The Lost Aran Sweater

(Note:  This post was originally titled “The Lost Arran Sweater” – Arran with two ‘r’s. I have recently learned that Aran sweaters are not from Arran, Scotland, but are from Aran, Ireland. This might explain why I had so much trouble finding a nice “Arran” sweater in Scotland! I have updated this post to use the correct spelling.)

Frank’s retro-travelog (European Memoirs) has me thinking about some of my own trips from days long past. Perhaps because of that, I found myself digging around in a box of old negatives last Sunday. I happened upon a negative of the only known photograph of me wearing the famous Aran sweater that I blogged about back in August of 2001. (What, you don’t remember? Here, refresh…)

It’s a self-portrait taken in the bedroom of an inn, about a week after I bought the sweater. I’m not sure why I took this photo, although I was fascinated by the various rooms I took during the two months of that journey. I wish now that I had photographed myself in each one of them.

Me and my famous green Arran sweater

The photograph is remarkable for a number of reasons. First of all, I look so young! I suppose that makes sense, given that it was 1993 – 13 years ago, almost to the day. It’s also remarkable in that, as I’ve already mentioned, it’s the only photo I have of me in that mythical sweater; my only proof that it was real. Yet for some reason I’ve never made a print of it.

I so loved that sweater, and not just because it reminded me of the Scottish lass from which I bought it. Rather, I’d been searching for the perfect Aran sweater for over a week – which you wouldn’t think would be difficult in Scotland. But this was the only one I really liked, and it came with a crush and a story. Plus, I think it fit me rather nicely.

You’ll have to read that post from 2001 to find out what happened to the sweater. While doing so, you’ll notice that back then I had a fondness for using bold to emphasize things, perhaps a bit too much.

During my trip through the negatives I also found a night shot of the harbour at Cassis, a few kilometres east of Marseilles, in the south of France. It too is a negative that I have never printed. It is relevant to this story of a story, however, in that when I took this photo I did not yet know that I would never see the Aran sweater again, that Cassis would be the place where the sweater and I parted.

Cassis, near Marseille, France

I like to think that somewhere, in or around Cassis, someone is still wearing that sweater. Perhaps it’s the son of a maid who worked at the hotel where I left it. Or perhaps the maid herself. It was a sturdy and well-made sweater, so it could easily last 13 years – especially in the south of France, where the sweater-wearing season is rather short.