From “The New Spring Coat” by JANET NEIPRIS
One April my mother bought me a new spring coat. It was pale blue and pink plaid, double breasted, made with buttons made of Chinese pearl, or so I was told. And since my grandfather was a tailor, and my family was highly knowledgeable about buttons and threads, I believed this to be true. It was the first new coat I’d ever owned, purchased at R.H.White’s Department Store on Washington Street in downtown Boston. Its value was drummed into me. ‘Take care of this coat like it’s a piece of gold, or else.’ In our family this carried the the threat of deprivation, humiliation, and at its worst, something like murder.
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