Over the years, I have always returned from a weekend away at a model competition with a bunch of souvenirs, usually T-shirts or one-ounce bottles of hotel shampoo – sometimes both. Naturally, this is in addition to the scores of kits that normally accompany me on the trip home. On the odd occasion, I find a hotel towel in my luggage. I don’t have the foggiest notion how that got there – I think that it was trying to escape from captivity. All these things eventually become …

Recollections of the Past

There’s a story of a modeller from Cape Town who would take a towel from one hotel, leave it at the next hotel and then take a clean one. So he never stole a towel, he just recycled them. So if you ever stay at a City Lodge stocked with a Protea Hotels towels, you know that Modeller X has been there before you!

Whenever I go on a modeling weekend, I always leave home with only one T-shirt. Mrs Grumpy looks at my luggage … 3 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of Jockeys and one T-shirt … and she thinks I’m nuts, “After three days in one T-shirt, no one will want to ride in the same car as you!”  Then I always have to point out to her, “We are going to a model show – in a muscle car museum – that has a souvenir shop – right next to a mall. I’d be crazy to take more than one T-shirt!!!

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You know what it is like. You have not even unpacked your models when you walk past the souvenir table, “Jeez, what have we here? This is niiiiice! Be still my heart. Now where’s my wallet?

My big problem, naturally, is that the damn things multiply like rabbits. By weekday I’m a desk-jockey so I only get to wear T-shirts over weekends. Over the years, the attrition rate has stabilized at about one worn out for every five acquired. Perhaps I should have sought gainful employment in a more hazardous profession, such as filling car batteries with acid, or overhead welding or something. But I didn’t, so now I have umpteen cupboards filled with T-shirts!

Every summer I vow to wear each shirt at least once, to determine which are still wearable and which have been rendered obsolete by my abominable taste and ever-expanding girth. But as every collector knows, the longer you keep something, the harder it is to discard. Therefore, you will not be surprised to learn that my goal has not been met.

So last weekend, Mrs Grumpy casually asks, “What are you doing on Sunday?” Before I can think up some fictitious activity, she replies to her own question, “Good, why don’t you sort out your T-shirts?

Diligently I gathered my collection from the various locations around the house and dumped them on the bedroom floor. Each shirt was unfolded, examined, refolded and sorted into its appropriate pile. As I inspected each shirt, the memories float back … braving sub-zero temperatures to go to the Inter-Club Competition … that cool group of friends that went to the first Jo-Town bash … I can still smell the sea in this one from the Port Elizabeth I.P.M.S. Nationals … my first ever S.A.N.N.L. “Get rid of that one – it still has the chilli stain from Cantina Tequila.”  “Are you craaaazy? I drove 1000 kays each way, while my pal told off-colour jokes non-stop. I earned this shirt!

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Clearly, these aren’t just articles of clothing. They are like photographs … recollections that are an indelible part of my past. Even faded T-shirts keep memories sharp!

Hours later, as the last few shirts are processed and I look forward to an evening of modelling , I hear Mrs Grumpy, “Great, now you can start on your caps!

Until next time …

Wear those T-shirts!

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