Saturday, September 24, 2011


This will take me forever to type but I believe in it so strongly that I am hand typing it to pass it on. In all these years, I have never learned to copy and paste or cut and paste. A very dear longtime friend and I finally talked by phone last week and today she sent me this. I cried, as I am sure you will so bare with me, please to the end.

It takes a few minutes to read but I think you will enjoy it as much as I did. Wish I had done something like this years ago.

The yellow shirt, had long sleeves, four extra large pockets trimmed with black thread and snaps in front. It was faded from years of wear, but still in decent shape. I found it in 1963 when I was home from college on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of cloths mom intended to give away... 'you're not taking that old thing, are you?' Mom said when she saw me packing the yellow shirt. ' I wore that when I was pregnant with your brother in 1954.'

'It's just the thing to wear over my cloths during art class, mom, thanks.' I slipped into mt suitcase before she could object. The yellow shirt became a part of college wardrobe. I loved it. After graduation I moved into my new apartment and I wore the shirt the day I moved and on Saturday mornings when I cleaned.

The next year, I married. When I became pregnant, I wore the shirt during fat days. I missed my mom and the rest of the family, since we were in Colorado and they were in Illinois. But that shirt helped I smiled remembering that mother had worn it 25 years earlier.

That Christmas , mindful of the warm feelings the shirt had given me, I patched the elbow, wrapped it in holiday paper and sent it to mom. When mom wrote back, she thanked me for the 'real gifts' and never mentioned it again.

The next year my husband , daughter and I stopped at mom's and dad's to pick up some furniture. Days later when we opened the crate for the the kitchen table ,I noticed something yellow taped to it's bottom.......The Yellow Shirt! And so the pattern was set.

On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt under mom and dad's mattress. I don't know how long it took her to find it, but almost two years passe before I discovered it under the base of our living room floor lamp. The yellow shirt was just what I needed while refinishing furniture......The walnut stains added character.

In 1975 my husband and I divorced. With my three children I prepared to move back to Illinois. As I packed, a deep depression overtook me. I wondered if I could find a job. I paged through my Bible, looking for comfort. In Ephesians, I read, 'So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is over, you will be standing up.' I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor but all I saw was the stained yellow shirt. Slowly it dawned on me ..... Wasn't mom's love a piece of God's armor? My courage was renewed.

Unpacking in our new home I knew I had to get the shirt back to mother. The next time I visited her I tucked it in her dresser drawer. Meanwhile, I found a good job at a radio station and a year later I found the yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet. Something new had been added. Embroidered in bright green across the breast pocket were the words....I BELONG TO PAT.....Not to be outdone, I added an apostrophe and seven more letters. Now the shirt proudly proclaimed.....I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER. and then I zig zagged all the frayed seams and had a friend mail the shirt, in a fancy box to my mom from Arlington, Va. we enclosed an official looking letter from 'The Institute for the Destitute announcing she was the recipient of an award for good deeds. I wish I could have seen her face when she opened the box but of course she never mentioned it.

Two years later, in 1978 I remarried and on that day Harold and I put our car in a friends garage to avoid practical jokes. After the wedding, we were traveling on our honeymoon and I reached in the back seat for a pillow to rest my head and it felt lumpy. I unzipped the pillow case and wrapped in wedding paper in the inside was the yellow shirt with this note in the pocket. Read John 14:27-29....I love you both, Mother.

That night I paged through my Bible and found the verses,'I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives....So don't be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you, I am going away but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am....I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe me.'

The shirt was mother's final gift. She had known for three months she had terminal Lou Gehring's Disease. Mother died the following year at age 57.

I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave but, I'm glad I didn't because it is a vivid reminder of the love filled game she and I played for 16 years. Besides my oldest daughter is now in college and majoring in art and every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt with big pockets........


Have a wonderful Sunday and thank your Lord for all your yellow shirts......Amen


Debbie K said...

This was so neat, Pokie. It made me cry too, in a good way!

Debbie K said...

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday, too, dear Pokie! Looking forward to seeing you soon!!

Today With PokieToo and Parkinson's and Acute RA Disease