Saturday, January 28, 2012

Leon Leonwood Bean, You Always Did Good By Me

Growing up in New England, the old-money world educated in prep schools was always within a few minutes' drive away.  When The Official Preppy Handbook came out in 1980 when I was not even yet a preteen, I read with great interest its various humor essays and studied its diagrams about WASP culture.  

If I wanted to see a 65 year-old bluish gray haired, elegant woman sporting navy blue slacks covered in green embroidered whales, all I had to do was head down to the local A&P supermarket.  A Preppy Yuppie could easily be seen coming off the 5:07, Burberry coat in one hand, Prince racket in another. These type of folks were never part of my family's social network, but there is one thing that we definitely had in common.  The L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag.

Here's what I have done with our L.L. Bean Boat & Tote Bag.  Our Shoe repair shop sewed on each patch for $5.  Should I fully cover with patches?  Might be overkill.  It really needs a Hotchkiss or Andover patch to round out the look.  

We took ours to the swim club and to the beach at my grandparents' (which was most definitely not down in Cape May or up in Newport).  The annual display of fireworks was a common place we brought our boat bag.  We took it on a trip to Nantucket.  I saw many in Tanglewood.  My dad took it on his fishing trips with his buddy Donny.  There were only a few colors and it was only available with an open top.  I don't even recall too many sizes.  We always had a big bag, the size of the one above.  And we had it for years.  Many, many years.  Until the handles unraveled.

It didn't really matter who you were or where you came from.  The bag itself was durable, affordable, and well-designed.  It still is.  LL Bean's boat bag was always a go-to reliable.  Nowadays you can get a zippered-top bag.  What an innovation!  And the varied sizes and colors!  And now, there is free shipping!

Oh, L.L. Bean How I Love Thee.

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