A First Army field jacket seen at Brooklyn Flea, March 2019

I hope everyone’s week was good. Blogging will continue to be light in the coming days while the semester is in full swing. There is just so much going on. Yesterday I began Eric Rauchway’s new book Winter War: Hoover, Roosevelt and the First Clash Over the New Deal, which is about the four month interregnum between the November 1932 election and March 1933 inaugural. Almost fifteen years ago now I read Rauchway’s Murdering McKinley: The Making of Theodore Roosevelt’s America for a class on the Gilded Age with David Nasaw. I’m only about fifty pages in but the tone so far is very harsh toward Hoover. I’ll come back to it with more observations when I finish the book.

I was at Brooklyn Flea across the street from the Barclays Center yesterday, where I bough a small leather wallet and a pair of cuff links. I’m transitioning to wearing suits more and am making French cuff shirts part of my arsenal. I have three suits now and intend to get a solid grey worsted or flannel number over the summer in time for the fall semester. All in due time.

When I was at the flea market yesterday I saw what I though might be a pasteover Beatles Butcher cover. I don’t own any vinyl, nor do I plan on going down that rabbit hole, but when I saw a copy of Yesterday and Today in a bin I had to stop and look. The anodyne trunk photograph was pasted on, which led me to think it might have been a second state copy. I mentioned it to the vendor, telling him what he may have on his hands, and even got him to take a picture of me with the album cover. When I got home I examined the photo while reading online about ways to tell if a record is indeed a Butcher second state. (First and third state versions are obvious.) To make a long story short it was not a Butcher cover, and the giveaway was right there even though I was unaware of it in the moment: the copy I saw had an RIAA Gold Record seal, an indicator that this was a later pressing. And that was the end of that.

I did see and photograph the First Army field jacket you see above. Even had it been in my size I would not have purchased the coat. Putting it mildly, it is bad form to wear military gear with patches if one has not served with said unit. Seeing it though was something special. I always wonder when I encounter such things in second-hand places how they got where they did. Who owned it and where & when did he serve? Two years ago I bought a heavy winter coat, made in England many decades ago, in a thrift store in Pompano Beach. It is entirely speculation on my part but I can surmise that the double-breasted, full-length coat once belonged to a retiree who brought the piece down with him from the Northeast only to bring it to Goodwill upon realizing he would never need it in sub-tropical Florida. I think of him and who he might have been every time I put it on, and try to live up to his legacy.