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.

10 thoughts on “The Lost Aran Sweater

  1. That is a great story. If you weren’t already smitten and well clothed, I’d say it could be a life’s journey searching for the sweater and the keyhole eye and reuniting the three of you.

    Glad to be of inspiration. I really have Europe on the brain right now. I can only hope some of my recollections are half as interesting as that story.

  2. Great photo Ed! It reminds me of a few Michel has shown me of him from the ’80s…all sensitive-new-age-ponytail-guy kind of thing (ok, well without the ponytail)!

    But seriously, it’s great to see photos like that. I love seeing photos of people I know outside of the time I have known them. It’s like having a key to an unknown universe.

    I went through some photos of myself recently, and it’s amazing how much you think you haven’t changed. Until you compare the photos to what you see in the mirror. Time passes quickly.

  3. Awe we’re being terribly mean to you aren’t we? Admittedly some of us are doing it on purpose (for solidly good laughs) but I think others are actually doing it by accident. To balance things out you should post a more recent picture of yourself so we can tell you what a sexy beast you are today. ;)

  4. Indeed. Mind you, all one needs do is cast an eye to the upper-right corner of this blog (top of the sidebar) to see a thumbnail of my glorious face. Refresh your browser and you’ll see a different thumbnail of said face. Repeat, etc.

    I hate to say it, but I really liked having high hair like that. I liked that look. And those big round glasses were far more practical than the rectangular ones that are fashionable today. In fact, when I play ping-pong I take off my fashionable rectangular glasses and put on an old pair of round glasses so I can get a “full view” of the game and not just a window on it!

  5. Oh no those little portrait pictures don’t do you justice at all. In fact, now that I think of it, few pictures I’ve seen of you really live up to the ‘live’ version (this blog even falls a little short of expressing who you are). I know what you mean though. I still like some of my old looks, even if they would likely make people crack up laughing today. But y’know, only kids can get away with that kind of ‘retro’ now. It’s crucial for geezers like us to recognize that ‘zone’ as behind us, and stay the hell away from it. ;)

  6. I should point out that ‘sensitive-new-age-ponytail-guy” is an affectionate term, not a derogatory one, and that when I refer to time passing quickly, I am refering to me, not to you!

  7. No need to apologize, Suzanne. Time passes quickly for me too. In fact, the older I get the quicker it passes. Old wisdom, but easily ignored until you’re north of 40.

    I had a ponytail for a few years — from about 1989 to 91 I think. I thought there were no known pictures of me with it, but I found a couple of slides recently. I am SO not going to scan them though. The ponytail is bad enough, but add the moustache and the bug-eyed glasses and it’s just too much!

  8. Did you just admit to once being a ponytail dude with a moustache? [ouch]. Yes, I should probably just throw in my apology and refrain from giving compliments. I likely give them as well as I take them.

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