catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 19 :: 2007.10.19 — 2007.11.02


Dressed up memories

For the past 11 years, I have carried one piece of clothing with me everywhere I go, every day.  After my best friend died in the summer of 1996, a mutual friend of ours cut a square out of a shirt that Jeff gave her.  I laminated it and carry it in my wallet.  Admittedly and regretfully, I don't think of Jeff every day, but that little piece of fabric reminds me of Jeff whenever I open my wallet.

Chris Nonhof


The tieI still can’t decide which is worse. Or if it matters. Is it possible to fall so far that the particulars of your crime, fashion or otherwise, don’t particularly matter? Take your pick: In 8th grade, I wore, to school, spandex biking shorts on a Monday and, on Tuesday, a fish tie with clown suspenders. Tight, stretchy, revealing shorts. Multi-colored, polka-dot suspenders with a tie shaped and airbrushed to look like a fish hanging from my neck. “Beat me up,” they screamed. “Mock me,” they said. “I’m different, I’m special,” they whispered. “Will anyone love me,” they prayed.

Jeremy Huggins


My husband and I were traveling light to an All Saints Day wedding, complete with a costume rehearsal dinner. The groom announced he was renting an Elvis costume, so I knew our costumes needed to be GOOD. But a complication: I was also seven months pregnant, and I hadn't seen folks for ten years, and I didn't really want to only talk babies for the whole evening. So we bummed a ride from our hosts to Home Depot, bought a small quantity of chicken-wire fencing and several boxes of heavy duty foil from the grocery next door—my husband and I crafted neck-to-knees Hershey Kisses costumes, with cone-shaped foil hats and strips of paper from the top. We were the hit! And I got to talk about things Other Than Pregnancy for a few hours before my costume needed a break. I was sad there was no room to take our costumes home on the plane!  I think fondly of those Kisses every Halloween.

Denise Frame Harlan


I have always thought that men's blazers and overcoats are so much more practical and comfortable than women's blazers and overcoats as men's garments are cut looser and allow for layering without feeling constricted.  My father-in-law was a dapper dresser (ably assisted by my mother-in-law's discriminating taste).  Prior to moving them closer to our family, a yard sale was held where my father-in-law was selling his full cut grey wool overcoat.  I snatched it up and it became my winter coat which I could wear over any of my clothes and still move freely.  The following summer my father-in-law died and left a hole in our family.  What a comfort it was when the winter winds blew that I had his warm coat to wear.  I felt as if his arms were embracing me as I went out into the world.  Last winter I noticed that a dear female friend whose father had recently died had on what looked liked a really comfy winter coat and I commented on it.  She looked at me and said, "It was my dad's."  We smiled with recognition of the warmth of familial love and at how an old man's overcoat could convey this in the midst of the darkness of winter.

Margaret Deames 


SocksIn one of J. K. Rowling’s wonderful novels the inestimable Dumbledore was asked what he would like for Christmas. Warm socks, he replied. One can never have too many warm socks. Made for space and time, geography shapes the contours of our lives. Though the cold of our Minnesota winter is quite different from Great Britain’s damp chill, I know what Dumbledore means. As I work from home, slippers have become to me far more than casual wear. I seldom shop and dislike it, unless on the Internet, but each autumn I make my way from store to store in search of the slippers I will wear almost nonstop for the next seven months. They must be comfortable, have soles for quick runs outside to the garage and trash can, and be lined, since my feet get cold easily. I am happier wearing them, and do better work. I doubt I could be fully content in any geography that made warm slippers obsolete. Growing up I seldom felt fully secure at home, but in marriage my best friend and I have found rootedness in where we live. Home is not just what’s inside our house, but is part of a larger place, the northern plains. The wide stretches of open farmland allow grand blizzards room to sweep through, and the clear bright cold that follows them can be blistering. Being inside, warm with the woman who inexplicably loves me is what I associate with the word, “secure.” As the trees outside my office window turn yellow and fall, I am stunned by the grace which grants me this gift, so rare in a world of displaced peoples and frantic mobility. I easily forget to be grateful, but each morning as I put on my slippers I know the meaning of grace.

Denis Haack


The faint pencil in my grandmother’s hand on the brown box gave direction to the bits of lace contained inside.  White collars, yellowed gloves, a petticoat’s hem with pink rosettes.  Surely they were not from her generation.  She sported a Red Cross gray lady’s uniform with brass buttons and leather belt. Yet still the directive: “to be displayed.”  This did not happen in her lifetime, but I have begun festooning with these treasures.  A paper-thin silk hankie lies under a glass round on a side table.  Above it a white wicker lamp boasts the petticoat’s hem as a shade.  The utility of these objects has been lost as culture lost their convention. The relationship that created their desire for preservation endures.

Ellyn Wilkoff

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