Today was blustery and cold, never getting out of the low 40s all day. Since my commute to the Library of Congress includes long stretches of walking outdoors – from the subway station parking lot to the Metro train, and from the Capitol South subway stop in Washington D.C. to the marble steps of the Library of Congress, I was eager for a day like today to wear my mother’s wool trousers from 1938, which I blogged about a few weeks ago (see my post of November 10: "A Hepburn Sensibility"), but this time with an antique wool sweater that my father wore in the late 1930s when he lived in Switzerland and was studying photography in Germany just before the outbreak of World War II.
|My father, Alfred, in the Swiss Alps in the late 1930s|
Just as I had a photo of my mother wearing the same trousers in 1938, so I have a photo of my father wearing this thick knit sweater while skiing in the Swiss Alps in 1939. There is a metal penguin woven into the yarn of the sweater on the front, but no discernable tag to identify the maker. Made of thick, itchy wool, I was afraid the sweater would irritate my skin, so I wore a Danskins black leotard underneath. The combination of yellow and black in the trousers and leotard called out for an amber necklace, so I chose a choker of amber glass beads from Fire & Ice Jewelers of Baltimore (http://www.fireandice.com/), with matching amber-beaded chandelier earrings from Claire’s and a citrine bracelet I purchased at the DeYoung Museum gift shop in San Francisco in 2004.
Conjuring both my mother and my father in my wardrobe today made for a very sentimental journey on the subway into Washington D.C. The brisk winter air on my face made me think of the Alps my father skied upon so long ago. It was a good day for such melancholy thoughts of dear parents long departed.