It’s no longer any ordinary jacket, the one that I’m wearing.

That piece of clothing gives such warmth that I believe some of that warmth has to do with the fact that another body wore it before passing it on to me.

For the past three years my waterproof jacket, which did not generate as much warmth, was also a hand-me-down. I should say a hand-me-over because there was no sense of the recipient being down, lower than the giver! A couple months ago, I realised that it had done its service and I rated it KAPOT! I felt no guilt about throwing it away. I must tell you, I’m not in the habit of throwing useful things away. I really believe that my black winter waterproof had served its purpose, so I pulled out what is now my favourite outdoor cover for ordinary walks, when I don’t have to dress up.

But there was a problem that I hadn’t even seen before its first wear – a golden stain about an inch and a half in diameter.

Now I move among Caribbean people who cannot miss something like that:

  • “Rev, you have a stain in your back.”
  • “Oh boy, Rev, you need a new jacket.”

So, the next time I put it on, I was careful to tell my companion, “My jacket is stained in the back and I know it.” The response was, “Oh I wouldn’t say that. If anyone mentioned it, I’d simply asked surprised and say “Oh no!”

Well I had no intention of putting on that surprise line every time I wore my jacket. And I had no intention of throwing it away either, because nothing has ever felt so cosy on my back! It’s really cure for the cold! Weather that is!

So here is what I did. I went to Zenos and got 4 tubes of acrylic fabric paint that cost less than four euros in total. This amateur pulled out her paintbrushes and did some design inspired by the dry leaves that keep falling all the while. It’s autumn. Of course, the first paint I picked up in the store was the exact colour of my jacket stain, just that it had some sheen. I did something that I know, from being around my sister, a professional dress designer, carries up the value of clothing. All the while I was hoping and praying that I didn’t make a bigger stain that what was there initially.

Well, I went to the doctor’s office today. I hung my coat on the kapstok. (Don’t try figuring it out- that’s a Dutch word!). The medic who attended to me looked up and saw my jacket , “Heel mooie jas,”she exclaimed. Yes. You got it! “What a beautiful jacket!”

That was so good for my ego. I told her the story of my stained jacket. That was even better for my ego. I was well pumped up to go to the city centre to get my glasses tightened. (BTW, I’m trying to make these last a little longer too !)

Why do we throw away things so easily? Recycle. Upcycle. The money you save might feed a starving family.