items of steel

I have quite a few things that I’ve owned for a couple of decades now. Many or most of them have held up nicely. I chose to share these four items because they are all a) twenty years old or older and b) have been treated terribly over their long lifetimes. It’s honestly crazy what these things have been through. Some of them are investment pieces, but no, they were treated with the same callous disregard as a used coffee filter. I think you could hit any one of these items with a flame thrower and break the flame thrower.

  1. Faribault Woolen Mill Company blanket. My great-grandmother gave me and my brother each one of these for Christmas in 1996. As she was fond of saying, these are ‘not some cheap old thing.’ At ages 9 and 12, we weren’t really aware of that. We were nonplussed to receive scratchy blankets instead of J. Crew gift cards. My parents recognized the blankets’ value, but nonetheless, these blankets have led terrible lives. They’ve been tossed into the back of a Jeep. Slept on by dogs. Used to rescue auto accident victims. Rattled around at the bottoms of closets and mudrooms. Used to pad furniture during moving. I think I put my refrigerator on this blanket at one point and slid it across the floor to save the hardwood. To my knowledge, my blanket has never been dry cleaned. All this to say, it looks exactly like it did on Christmas Day 1996. That’s some quality loom work right there. In his old age, Faribault has been given a place of honor adorning a rolled-arm sofa. I believe the closest thing currently available is their Pure & Simple Wool Blanket.
  2. Classic Nova Check Burberry scarf. Thinking I was some seriously hot stuff, thirty seconds after arriving at undergrad, I took my shiny new debit card to Saks Fifth Avenue to commence my responsible adulthood. Omg, so fetch. Never mind my that my father rocks the same scarf. Seeing as how this was my Big Purchase, one might think I would treat it with care. No. The scarf has had it slightly easier than the fridge-moving blanket, but as I type, I’m looking at the scarf. It has been carelessly tossed into an antique apple crate with all of our other winter accessories. I think it’s important to note that this is a Burberry scarf from 2002, the height of rap video Burberry era, not a vintage ‘Burberry’s,’ and the quality is still there. The pattern gets a lot of hate for being vulgar, but I don’t agree with that if it’s worn unobtrusively and doesn’t look brand new. This guy doesn’t look brand new, but for the suffering he’s endured, he looks pretty darn good.
  3. L.L. Bean Camp Mocs. I’m not sure when I got these shoes, but want to say 2001. I grew up wearing Eastland Camp Mocs to match my mother’s, but I think Eastlands became scarce at some point? Or maybe we switched when they started importing vs. making them in Maine. Whatever happened, I was given the L.L. Bean version and did not treat them well. I’m hard on shoes anyhow. I don’t like to buy shoes. I hate heels and wear comfortable pairs into the ground. But these are not in the ground. I have stripped woodwork while wearing them and splashed buckets of TSP water on them. They ‘moc’ my efforts to destroy them. I’m only seeing them available in men’s sizing right now, but here they are.
  4. Cashmere-lined leather gloves. Plot twist: These are from Kohl’s. Yes, the same Kohl’s where everything is perpetually on sale, and the items disintegrate as soon as you look at them. They’re from 2004, making them the newest item in this lineup. I think the fact that they’re from Kohl’s adds five years to their age. There’s no brand listed on the tag, but they are literally made of cashmere and leather. Not cashmere blend and pleather. They’re so warm and so comfortable and have had thousands of lattes spilled upon them and been crunched beneath furniture and left to perish in coat closets. Nonetheless, they have survived and taken me from hustling to final exams on the Bluff to hustling my daughter to school on freezing mornings. These gloves are very similar, but they’re not an exact match to the Unicorn Pair. I’m not sure how the ultra-high-quality Unicorn Pair came to be. It’s like Kohl’s stole them from Scully & Scully and resold them for $29.99.
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