“Look at this catalogue, I had no idea this company was still in business,” remarked my Dad, sifting through his stack of mail.
“Oh my God, I love that catalogue! I read it in the bathroom, I read it in bed at night,” I replied.
My sister said she’s never seen it, but remembers it used to be a comedic story line on the Seinfeld show.
“You mean you’ve never read it?” I said incredulously, and began reading from The J. Peterman Company, Owners Manual No. 166, Merry Christmas 2018, the Answered Prayers Dress on page 9:
You’re sure you’ve seen this dress before. At the 1939 Oscars.
On Eleanor Lambert’s highly coveted best dressed list.
Maybe it was typed onto the pages of a roman à clef, along with the other swans, stuffed into a bookshelf on the 22nd floor of the U.N. Plaza. Capote’s revenge, as it were.
Or perhaps this scintillating sheath was seen in a vision—something invitation only, something you wanted them to remember you by, something he’d never forget.
Regardless, we saw it too.
I looked up and smiled. “Every single garment in the catalogue has a story. I love reading it because I appreciate the literary fiction. It gives me joy! Wow, I’m going to write a blog about it!”
When my kids were little, we had this wonderful older woman named Maria, of blessed memory, who lived with us. She used to call catalogues “wish books” because she would say, “I wish I had that, I wish I had this…”
We used to share them, folding down the corners of pages where there was something we loved, then eventually tossing the catalogues in the recycling bin without ever ordering anything. Just engaging in the activity was fun, and sharing the activity, connecting with each other while swooning over shoes and dresses was the best.
May your mail bring you joy this holiday season!
May you be safe, happy, healthy, and live with ease.