My kids love to hear the story that I tell about my wife and their mom Cindy. It happened while Cindy and I were still dating, but let me set the background before I start. Back then, Gabriel’s was an outlet for seconds of clothing, not the collection of stores that it is today. Many of these seconds would likely have been called thirds today. Each item of clothing had to be examined with an eagle’s eye for any flaws. Some were minute like a snag or may be like a dye problem or tear in the cloth. Zippers had to be worked up and down to be sure they functioned properly. There were a number of ways that the item would end up on the shelves or racks of the Gabriel’s store.
This incident occurred one summer afternoon between the time that Gabriel’s store only was two houses in Uniontown, Pennsylvania connected by a covered passageway and a time when they first expanded to be Gabriel Brothers’ chain. Cindy and I had been dating for probably a year and we were sitting on a porch swing at her home at Camp Christian in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. I noticed something and said, “Did you get that blouse at Gabe’s?”
She asked, “Why?”
“The sleeves don’t match.”
She started to look over the blouse trying to see what I’d seen. “The patterns are similar, but different.” I said.
The shape of the designs was about the size of a silver dollar. They had the same colors, in the same spots, and nearly the same pattern. The pale greens, lavenders, corals, and sandy yellows all had the same placement, but one sleeve matched the rest of the blouse with seashells, fish, a sea horse, a sand dollar, and seaweed while the nonconformist sleeve had dragon flies, butterflies, flowers, and grass.
Now let me say that the blouse had been worn for quite some time and no one else noticed. She may have worn it before when we were together, if she had, I didn’t notice the difference until that afternoon. I will finish the story by saying I never saw her wear that blouse again.