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lois and the purple sweater by michael mark

Hawaiian shirt

Yes, I’ve learned my lesson but, oh, this one is pretty tempting too …

After my Blogger Idol assignment last week in which I revealed a secret I’ve been keeping for 35 years, readers have been asking me to write about my husband’s reaction. Michael said he wanted to write about it himself, and the least I can do is let him. So here it is. If you haven’t read the original post, you may want to do that before continuing. I’m sorry the Blogger Idol site is gone because the comments were hilarious and worthy of a future blog post themselves.

Maybe the sweater was too ugly to exist.

I can see how it could be seen as too purple.

Or that it no longer fit properly from being worn so often,

especially during the first months of our love affair,

where it was pressed against Lois

two hundred thousand times a day,

leaving purple threads on her clothes, in her hair, in her teeth.

It needed to move on.

And all she was doing – while I slept in front of the TV –

by picking it up from the typical dorm room floor scattered with textbooks, pizza boxes, Springsteen and Peter Frampton albums, and slipping it into the hallway garbage chute, never to be seen or mentioned again until 35 years later in her confessional blog piece, was helping it along some.

I can see she was also helping me with my fashion sense.

So I’d look more handsome, thereby enhancing our relationship because, as she wrote, the sweater was, “Ew.”

She was prouder to walk next to me on campus in my not purple sweater.

More comfortable all snuggled up in the library with my non-purple sweatered arm around her.

Happier being half of the cutest couple in class, at the pub – where everyone could see how crazy I was for her in my purpleless sweaterlessness.

She wasn’t an angel of death disposing of my signature turtleneck as I dreamed of her.

She was saving our future, ensuring our kids’ births and well-being, confirming the reservations for our African safari, our four cruises all over the world. Preserving all the sudden bursts of unstoppable laughter and ocean deep comfort we were to share.

She must have done the right thing, as she so often does.

I haven’t thought much of the sweater in all these years —

maybe when I hear “Purple Rain.”

I’ve been too happy being married.

But, now, since I found out about this deep personal secret right along with Lois’ blog readers – some of them mutual friends, as well as my parents, our children – I have been asked with genuine interest what my reaction was to this news.

So, here it is:

1. I love Lois.

2. Unlike what she believed, there was no incinerator. The chute fed into a giant industrial basket on wheels that the maintenance staff rolled away, occasionally finding a ring with a semi-precious stone, a book to read or resell, a purple turtleneck sweater to be taken out and considered worthy of the plastic bag they kept crumpled in their uniform pockets.

That’s what I thought of when I read that Lois threw my sweater down there.

I had hoped it was picked out from the trash for its purpleness, loved for it, worn with pride – maybe at a party. Danced in, rock and rolled in, sweated in, earning some guy a compliment, the possibility of getting lucky.

I hope he got the same joy I got from it.

And if his woman did what Lois did,

I hope he did what I did.

Tenderly, fully, purple sweaterlessly, kiss her and tell her, “No big deal, babe.”

Note from Lois: I have the best husband in the world.


  1. So sweet. Next item to be tossed is the shirt he is wearing in the above photo. I love your husband and the way he loves you. You are so lucky to have found each other then and continue the love to this day. I am sure you worked hard at all this loving. It is a joy to read. Now ditch the shirt, Michael.

  2. Dear Michael, You are a love. AND I’m thinking Lois could just take over shopping for your clothes, more time for adventure and you will never have to worry about the fashion police again. <3 Elin

  3. Awww…This is sweet.

    (I doubt my husband would respond as kindly if I told him I’d pitched his threadbare white robe soon after we got together more than 30 years ago.)

  4. What a guy! He’s a keeper. Just adorable. But I agree. Get rid of the shirt.

  5. If I thought my husband would respond like this I’d start making stuff up to confess!!! How sweet, you really touched my heart, Michael!

  6. You two get the cuteness award, hands down. I can see you both on campus together, so young and in love. The story continues….

    Oh, and thanks for the purple sweater. I unraveled it and knit it as part of a blanket. Hardy har har.

  7. What a wonderful response! As one of the readers who begged to know your reaction, thank you! (And here’s another vote to let Lois do your shopping, lol.)

  8. I have a crush on Michael right now. I hope you don’t mind, Lois.

  9. I think you need to find Michael a much more chic purple sweater for Hanukkah this year – maybe in more of a periwinkle color ? 🙂

  10. Oh, Lois, you are one lucky woman.

  11. Well either way, love or not, Mr. Mark has what we husbands like to call a freebie or one in hand to use at his discretion sometime in the future. Lol. Nice post by both of you.

  12. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I love both of you. Michael, do you have a twin who might be single and available? Oh wait, I’m married. Never mind.

  13. Stephanie @"So, I've Been Thinking…" says:

    Oh he handled that so much better than I would have. I am crazy about certain sweaters (although mine are classic cream or charcoal or black) and if someone threw them away…well I have palpitations just thinking about it.

  14. Ah, Lois!! I have a crush on both of you!!! You’re so sweet together! And, as one of the people wondering how this turned out, I have to say this was perfect!! 🙂

  15. Beautifully said Michael. As we cultivate our gardens of life, we reap the fruits of the energy we sow. Clearly you both have been sowing with love. Enjoy the fruit of your labors and thank you for sharing them with us!

  16. What a wonderful reaction! Thanks for writing, Michael. You two are adorable!

  17. So sweet, and a testament to love that endures.

  18. Awesome reply, awesome husband, awesome story!!

  19. You are a lucky woman, indeed! And Michael, you are a lucky man. It was an act of love that racked her with guilt all these years. I think. Maybe. Either way, I think the coast has been cleared to buy a new purple sweater.

  20. Go MICHAEL! ‘Nuf said …

  21. WHat a guy Michael is. A keeper. Even if you are probably gonna burn that shirt he’s wearing. (But do it when he’s not home, okay? I don’t think he’ll react so nicely next time.)

  22. Before you let Lois off the hook, check what else she has up her non-purple sleeve. Who knows what future blogging assignments lurk to reveal???

  23. I want what you’re both having! Beautifully played and written by the both of you. I totally see the appeal, purple sweater or purple sweaterless. (O; Write on.

  24. Aww, Michael, you are a sweet man, and the two of you together set the bar for other couples. Nicely done, nicely stated.

  25. What a great post! I love that you put Lois and your life together ahead of your purple sweater!! Very happy that you both found each other!!

  26. The best reaction ever! 🙂 Loved the story too Lois…I was laughing!

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