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South Texas Living

Henry’s 64-year-old jacket

Henry’s 64-year-old jacket
Julia Castro in Henry’s western-style suede jacket

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Julia Castro
Apple Pie and Salsa
January 22, 2014
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Henry had been wanting me to wear it and it finally got cold enough for me to wear his old jacket. It has to be really cold because it is very heavy. But with this cold weather we have been having, it sure feels good. It is a western-style leather suede jacket with fringe and eyelet decorations.

When Henry and I started dating in high school, blue jeans were the norm for the boys. Most boys wore T-shirts or button-down shirts and so did Henry, but sometimes he wore the western-look shirts. And he wore boots. In fact in his senior picture you can see him grinning because our friend Katie yelled out “Boots” to him just before they snapped his picture. He already had this jacket, but he never wore it to school. He did wear it on our dates. He doesn’t remember how much he paid for it but he says it was with money he “earned” playing pool at his dad’s place. He had a reputation as a pool “shark.”

Henry has always considered himself somewhat of a cowboy. After all, he was riding a horse to school at the age of seven.

Time marched on. We graduated and, as I have written before, nearly two years later, five days before he was inducted into the Army, we were married. I never thought about the jacket because he didn’t leave many clothes with me at my parents’ home where I was staying. Years later he told me that he had given it to a close friend, Reynaldo. More years passed -- a lot more years. Then a few years ago, Reynaldo told Henry that he still had the jacket and that he wanted to give it back to him. Eventually Henry went and picked it up. We couldn’t believe the condition it was in! It is almost in mint condition. Reynaldo says that he only wore it a few times. It wasn’t his style and he got teased about it. But he never got rid of it. His wife, Terry, probably wanted to get rid of it more than once. It must have been taking up space in their closet.

I have to confess that it fits pretty snug. Henry had a 29-inch waist even when he got back from the Army. We estimate that the jacket has to be at least 64 years old. (It looks better than either one of us.)

It really isn’t my style either. I wear jeans sometimes, but I never owned a pair of boots or a black cowboy hat. And I haven’t gotten on a horse in more than 20 years.

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