The Amazing Gold Sweater

Here is Mei-O with her 81-year old father in Taiwan in April, 2004. The gold sweater he's wearing has an interesting, almost unbelievable history.

When I was in high school, I bought a gold sweater that looked something like this one, only it had long sleeves, the V-neck was much, much higher, and the color was a much deeper gold. I remember it was pretty expensive. I didn't normally buy such fancy stuff, but I really loved the sweater and somehow managed to talk my parents into buying it for me. It was my favorite sweater, and I wore it often.

After finishing high school and attending three miserable semesters at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, I decided college wasn't for me, so I joined the Air Force. I got stationed in Taiwan where I eventually met and married Mei-O. When my military service was over, we returned to the States. We initially lived with my parents in Chicago, where I discovered my old gold high school sweater in the bottom of a drawer filled with some of my old clothes my mom had saved for me. When we eventually moved out on our own, I took it with.

Over the years, the sweater got smaller and smaller (well, actually, I got bigger and bigger!), and it spent most of its time in a bottom dresser drawer.

When Mei-O's mother and father came to live with us for a year or so when we lived in Ohio in the late 1970s, I passed the sweater down to my father-in-law. It was, of course, too big for him, but my mother-in-law told us not to worry, that she could have it fixed when she got it back to Taiwan. Eventually, they returned to Taiwan, taking the sweater with them.

The next time we returned to Taiwan a few years later, I noticed my father-in-law wearing the sweater in this picture. I didn't think much about it - as I said, my old high school sweater had long sleeves and a much higher V-neck. But something did look rather familiar about it. When I mentioned that to Mei-O, she informed me that her mom told her that she took my old sweater to a 'sweater-maker' who unravelled it into a big ball of yarn and tried to re-knit it into a new sweater. But the new sweater didn't turn out very well, so my mother-in-law retrieved it and the leftover loose yarn, and knitted the sweater in the picture herself. That was over 25 years ago. To this day, my father-in-law wears it quite often.

It's hard to believe that this sweater is made from the same yarn that I often wore to high school in the sixties. It is starting to look only the slightest bit worn, but my father-in-law doesn't seem to mind. It was good quality material from the beginning, and has proven its worth well beyond what I ever would have expected.

A Post Script
July 26, 2008

Mei-O's father passed away on July 7, 2008. When we returned to Taiwan for his funeral, Mei-O's mom gave us the gold sweater which he had worn for so many years. I now have my old high school sweater back and treasure it as a fond reminder of this wonderful man who gave me his daughter to share my life with and accepted me into his family as one of their own. Thanks, Pa. I'm glad you were able to enjoy the sweater for so many, many years.