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Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui

08055, Medford — T-Shirtapalooza

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All Cherry Hill Band 1989

I’m here to clean out my old room.* I know I’ve been a packrat, so I’ve been looking forward to seeing what I’d squirreled away over the years. Today, the first day, I worked on the t-shirts. It’s amazing how quickly you remember exactly what you were doing when you wore these silkscreened pieces of cotton.

I mean, who can forget being a flutist in the 1989 incarnation of the All Cherry Hill Band in middle school (even if my name was spelled wrong)? (If you can’t remember if you were in this band, here’s a handy close-up.)

The fine members of the band

And then, of course, there was CTY — when I learned there were hundreds of nerds like me. I apparently even drew the t-shirt for our fiction-writing class in 1993. I can’t summon up any memory of the inside jokes on the back. The underwear organizer? The chair saying, “Hey man! Sit on my face!”?!

CTY shirts

And then there was the jersey from “Powder Puff” rough-touch football when the junior girls played the senior girls. I played defensive end. But then as both Kiran and I were going for the quarterback and I lifted one of my arms to block the ball, I hit my elbow into her forehead and split the skin. Oops. At least we won.

Powder Puff Football

I also found a t-shirt from camp where I learned how to ride a horse, kill mosquitoes with my bare hands and tread water in a lake in the pine barrens. Here’s where I learned ridiculous songs that started like, “Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts …” It was only in retrospect later that I realized we were also singing a lot of religious songs about giving “God your glory glory.”

Girl Scout Camp

And then there was this jacket, mixed in among the t-shirts: the lacrosse jacket with the waterproof butt flap so you could sit on damp grass and stretch without getting dirty. I think I’ve kept it in part because I somehow think I’ll get back into organized sports activities that actually involve stretching on a damp field.

Lacrosse jacket


I remember taking this jacket with me to college and thinking I’d wear it all the time. Only, people were apparently so afraid of being associated with being fresh out of high school that no one wore their high school stuff. So this went back into the closet with the t-shirts.

Somehow it feels as if taking pictures of all these t-shirts lets me save something of the emotion behind them and put them in a plastic bag to give away to Goodwill. So long, shirts. May you find someone good in Bangkok to create some new memories with them.**


*While I technically didn’t grow up in this exact room, my parents moved the entire contents of my old bedroom to this house when they moved here in 2001.

**One time in Bangkok, I literally saw someone wearing a t-shirt that said CHESA (Cherry Hill East Soccer Association — the youth soccer club I played with). I guess this is where a lot of American t-shirts go to die?


Author: postmarkhere

I'm a journalist based in Los Angeles who has always said that writing postcards for a living would be a dream job. The posts -- short enough to fit on an actual postcard -- chronicle recent travels near and far. I could blab on about being inspired by epistolary novels, the short poems of Emily Dickinson, and the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" pieces, but I'll just say that I'm aiming to give you a sense of flavor of a place without boring you to death. Wish you were here!

One thought on “08055, Medford — T-Shirtapalooza

  1. I still have all those types of T-shirts too, including that powder puff one! My cuz had a great idea- she took all her old T-shirts and made it into a T-shirt quilt to preserve the memories. Maybe someday I’ll get around to it…

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