Dad’s Ties

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My father loved neckties.

When he died suddenly two years ago this week, he left several racks of elegant ties in his closet.

“Take some,” my mom said to family members who visited the apartment.

And we did. But when my turn came, the pickings were somewhat slim. (Which was fine with me. I was touched that so many young people wanted  Dad’s ties.)

Dad was not known for careful eating. The ties I brought home featured large blobs of who knows what.

I let the ties sit in my own closet for two years. Time, a few weeks ago, to decide what to do with them. I brought them out and pondered.

My son-in-law- to-be, Matt, surprised me by wearing one of Dad’s ties  on Easter. My cousin Jon sported one to my niece’s wedding in June.

Dad’s ties are alive in the world!  The stained, unwearable numbers I inherited could go.

I kissed the kangaroo tie and the tie with tiny dogs goodbye and put them in the outside garbage can. Seeing them in the indoor garbage for a few days would make me too sad.

Then I went for a walk.

Halfway through that walk, I changed my mind.

I came home, opened the garbage can lid, dug deep inside, and fished them out.

I’ve heard some amazing dry cleaning stories. Worth a try.

Thanks, cleaners! You are miracle workers.  The ties look as good as new.

And this fall, I just might turn myself into an older Annie Hall.

30 responses »

  1. Good looking ties! I had to magnify the yellow one many times in order to see the dogs but, right you are, they are indeed dogs! Very fitting since I know he loved his dogs. (Not too sure about roos) I think you should hand one down to “Baker” Younger-Monson when he’s old enough to ask about his great-gramps.

  2. Such a sweet post Barbara! I am glad you went back to the garbage can. I agree with Lisa that perhaps you could make a pillow, or something,or get one of our crafty friends to make one for you.

  3. Hooray for recycled ties! Very sweet Barbara, and I saw a valance made of old ties on Pinterest :-) Also have seen them opened up and woven into a quilt. Although Annie Hall was something of a touchstone for our generation.

    • Remember when the movie first came out? I need to watch it again. I don’t even really remember what it was about.

  4. I’m glad you went back to the garbage too. A very sweet little lady from our church gave us a pillow years ago that she had made with men’s ties. We still have it – a little worse for the wear with two kitties in the family, but still a nice reminder of Mrs. Belote. I imagine if the ties were ones you recognize from your father, the pillow would be even more special.
    Seeing another generation sporting them to various events must be pretty nice too. My father wore bow ties and not many of the young folks go for those, although I do have one nephew who wears some of Daddy’s ties. We lost our fathers the same year.

    • Yes, 2010. Seems long a long time and seems like yesterday. My son-in-law to be loves bow ties and I think the groomsmen are wearing them for the wedding!

  5. (Oops, clicked Post Comment button before typing comment. Twice?)

    Hi, Anni… I mean Barb. Very nice post about your Dad, giving away things, and keeping what’s important. Reminds me…

    My dad was also “not known for careful eating.” I recall a dinner at at nice restaurant, all of us dressed up. Dad was wearing one of those really wide, bright-colored, patterned ties of the 70′s, commenting on how good the creamed spinach was. I looked at him and there was a big glob of creamed spinach on his tie. We all laughed, including Dad, who knew how to laugh at himself. Then during dessert, Dad had something with whipped cream. Mom was saying something, looked at Dad, said, gigling, “Don…” and had to stop so she wouldn’t spit out the bite she’d just taken. There was a very large blob of whipped cream on Dad’s tie, right where the spinach had been. We all needed a recess before resuming dessert.

    Thanks for ticking the memory.

  6. “La di da, la di da” isn’t that what Annie Hall would say? Very nice story! Glad you dug in the trash, aren’t you??
    I have a similar story. My boss of 21 years was an avid tie collector. His ties were mementos from his lecture trips to Europe so these ties were wonderfully unique. The only problem was that he would wear only blue shirts and black pants and not all ties matched that combination very well. He didn’t care.
    When he passed away, his ties were given to any student, colleague, or friend who might want them. My husband still wears his ties from time to time. A very nice way to remember him

    • Gosh I need to watch Annie again! I don’t remember.

      Fun about the boss. I guess the blue shirts simplified his life. I get a kick out of men’s matching–they can get by with more just “Does this tie go well enough with this shirt?” The colors don’t have to be so perfectly coordinated like women.

  7. I gasped when I read you threw them out, then was so relieved when you got them back out of the garbage. I cherish many of the silliest ‘heirlooms’ from my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. To me, if you CAN keep it, keep it. You’ll never regret keeping it, but you may remember with sadness that moment you threw it away. Of course, that means clutter, but really…. I now gladly throw out something new to make room for the old. I’m happy you kept the ties and shared them with us here. Very sweet.

    • Oh I save lots of stuff, but these were just so yucky-looking with the big splotches! Much better now. Yes, I agree with you about the keeping. My rule is you can often decide NOT to keep things later, but you can’t get them back.

    • I sure hope they’re still wearing ties in fifteen years. I love men in ties! Cliff always gets attention at church if he wears a fun one. Must not be worth it to him though because it’s like pulling teeth to get him to buy a new tie.

  8. If there was a like button I would press it. Such a sweet post. I think you would look cute in the ties. Glad you retrieved them.

  9. thanks for sharing this sweet story – i am glad you fished the ties back out – they don’t take up much space – keep them and retell your story from time to time.

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