Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Garbage Man's Underwear

Years ago, when we were first married, we lived in a Victorian flat in San Francisco. Our landlords lived in the flat below us and they became good friends.

He was a retired garbage collector and his back had been injured by falling off a garbage truck.

Several years after we had moved to a house across the Bay, we got a phone call from our previous landlady.

She said her husband had died and she wanted to give my husband all the sweaters she had knit for him. She didn't want to donate them to a local charity or thrift store because she wouldn't be able to bear seeing "some bum" wearing one of them on the streets.

We drove over to the city and got the sweaters, but my husband wasn't able to wear any of them. They were too small for him, and they all had one sleeve shorter than the other. Our landlady had made them that way because after her husband's accident one of his arms had become shorter ,so he couldn't buy clothes with long sleeves.

Respecting her wish, we kept the sweaters for several years before donating them to a charity far away from San Francisco. We wanted to be sure she wouldn't see someone wearing them.

But we kept one sleeveless sweater she had made for her husband to wear as an undershirt to keep him warm on cold days.

It fit me, and I still wear it as a sweater-vest.

So, if you ever see me with a tan, sleeveless sweater over a long-sleeved shirt, you'll know I'm wearing a garbage man's underwear. It reminds me of the sweet landlords we had long ago.

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