Conversations between one of Everett’s most well known and best liked pieces of clothing – the Blue Suit – and the Everett Lead- er Herald’s Josh Resnek. These two have been through a lot in the past 6 years. They’ve had highs and lows, great days and not so great days, days of soaring hope and triumph and days of unimaginable despair. Through it all, they’ve remained good friends and eating buddies, folks who live for politics and all the frenetic activity the city has to offer. On Tuesday afternoon, the Blue Suit and Josh travelled around the city. Ind of checking out the sights, so to speak. They drove up and down the length of Broadway, from the casino to the Malden line. The drove the length of Chelsea Street and Elm Street. They rode up to the top of the hill. They stood side by side in the hospital’s parking lot staring out at the Boston sky- line. It’s amazing, or maybe it isn’t so amazing how invigorating it is to one’s existence to stand at the top that hill in Everett and feel like you’re at the top of the world. Boston seems so close but in reality is a world away.
“Can you imagine. I was born right here inside that main hospital building,” I said to the Blue Suit. “My father and mother told me I was born during a snow storm when it was called the Whidden Hospital. My mother gave birth without my father there. Those were the days before men sat by the side of their wives inside delivery rooms while they were in labor,” I added.
“Would your mother have wanted your father in the delivery room?” the Blue Suit asked.
“Not in a thousand years. It would have embarrassed her,” I answered the Blue Suit.
That made me think about my mother. Her birthday is coming up. She was born June 10, 1921. She died in 2018. She hasn’t been gone that long. I am prone to looking at photographs of my mother in my study when I write – and thinking back to when I had her. My mother not being here remains a big empty hole in my life. She was my pal. My friend. My greatest supporter. My harshest critic. Above all, she loved me and I returned that love.
When Mother’s Day came and went recently, I thought about her a lot. She was such a positive presence. Her life with my father was a triumph over the poverty she grew up in. I knew her well but there were things about her life she never spoke of.
My mother never spoke about her mother or her childhood. These were her best kept secrets that no one needed to know. I have found out things about mother – who died when she was 20 – and about her childhood – which was marked by leaving high school to go to work to support her struggling family. In fact, my mother’s three sisters, all dead now, left high school to work to support the family. They never had the chance or the opportunity to be kids, to have fun, to be carefree and to do as they liked.
It’s hard for me to think about this even now when my mother has been gone for 7 years.
The Blue Suit listened intently as I spoke.
“What about your mother?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“Who was she? What was she about? Did you have a good relationship with her?” I asked.
The Blue Suit cleared his throat.
“Well, Josh, let me tell you this about my mother. She was as fine a piece of tailored women’s clothing that could be bought – and not off the rack. As you know, as I’ve told you, my late father was a Hickey Freeman suit. My mother was all Pappa Gallo fabric, fine stitching and tailoring like you can’t believe. My mother looked incredible…not like me, a beaten down off the rack son who is wrinkled and sometimes torn with buttons loose and ready to fall off,” the Blue Suit said.
“Don’t get down on yourself. Everyone can’t be from a classy background,” I told him.
“Thanks, Josh. I’m glad you understand.”
“My mother was the class of the act – and she didn’t just look exquisite in Pappa Gallo dresses. She wore the finest leather Pappa Gallo shoes. And she was always stylish with a Fendi handbag, Tiffany’s jewelry and a major diamond pendant that came from Shreve Crump and Low in Boston when it still mattered,” he added.
“Compare that to me,” he said feeling a bit down about it. “Look at me.”
I looked the Blue Suit over from head to toe.
He was wearing used Cole Hahn dark brown leather loafers he bought on the Internet. He was a bit disheveled, but then, the Blue Suit always looks a bit worn and tired. After all, how could he look any other way after being worn so many times and then thrown into the closet sometimes without being hung on a hanger.
“If I had it to do again, Josh, I wouldn’t be a Blue Suit,” he said to me.
“What would you be?” I asked.
“I’d be a tan, hand made linen suit with nice leather shoes, a square fabric knotted cloth tie and a white shirt – not a button down like you wear,” he answered.
“Truth be known, I was freaked out when I was bought off the rack and brought to Everett to begin my life here. Why couldn’t I have been taken to Beverly Hills, or to Santa Fe, or to New York City? Why did I have to end up in Everett?” he asked.
“Why. What’s wrong with being here?” I asked.
“It has been a hard decade for me, Josh. Don’t ever forget that. I can’t get out if I wanted to – and frankly, I’d like to move elsewhere. I’m getting to the end of the line with Everett. It’s just costing me my sanity, my health and the well being of my fabric,” he said.
“I didn’t know you felt that way. I thought you enjoyed yourself and the celebrity status you have acquired,” I said to him.
“Yeah, I like the celebrity status, you know, everyone knowing me, approaching me, asking for autographs and posing for pictures with me. But when everything is added up, I feel kind of empty, needy if you will. I’d really like to fall in love,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“How do you plan to do that?” I asked.
“How else?” he replied.
“I need to be taken to a good tailor working on better quality female suits or dresses and I’ll be all set,” he said to me. “It’s as easy as that?” I asked.
“It’s easier than Tinder, Josh.”