Thursday, September 9, 2010

Field Jacket M65

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My M65 field jacket started its third life in 1980 when Gonzalo came to the airport to se me off. He took off his olive green jacket and told me it was mine. Never washed it to preserve Gonzalo's inscription under the lining. It was to be read only after I was gone. And gone I was.

It is not exactly my size, and it has the Army surplus patina, yet I resisted my family's attempts to purge the field jacket from my wardrobe. In it I look like a homeless person to my wife. Vietnam vet reintegration kind of homelessness, reason enough to defy the stigma and wear it. Wear it I did.

I picked up Gabriel once after a party at a fancy Palo Alto hotel. The hosts came out to size up the odd green M65 silhouette roaming outside the ball room...

And wear it Gonzalo did, for he is not a slave to fashion either.

With our house full of friends, stories, and a round bread denoting the full circle of a new year, we learn that Luis had been a student of Gonzalo's father, Guaymiran, well esteemed Forensic Medicine Professor. Luis now invents molecules, compounds or something like that here in the US, but is not known for inventing stories.

Upon Luis trip to the states in the late 70's, the good professor asked him to bring something, one of those American military jackets Gonzalo always wanted. An XL if possible, Gonzalo already had a large frame. As Luis narrates his purchase of a military jacket in Utah, I walk to the closet and pull my M65 field jacket, the olive green looks familiar to Luis. Yet only when I ask him to remove the lining and read Gonzalo's inscription our full circle closes. That very jacket just trumped anything a round bread can evoke.

Of the jacket's original owner all I have is that red paint inscription. A tall order to go close that circle, but if I keep wearing it who knows...