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It would be nice to have my sweater back.
April 25, 2012 7:15 AM   Subscribe

How do (or should I) ask for an item of clothing back that was a childhood gift to me and has been out on extended loan?

So, some decades years ago when I was a wee tot, my lovely Irish aunt knit me an Aran sweater (visible on young me in my profile photo). I wore it for a couple of years as a kid and when I grew out of it, it went into storage. It came out a couple of years after that and was worn by a succession of younger cousins, always returning. At an estimate, close to a dozen kids in my extended family have been wearers at some point.

A few years back, my mother passed it to a friend of hers whose grandson was about the right age for it; it has now passed on to said grandson's younger brother.

The thing was made remarkably well, and despite having been knit over forty years ago it still is in great shape. These days I have a few youngsters around (a godson, one or two nephews) who would be the right caliber for it, and it was, after all, a gift to me. Is there a diplomatic way to let the parents of the current wearer -- a young couple I have met maybe twice -- know that I would appreciate having it back? They might not even know that it holds any meaning for anyone else, let alone that the original wearer might have some use for it; for that matter, they might know it was mine.
posted by ricochet biscuit to Human Relations (8 answers total)
 
Since it was your mother that made that handing-on last time, could you perhaps enlist her to help? It sounds like she went ahead and made the handoff to the friend, so she was the person who passed it outside the family. Sounds like maybe she could help get it back.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:19 AM on April 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


Can your Mom step in here? Moms are good at this sort of thing. It might be wierd for someone who was not the gifter to ask for the thing back, but since she was the one who passed on the sweater, she would be the best one to ask for it back.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:20 AM on April 25, 2012


Like the Empress said.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:20 AM on April 25, 2012


"Hey there. You know the sweater...? It may not have been communicated to you that I consider that an heirloom. Is there any chance I could get it back?"
posted by notsnot at 7:21 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Nancy, Steve, about the sweater that my mom gave you a while ago and that little Steve was wearing; before you put all the winter clothes away for summer, could I have it back please? My beloved grandmother made it for me when I was little and I'd like to have it around/pass it on to my godson. Thanks a bunch!"
posted by travelwithcats at 7:57 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


They most likely don't even know how you feel about this sweater or that it is important to you. It's just some crazy well made seventies sweater to them. Just ask. I don't think they will mind. People with little kids get tons of clothes so they might not even keep track what came where from. Save it before it's given away somewhere. sorry for double comment
posted by travelwithcats at 8:02 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been through this not with clothing, out other things. Books, instruments, furniture. Things that were given to me by their respective owners

Sitch?

Went in the service, and sibling decided to just come up to the paren't house, go through my things and figure "Oh he isn't going to need that anymore."

Decades later I either asked for, or just outright took them back with no regret at all, logic being that I never actually gave it to them, and in the end?

"Right now? This is just your stuff, but it is my childhood memory."

Don't be shy. Consider it an inverted Mastercard commercial.

Don't go home without it.
posted by timsteil at 8:21 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another way to fame this: "Hey, is Jimmy going to get another winter's wear out of that Aran sweater, or has he outgrown it? My godson is will be big enough to wear it next winter, and I'd love to pass it on to him."
posted by BrashTech at 8:39 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


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