’s nice to see you on Facebook. Tell Austin I said, Hello.

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    1. In the vein of Marie Kondo, I thanked the jacket for the good times we had. Then I stuffed it into my kitchen trash and hauled it out to the dumpster, which my husband just rolled out to the street this morning for pick up. The garbage collectors come today. The blog made for great banter on my FB page with old high school friends with varying relationships with their own letter jackets. And I had way more fun with the goodbye and the response than I ever could’ve imagined.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, those family traditions! I know what you mean. I see my own kids and wonder if any of them will be as passionate about theater and music as I was at their age, and I realize that I do NOT want to make them feel like there’s a tradition they *have* to uphold like I felt I did with sports’n’nonsense. Far better they engage with what matters to THEM, because if it matters to them, then it’ll matter to me! xxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Loved this!! I love the memories of things, but the things that have the memories are just placeholders. I want to make a scrape book with pieces or pictures of our babies stuff that I’m getting rid of. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Somehow I feel sad when I get to “happily ever after” adjacent to the photo of memoria in the garbage can. (Btw way, once upon a time, a gay friend asked to borrow my high school wrestling captain’s jacket for some event he was going to in the gay community, and for which he thought the letter jacket would be a nice touch. Many years later, the jacket long forgotten, we crossed paths in NY and he still had my jacket, waiting to return it. Now it permanently hangs in Mom’s closet … at least until next time.)

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