We call it a jersey

by little red pen

And then there’s this, from the file of “things I didn’t realise I needed to know more about, but now I’m really glad I do”: The Cosby Sweater, although it’s not a sweater here in this beautiful country of bush and sea and the beginnings of autumn rain, it’s a jersey and I’ve just started wearing them again after a summer so long and dry I began to wonder where I was. A sweater is something else. Maybe more like a “sweatshirt”? So, reading this article made me think about some of the crazy-happy garments I wore in the 80s, and about how cool The Cosby Show was and how I’d like to curl up with my boys this afternoon and watch perhaps five episodes while drinking hot chocolate and eating popcorn, although that’s not likely to happen because I just now realised that I promised the Cat a playdate with his friend, and popcorn and hotdogs were mentioned but we don’t have any popcorn, and when I think about it I’m not even clear on what a hot dog is — is it a cheerio and does it go in a bun? or is it that battered thing on a stick? — not that it matters because we don’t have any and our bank account is doing the limbo and it’s low, low, low.

But also I think I have a relationship with jerseys that I don’t quite have with other garments — they have character and personality for me, and I give them names, which might be odd, although how would I know, maybe everyone names their clothes. So now I’m wearing Grey Bee, and at night I put on Brown Bear, which was made by my sister to help me let go of the original Brown Bear, which my mum knitted out of natural brown wool spun by my grandmother. That was a beautiful jersey, slightly rough and sheepy still, but softened by the hands that had made it and by years of wear. I’d be wearing it still, but the shoulders are threadbare and the hem is raggy, so it’s packed away for special occasions, along with the big Mum-smelling jersey I kept from her clothes and my old teddy bear, whose head and arms are only just staying on, and whose fur is worn bald in places by the adventures he had doing all the things I wasn’t allowed to do.

He was a great bear. I believed, as a child, that he could fly.