It was winter time, in the year 1991, and we were on the hunt.
The collective “we” I am referring to is my parents, and I. The “hunt” I am referring to is for a winter jacket. My mother being the always responsible mother that she is had a very specific criteria set in place for this winter jacket. It must have a hood – to keep my little ears from getting too cold, it must be of good quality – to last the winter through, it must be thick and warm – winters in Western NY are no joke. So as we wandered through the seas of clothing racks filled to the brim with winter jackets, all towering far above my little six year old reach, we searched fervently for a jacket that met these descriptions. A shopping trip like this one was boring for everyone involved. It was a shopping trip purely for a purpose, and not necessarily a fun one.
At the age of six I can tell you the last place I wanted to be was in a department store, shopping for a winter jacket that- per my Mother’s criteria was basically guaranteed to be ugly and totally un-cool. I would have much rather been shopping for arts and crafts supplies, or for food, or for something that was at least interesting to me. But here we were hunting for a new winter jacket. I remember wandering about the store, the dry air burning my little eyes, and the florescent lighting casting a strange blue light down on everything around me. Everything was above me, which I remember finding irritating, so I was totally reliant on one of my parents to hopefully pick out a winter jacket that ranked higher in coolness as much as possible to help me climb to the top of the competitive social ladder that is – kids with cool winter coats.
At some point during the hunt, my father and I were wandering about and when we found it, when we found THE jacket, we were just about out of ear shot of my mother. I remember my Dad pulling the jacket down from far above my head, and taking it off the hanger and handing it to me, all the while telling me just how cool this jacket was. This jacket was the coolest jacket in all of the winter jacket land. It had denim and pink designs on the outside of it, with a cool collar that was striped with the navy blue, and pink with buttons going down the front of it, easy-to-snap buttons, and the inside was a soft pink interior- fluffy like a winter jacket, but not uncomfortably puffy. I slipped it on with my Dad’s assistance and it fit perfectly. Being that it had a collar, we both acknowledged immediately that it did not meet my Mother’s standards, meaning, there was no hood. So there we stood me in the coolest jacket I had ever seen, talking about how it was we were going to convince my Mother that the hood wasn’t as important as she had deemed so.
I could wear winter hats, or head bands or ear muffs, my friends all had ear muffs! We eventually decided we also should sell her on the sheer coolness factor and hoped that it would help overcome any objections. As we walked back within ear shot and eventually right up to my Mother both of us grinning because we had really done two great things – ended a boring shopping trip, and found the coolest jacket the store had to offer – I did a spin, and we started selling the coolness of the jacket, it was going well, and then we were met with a face of uncertainty by my Mother, we knew what was next….she’s gonna say there’s no hood, she asked me to turn around and saw that there was no “built in hood” or snap on hood, or anything like that, and then I spun back around to face her, and said, “I can wear hats! or ear-muffs, my friends wear ear muffs.” My Dad chimed in and brought up the coolness factor a third and fourth time, this sales pitch went on for a solid fifteen minutes before my Mother finally caved, and agreed to the purchase of the jacket. My Dad and I turned toward each other and expressed our win with a high five, they paid for the jacket, and I wore it right out of the store. To this day, I say that it really was the coolness factor that won over my Mother for that jacket, and my Dad and I still celebrate that as one of the best win’s of my childhood.