Death of a Sweatshirt

Don’t you just hate it when one of your favorite pieces of clothing is so far gone that you finally have to retire it? Usually a guy thing where he wears some old ratty shirt or comfortable, ripped, faded jeans until they are in danger of being indecent.

I have a sweatshirt that falls into this category. It kept me warm all last winter when we had to stay in Canada, in the fifth wheel. I loved that shirt and wore it to death.

I find a treasure

In a Ropa, I find a Ropa treasure

It had an unkown past before it came to me. Here in the Rio Grande Valley are unique places called Usada Ropas, or used clothes in English. It is to these places that all the rejected used clothes from all over the US and Canada end up.

new stuff being brought out on pallets

new stuff being brought out on pallets

They arrive in huge bales at great warehouses where the bales are opened and sorted for the really good stuff, the rest is just piled on the floor in huge mountains for customers to climb through or over, looking for that special treasure.

That's a big pile of clothes

In the Ropa- its a big pile of clothes

Usually it is Mexican ladies who spend their day there, finding clothes to sell at Pulgas- (Mexican Flea Markets) or even yard sales. See my prior post on Pulgas:

Winter Texans like to take a day and try their hand at the treasure hunt, but it’s just a lark for them, something to talk about when they get home.

occasionally they stir the pile with a lift truck, you could get buried under the pile

occasionally they stir the pile with a lift truck, you could get buried under the pile-note lift truck rear center!

On my trip to the Ropa I really got into the spirit and came home with $11 worth of stuff (that’s a lot of stuff at 14 cents a pound) which cost me $20 to wash before I would bring it into the trailer. One of these items  was my beloved sweatshirt. An odd shade of khaki green with the Heinz 57 label on the front, it was not beautiful but it was my comfort shirt.

holes in the sleeve

holes in the sleeve

frayed bottom cuff

frayed bottom cuff

When the cuffs started to fray a bit I told myself it added character and when a small hole appeared on the front I thought ” oh well it’s still warm”. But when that small hole developed into a large gap and people put their fingers in and made snide comments I knew it was time to retire my old friend.

the big hole

The big hole, note the grease stains. I put the shirt on for these pictures and thought it’s not so bad, it’s got a few more wearings left, so it went back into the drawer awaiting a cold day when I need something cozy.

As luck would have it I found a replacement shirt, in a thrift shop, at their 50% off sale. A nice navy one, with a hood and the words Cape Cod appliqued on the front. This will be my go to shirt when I need a warm jacket and I’ll probably wear it to death too so I’d better keep an eye out for it’s replacement. The right shirt doesn’t come along every day.

the new Cape Cod shirt

the new Cape Cod shirt


3 comments on “Death of a Sweatshirt”

  1. I loved this post so much I sent it on to my daughter to be appreciated…

    Love Ya!


    Sent from my iPad

  2. I am hoping you threw the golf ball shirt back into the pile!

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