Memories: The Red Jacket


My dad was born on December 5, 1920. Dad loved wearing red; shirts, sweaters, pants, hats, and for the last decade or so of his life, a bright red windbreaker jacket. Me, not so much. In fact, I have always disliked wearing red. The closest I’d come was my blue Boston Red Sox cap with its red B.

Shortly after dad passed in 2014, my sister and I got together to go through his things. When we came across the red windbreaker I impulsively told her, “I’ll take it.” It was the only piece of his clothing I kept.

Now when we get cool mornings and evenings in Arizona (yes, we do occasionally get them), I often put on dad’s red jacket before going out and each time I smile and remember. I often think of my first memory of him when I was three or four. We are in the car, dad’s driving and he’s singing. Dad loved singing to my sister and I, and he loved driving around. He had a standard repertoire – including I’ve Been Working On The Railroad, Skin a Marink a Dink, and all four military service songs. We learned them all, sang along and never tired of them. As I write this I can hear his soft and smooth singing voice. I’ve inherited his love of singing (I’m not very good but have a wider range of tunes) and, like him, enjoy going on drives with no particular destination in mind. And now my son has the same driving habits.

So I’ll continue to gladly make this exception to my aversion to red clothing. Just don’t ask me to wear anything else red.

And now we’re making new memories. Three days ago, our first grandchild was born to our daughter and son-in-law. I wore the red jacket to the hospital. Dad would appreciate that.

There are 9 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat

    Congratulations on your new grandchild!  A lovely post.  My dad died in 2014 too.  He didn’t wear red, but he loved to drive and we would sing- all 4 military branch songs,  and he loved the Wabash Canon Ball and In the Evening, By the Moonlight.

    • #1
  2. Juliana Member

    Have you bought the baby a red jacket yet?

    My dad would sing along to the radio in the car – usually old country (his favorite was Jim Reeves), but when we could persuade him to play rock and roll on WLS, he would go along with that as well. Even to the point of making me very nervous as he would take his hands off the wheel and clap while singing to some oldie.

    • #2
  3. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B

    Congrats on the grand-baby! Did they assign a gender at birth or are they waiting to see what the kid decides?

    • #3
  4. EODmom Coolidge

    We wish you much joy with your new grand baby. You will get to know and love all of them the rest of your life. I’m so glad you have that jacket (I’ll bet you look great in it) and I can hear your dad singing to you and you all just singing along. You made my day. Happy times, Grandpa.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    What a wonderful story, Mark! And how wonderful to have a new grandchild. A sweet story all around.

    • #5
  6. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B

    What a lovely tribute to your dad on his birthday! I think there must be something about  the color red because the minute this writing topic came up, I thought of my old red scarf. I am planning a post about it for tomorrow, but I might also go in a different direction. When you really get started down memory lane, it’s amazing how many detours there are.

    • #6
  7. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    My dad wore bow ties, and my mom never left the house without a hat.  After my mom died, I would go in her closet and bury my face in her clothes. It was like a hug.

    • #7
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Do you have a “red jacket,” a memento that consistently calls to mind memories of a loved one? This post is part of December’s theme: “Memories.” Stop by soon, before the days are all taken!

    • #8
  9. Arahant Member

    Congratulations, Grampa Gumby.

    • #9

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.