What Did We Do with Our Coats? The Winter of Identical Jackets

One night, when the temperature dropped below zero, and we felt as though we were in  a Laura Ingalls Wilder book, my boyfriend and I walked home from work. We complained all the way, though we were dressed for the cold.  We wore identical Air Force parkas with synthetic fur-trimmed hoods. 

Only were the parkas identical?  His was navy blue.  Was mine sage-green?  I know I once had a sage-green Air Force parka.  It was an Air Force parka knock-off for women, in a prettier color than the navy blue.  Was his a real Air Force parka?  Where would he have bought it?  The Army-Navy store?  But did the Army-Navy store sell Air Force jackets? 

I’m thinking of the parka, because a friend sent me an old picture of this boyfriend in the parka.  He was at a poetry reading at a local bookstore, having a drink and talking to a couple of literary friends. All of them had coats on. The bookstore must have been cold.   I have noticed, however, that men seldom take off their coats at these events, because they want to be ready to take off when they get bored.

I wonder if my husband – my true love, not the boyfriend – remembers my Air Force parka. Was it blue or green?  But, no, I don’t think he would remember.  The winter I met him, he himself was wearing a strange system of layers of coats, which led a friend to think he was poor.  He wasn’t poorer than the rest of us  – it was a neo-poor prairie-macho fashion he thought up himself.

And then he, too, got a parka. 

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