Monday, January 24, 2011

The Blue Parrot

In high school my sister and I would stop at the Blue Parrot, a vintage clothing store, when we visited the big city, Springfield. That was after we'd stopped by a sandwich shop that would customize your sub with prime cuts, cheeses, and oil. I learned there about provolone and admired their amazing speaker system that played the Stones, Creedence, and Van Morrison.

Van was also the mainstay on the Blue Parrot's stereo.

"Lyndon Arden stole the highlights."

"Natalia, Natalia."

"You don't pull no punches, but you don't push the river."

They had vintage sweaters, dresses, coats, and jackets.

I bought a grey wool Pendleton bomber-style jacket for $8.00. I was in heaven. It fit perfectly, had a pink lining, knit collar and cuffs, and seemed to me like something a movie star would have worn in the 50s.

I came home that afternoon, put Van's "Wavelength" on the living room stereo, and admired my jacket in the mirror.

Mom came home, tired from working in the factory, and asked me to turn down the volume. She didn't notice my beautiful jacket.

All the girls at school were wearing fading-dye angora sweaters that fall. They'd be royal blue at the cowl neck and baby blue at the hem.

I couldn't afford those, but I could buy classic vintage at the Blue Parrot, or better yet, lamb's wool and cashmere sweaters (with just a few moth holes) at yard sales.

One of my favorite sweaters was a camel hair with leather-patched elbows. It had a few holes. My best friend would sing the Tom Petty hit "you don't have to live like a refugee" every time I wore it. We laughed.

At school, however, the girls in the pink puffy sweaters laughed at my jacket. Oh well, I thought, they have no taste and can go suck an egg.

"Baby you know what they are writing about ….  It makes you wanna cry sometimes," Van sang as mom cooked supper.

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