Each of us owns some “things” that we wouldn’t give up for anything in the world. Those are collections that live through the heart and memories.
As a child, I often spent my mornings with my grandmother; in those moments, the indelible memory is the routine, which as a child you would call boredom.
It’s 11:00, the moment when my grandmother moved to the dining room and kitchen after tidying up the house, starting to prepare lunch. This second half of the morning was marked by the background of morning television programs. One of them was “Forum.”
I still remember, even after a few decades, that episode where a boy invited a girl to his house after a date to show her his “butterfly collection.”
The girl accepted, but the surprise that led her to appear before Judge Santilicheri on “Forum” was that there was no hidden agenda behind that invitation; the collection really existed, and the girl accidentally knocked over one of the frames with a butterfly inside, breaking it.
At the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, the collections that were trendy were so boring for a child; we’re talking about Butterflies, Stamps, and Coins. Nothing so appealing.
I tried for a few years with coins; I still remember the green album given to me by my parents with the commemorative coin from the Barcelona ’92 Olympics and a Ruble, but it didn’t last long. I was too small, and everything was too slow. I needed something more dynamic.
Indeed, collections become beautiful when they are well-established and start to have a visual impact. During those years, I remember only my brother’s collection of Dylan Dog comics in my room or Tex Willer’s collection at Carlino’s shop, my barber, on Corso Montebello.
I’ve never been “attached” to objects; at home, I was the one who threw things away as soon as they stopped working without thinking or suffering. Objects were and are just things to me, but memories, on the other hand, are entirely different.
Four moves, five lived-in houses, and four others that still hold my clothes. Throughout all these years, every time a friend, girlfriend, or family member saw my closets, they always asked the same question:
“How many T-shirts do you have?”
Every time, my answer has always been the same:
“Think that this is just a part; in total, there will be more than a thousand.”
It would have been cooler to define myself as a “T-shirt collector,” but the reality is different; for me, they are just memories. Cotton T-shirts are just a way to keep them there and savor them every time I open a drawer.
No matter how ruined, small, dirty, or inadequate they are, some are made just to stay there and not to be worn.
Only rule: They are never thrown away!
My first sentiment linked to a shirt dates back to the early 90s; I find myself with my cousins on the Momperone football field; we’re there playing soccer all afternoon, as happens almost every summer day. I remember the heat of that day and the wet shirt stuck to the skin; that mix of sweat and water from the fountain makes the fabric very fragile, considering we’re talking about a dark blue shirt with orange writing from my dad, with more than twenty years behind it.
After a goal, I decide to celebrate by trying to tear it on my chest, and to my surprise, the shirt easily “opens.”
Back home, I remember my father saying, “Too bad, it was a shirt I received at a basketball clinic many years ago.”
At that moment, I understand that that piece of cotton can carry many more memories than one can imagine, and it’s not just an object.
Today, in my wardrobe, every T-shirt carries its piece of history, but especially the two in the cover of this article are among those to which I am particularly attached.
The cotton of both is so thin that they have almost become transparent; now, I only use them at home and with care because I would like them to last for many more decades with me.
The first, the gray one, has been with me since 1998. It reminds me of one of the most rewarding years of my life. The first year of high school, the year that saw me for the first time called up to the bench with the first team of Derthona Basket, but above all, it led me to be one of the 12 boys born in 1983 representing the Piemonte and Valle D’Aosta region in the “Allievi” category at the 1998 Regions Trophy held in Cervia.
That gray and somewhat anonymous T-shirt was our warm-up jersey that covered our Black and Yellow uniforms.
I still remember our complaints once we received it. It was simply ugly and plain. I still remember all of us saying to the coach:
“But couldn’t they make them like the ones the others have?”
In that game, we were playing against the Emilia Romagna region, which had a super cool and oversized warm-up jersey in NBA style.
Max, the coach’s response, was legendary:
“Guys, don’t think about the warm-up jersey, think if they had made your uniform like theirs.”Max Raseni
In fact, Emilia Romagna played with a straw-yellow uniform much closer to the flesh color and with a tight and short style very reminiscent of the 70s.
At that moment, we immediately understood that, in the end, it hadn’t gone so bad.
On the other hand, the second shirt is olive green with the words “suspended in the green” and was purchased in July 2008 at the Adventure Park in Veglio (BI).
I spent that summer working as an educator with Villa and Alessandra in the summer camp of the Municipality of Tortona. I still thank Silvana (those from Tortona know who I’m talking about) every time I think about it for giving me that opportunity. Only positive memories are linked not only to all those days spent in the pool or on some trips but also to the relationship we managed to build with those kids.
Out of 24 kids in the group, at least ten were part of the U13 team that I coached at Derthona Basket. It was a way not to get lost in a summer break but to stay in touch, a contact that still lasts today, 15 years later.
Now it’s time to close, also because I could continue to share anecdotes and memories about these two T-shirts and many others. Still, if you want to know more about my collection, I might invite you and say:
“Do you want to come up and see my collection of memories?”