Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Purple Cape

 I've written about the fabulous purple cape previously. In case you don't remember, let me refresh your memories.

The purple cape came to our family in the mid-1950s. Beloved Uncle Gene gave it to us after his stint in a circus. I know nothing more about this but he came away with four silly costumes and the desire to build a Ferris wheel in a vacant lot in Middlesex, NJ. There were lots of empty spaces back then, not so  now.

Anyway, the costumes were pure circus. Some kind of flapper dress with black tassels, a green two flapped piece of material that I imagine was part of a harem girl's costume and something else I can't remember, but along with these gaudy bits, was the Purple Cape.

Let me describe it to you. It was deep purple, royal purple, about four feet in length, made of flannel. I only now realize it was flannel and not satin because I was just a kid and it was absolutely gorgeous to me.

Around the neckline was the only decoration. A band of pure gold, emerald and ruby lay around the neck. Absolutely gem quality. Beautiful. Magnificent.

Everybody wanted to wear the purple cape, even if we were just playing cowboys. Every kid on our street wanted that honor. After all, it was deep purple and encrusted with precious gems around the neck.

But at Halloween, it was most in demand. Cowboys, bums, girly girls, you name it, that purple cape went with every costume.

Chilly Halloween nights, it served as warmth and status.

Years went by. The cape was always there. Then, it disappeared. I don't know whether my younger brother every enjoyed wearing it, but by the time I was taking him out trick or treating, it was no longer used.

Oh, the delights of that regal bit of material!

I think I'm a princess just remembering it.

Many years later, as an adult, I was in our old garage, looking for fishing rods or something when I spied a crumpled bit of purple stashed in a corner. No! It couldn't be!

Alas, I recognized the bejeweled collar. Gold, emerald and ruby, still shining, while the cape had faded a dull grey.

The purple cape. 

I pulled it out of the corner, passed my hand lovingly against the stiff flannel and sighed.

Gone was the glory.

I should have cut the jewels away and kept them, but I didn't. I buried it in the garbage can and cried.

However, I do hold the glory of the Purple Cape in my heart and every year about this time, I remember it fondly, lovingly, and long for the days when it was magnificent to come back, if just for a second, to cheer my heart.

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