In search of my "Rosebud."
September 21, 2021 1:51 PM   Subscribe

Wanted: vintage yellow children's raincoat, green frog on back making a joke/pun. Difficulty: from circa 1980

Help me find one? Give me additional ideas of where or how to look?

During a spring rain in 1981, I wore my favorite raincoat to school: a yellow slicker with a frog making a joke on the back. It was slick, new, and funny to me.

And then it was stolen.

The door to our kindergarten classroom opened directly to the out of doors. On this Friday afternoon, a girl, I'll call her "Laurel," took my raincoat from the rank of coat hooks and vanished out the door into a waiting car before I could react. It must have been a 3 day weekend or Easter break, because by the time I could properly confront, "Laurel," she played dumb. As a kindergartener, it seemed far too late to "press charges" or to crack "Laurel's" stonewalling and denial. Why I was not more aggressive? Did I tell my teacher? Why didn't my teacher or parents do more? I don't know. Unanswerable questions, lost in the depths of time.

(Yes, I did hunt "Laurel" down on FB and sent as friendly and not-insane message as I could given the fact I was asking if a coat from 40 years ago still exists. I wrote twice: she did not ever respond.)

It was a standard, yellow raincoat with a hood. It came to mid-thigh-ish, so not a long coat. As I remember it, the frog was green, with a red mouth or tongue. The frog sat on a lily-pad with an arc of words in black over him.

The jacket was probably from Sears or JCPenney, but possibly K-Mart, Belk's or similarly basic clothes/department store from the Southeastern US. It was likely purchased between 1979-1981. It's possible the frog joke/pun was visual, but I am fairly certain there were words either making a pun or making light of splashing in puddles.

My Google and Ebay searches have proven fruitless. I would accept a reproduction should such a thing exist. Heck, even a picture of what I remember would be pleasing at this point.
posted by MasonDixon to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Oh man I want you to find this so bad - I love when people are able to find something like this that they'v been hunting for their whole life. I did the same thing with a childhood toy (I wanted to get one for my daughter) and it was so satisfying to finally find it.

I also tried the google and the ebay and didn't find anything, but I had another idea. Most (if not all) catalogs from that era are digitized. If you have the idle time and desire, you could probably flip through the Sears and JCPenney catalogs of that time span and see if it turns up. This doesn't help if it came through a brick and mortar retailer, but as you aren't sure it may be worth a try.

I really, really hope you find this!
posted by _DB_ at 2:41 PM on September 21, 2021 [11 favorites]

Vintage catalogs here - I've flipped through a few Sears ones without success. Any chance you have a picture of lil' MasonDixon in the coat?
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:47 PM on September 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd recommend doing a saved search on ebay. That way, they'll send you an email if your search terms come up in the future. I've had a few items turn up eventually - in one case after years.

I really want you to find this too!
posted by FencingGal at 5:31 PM on September 21, 2021

I may have had the same coat, or something similar. Was the quote "Into each life some rain must fall" ? I wish I still had it myself.
posted by travertina at 6:00 PM on September 21, 2021

Other resale sites to check: Mercari, Etsy, Poshmark. I found this on Mercari, not a frog but an animal with a pun!
posted by wsquared at 9:48 PM on September 21, 2021

Did it by any chance say “I love it when it’s wet” on the back? I found this copyright entry searching for “vinylized rayon raincoat frog” based on the material of the coat wsquared found.
posted by MadamM at 10:34 PM on September 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @ _DB_ and Iris G: Flipped through hundreds of pages. Frustrating homogeneity and repetition of photographs for years and years. And the clothes, OMG! So much denim and polyester.

@FencingGal: Yup. Probably the most efficient option.

@travertina: A plausible quote, but my memory is not that certain.

@wsquared: Some family resemblance there. Will set up notifications on these sites like Ebay-- if they support that function.

@MadamM: What a wonderfully brilliant and obscure thing to check. This quote seems tantalizingly, persuasively possible, but although I see in my mind's eye the back of the coat I can't make out the words.

I will provide an update if I find it or even a image of it.
posted by MasonDixon at 12:15 PM on September 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

Is it possible you're remembering Kermit the Frog? The Muppet Movie came out in 1979 - maybe a tie-in? Kermit does have a red mouth.
posted by La Gata at 3:18 PM on September 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

I don't know why I'm obsessed with this now, but I am.

It looks like Sears regularly had children's raincoats with cartoons printed on the back (mostly superheroes) in their Fall/Winter catalogs. Here they are for 1979, 1980, and 1981.

This one also looks like a close fit, but it's a dolphin, not a frog. I tried searching for other Jollette raincoats thinking maybe they did a frog version at some point but couldn't find anything else.

I've seen a ton of raincoats from that time period with Disney, Sesame Street, and other famous cartoon characters. La Gata's suggestion that it might have been Kermit seems plausible.

I hope you solve this mystery!
posted by a.steele at 2:20 PM on September 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Are you sure it was a green frog? JC Penney was making Sesame Street children's rainwear around that time, and one of the characters featured was Oscar The Grouch.
posted by mhoye at 3:16 PM on September 25, 2021

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