"Deja vu" and The Red Suit

Over the weekend, my wife Maggie was going through items in storage boxes we accumulated over the years, which we have stored in our basement. There were old files, clothes, furniture and other items, including photographs dating back 30 years or more. Many items would be discarded, others we will keep.

She called me over as she sorted out decades-old pictures, a good many in black and white and in color. One of the photographs was of our five year-old son, Jimmy wearing a red  suit, tie and white shirt. The photograph brought back many memories as "Jimmy," as I fondly call him, is now 30 years old. I recall the story of Jimmy and the red suit as it has remained a legendary story in our family.
From left: my son Jimmy, and daughter, Danielle, on my lap
at the circus at Madison Square Garden in New York.

A Shopping Weekend

At the time, we lived in Rockland County, New York, and decided to go clothes shopping for our then 11-year-old daughter Danielle and 5-year-old, Jimmy, who was about to graduate from kindergarten.  The New Jersey Malls were no more than a 30-minute car ride from our former home in West Nyack, New York.

One of the stops we made was to the Burlington Coat Factory, a clothing outlet for the whole family, with a wide selection of items, and good prices.  With a young, maturing family, we looked for good quality and bargains as often as we could.

"Mag" ushered the children around looking for clothes for each of them. Danielle and Mag chose clothing quite well, in a "systematic" way -- choosing several items, trying clothes on, tossing what didn't fit, and taking what Danielle would wear. Pretty rationale and predictable, right?  But five-year-old Jimmy was not quite predictable.

The "Red Suit"

We were looking for pants and shirts for Jimmy, as well as a suit. The suit was necessary, as we had more formal events we were planning to attend, including a funeral. I wheeled over to the boys section in advance of Mag, who was finishing up in the girls section with Danielle and Jimmy.  I looked at the standard basic colors for men and boys clothing, blue, gray, brown, beige, solids and pinstripes, yup, all good choices.

As Mag pushed the shopping cart down the clothing aisle for children, she called me to her. She said she showed Jimmy a few suits and tried one or two on. And, some fit better than others. "But," she said, "Jimmy liked one better than others, and it is red -- the pants and jacket are fire engine red!"

I looked up at my wife from why wheelchair, and said: "What?,"  amazed at what I heard.  My suits were always traditional colors, as I worked at the IBM Corporation at the time.
Jimmy in his proud "red suit," with me
 along for the ride.
Appropriate attire at IBM was blue pinstripe suits, solid blue, gray pinstripe and so on; and oh, a white shirt and tie!

Jimmy's choice, however, was the fire engine red suit -- which came complete with white shirt, red jacket and pants, and a matching pastel gold and red "clip on tie!"

Jimmy had the the jacket on, and it fit very well. Everyone looked at me and we then all looked at Jimmy with the red jacket on -- smiling.  I turned to my wife and said, well it fits!  And, he likes it. More importantly he will wear it!"

 Maggie looked at Jimmy and I, puzzled, then smiled. She hesitantly agreed, not sure either. Our logic was that at five years old he would wear a red suit, complete with white shirt and tie and have appropriate attire on!

Whether a birthday, wedding or funeral, he was the best dressed 5-year-old in the Town of West Nyack, New York.

My wife found a photo of me, at about five
 wearing a red jacket!
Postscript: As my wife went through other documents in our archive of photographs, guess what she found?  A picture of me, about the same age as our son, wearing a red jacket! I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree afterall.





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