Tchotchkes, tradition and a super ugly T

Several years ago my sister Kathy called me from State Street in Madison.

“There’s a shirt here with Dad’s face on it,” she said. “It’s a little pricey, but do you want me to buy you one?”

Intrigued, I blindly gave her the okay.

That night I ran into a friend of mine.

“Oh my God,” he said. “I was just in Madison and I saw your Dad’s picture on the ugliest T-shirt I’ve ever seen.”

The poor shirt did turn out to be graphically challenged, but my cost-per-wear factor on that baby is down to pennies. There’s a certain Lambeau appropriate charm in its garish design and genuine good luck woven though its seams. I’ve worn that shirt to three Packer Super Bowls (and refuse to blame it for the one we should have won.)

The shirt has survived countless washings, 15 play-off runs (some longer than others) and three household moves. While it is one of my favorite pieces of oddball Packer paraphernalia, it is not the only one.

We have a scary ceramic piece painted by my maternal grandfather’s companion. Well into her 80’s, Ted said she liked to pop into the nursing home near her house to “cheer up the old people.” She led a weekly ceramics painting class and gave us some very nice pieces, including a dramatic depiction of a fierce Packer (No. 77, naturally) tackling a hapless Viking. It sits in our family room next to a cherubic Packer painted by our childhood babysitter, Esther Lavassor.

We also have a collection of Packer glassware spanning the years from 1967 to today and a bin full of Packer baseball hats, towels, pom pons and foam fingers.

With an eye on the first pre-season game this week, I spent some time yesterday dusting off the tchotchkes and airing out the lucky shirt.

Are you ready for some football? We are.

The shirt fared well in Dallas. My sister Kathy is to my left. We try not to wear our shirts at the same time and I dibs the Super Bowls.
The sleeve lists the starting defense for the 1966 team.
A big ole team picture takes up most of the shirt’s back.
This is one of my favorite Packer hats. “In it to win it” We were and we did. Super Bowl XXXI.
A sweet lady painted this frightening little statue.
A cute contrast, painted by another sweet lady.
Such an odd ice bucket, circa 1967.
Our glasses span the decades. The best one is the yellow glass, signed by all members of the 1964 team.

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