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The Shirt February 3, 2016

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Way back in November, I went to a reunion of five childhood friends who were friends really because our parents had been friends. The parents had at one time all lived in Princeton, New Jersey, and three of the friends who were getting together had all been delivered by the same obstetrician within a year’s time. I was the middle one of those.

Soon after those three births, everyone left Princeton, but the parents remained friends and there were visits during our childhoods. So we knew each other this way—occasionally.

The youngest of the Princeton born, Leyla, was my best friend throughout my childhood, damn the distance. We saw each other a few times a year, called, wrote letters. It became tougher in adulthood, but mostly after she had kids.

The oldest of the Princeton born was Amy, and in part because she was older, I looked up to her and found her wiser, cool, and more sophisticated than moi.

The other two friends who were getting together again were the younger sisters of the two elder Princeton born. The younger sisters (Alison [mine] and Anna [Amy’s]) were born 8 days apart.

It is pretty certain that the five of us hadn’t been in a room all together since the mid-1970s. One of us wondered allowed if we had ever all been a room together, or if it had always been this configuration or that. I’m not sure.

More than a decade ago, Alison and I got back in touch with Anna and visited her in Somerville. Tim and I visited there once too. Anna brought her family to visit all of us one summer (Alison lives a mile from me). On some visit, probably the first, Anna relayed a story of being in Leyla’s house to help pack it up for Leyla’s move to Toronto. It’s a little unclear why Anna’s family was helping to pack up when Leyla and her mother weren’t there (Leyla’s father had died), but that’s what was happening. Anna had always loved Leyla’s clothes (who didn’t?), and while packing them up, she helped herself to a shirt. She liked it, she took it! Leyla had so many other cool things, she wouldn’t be likely to miss it.

Anna told me and Alison this, and I’m sure I then told Leyla, but even that was a long time ago now, and Leyla had forgotten. So when the five got together, the story came up again. Anna described the shirt, and Leyla said she remembered it. And Anna gave her a new shirt.

Anna had to sing in church (remember when I went to church twice in one month? both Unitarian? once in England, once in New England?), so she left the house early for rehearsal. I said, “We should steal a shirt!” So we did.

We took turns having our pictures taken with the shirt and then posting them on Facebook, waiting to see if Anna would notice. Amy said she’d collect the photos and put them together, framed, for Anna for Christmas. (The shirt was driven from Concord, Massachusetts, to Parts West, Vermont, then mailed to New York City, then mailed to Baltimore, and ultimately driven to Delaware, Ohio.)

I was first to post a photo, on December 16, with the line, “The komodos and I wish the holidays could be a little om-ier.”

Komodo Kate

Leyla commented on my nice shirt, trying to draw more attention to the post, then tagged Anna a few days later saying that the photo made her (Leyla) think of Anna, although she wasn’t sure why.

On December 19, Alison posted this photo, tagging the gang to check out her new tile.


Oddly, a random friend noted immediately that the shirt matched the tile.

On December 21, Leyla posted a new profile photo: a shot of herself with the shirt in front of a painting in Anna’s house—an amazing PhotoShop job!


I commented, “I used to have a shirt just like that!,” upon which Anna commented, “How is it possible that you, Leyla, and Alison, and Indigo, and I all have that same shirt? (at the exact same moment you are posing in front of the painting that is the exact same as the painting I have??? (!!!!!)” She was catching on.

The next day, Anna posted the three photos together, saying “OK, it is JUST beginning to occur to me that MAYBE (just possibly?) you guys are messing with me and you STOLE MY SHIRT, Leyla, Alison, Indigo, and just possibly Amy! I was digging around in my closet to find that shirt, to take it to Ohio, to have my sister pose in it to freak you out . . . only IT’S NOT THERE! How could someone steal a shirt right out from under me? What did I ever do to deserve this? Oh . . . right . . . I stole Leyla’s shirt. Karma is a bitch! Or, then again, it is maybe just possibly a LOT of fun! Did I figure you guys out??? Do I WIN anything for figuring you out? Like—my shirt back? (might be too much to hope for since Leyla had to wait, um, 37 years) And wait—did I just publicly admit that when I was 13 years old I STOLE my friend’s shirt? Thank goodness no one ever reads this deep into a FB comment!”

Amy, in fact, had the shirt, had her photo taken in it, added it to the mix, and the shirt and montage were delivered over the holidays.

But Amy’s shirt photo never appeared on Facebook. And when she posted something a couple of days ago about hating photos of herself and her resulting month-long project to address that, I pushed her on seeing the final shirt photo. She  posted it in the comments section, and I love it:


I haven’t yet seen the photo montage, and it occurs to me that we need a photo of Anna in the shirt.

And maybe this is rather a silly and indulgent post, but it’s somewhat reflective of what can happen when little kids get together after forty years.


1. Mali - February 4, 2016

That’s a great story! Not silly or indulgent at all. In fact, really special after forty years.

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