The three mink coats became one of the best investments I ever made. They were used by all my girl friends that had a special place to wear them. But the best part was the role they played as “Foul Weather Gear”, on the Yacht Mariner II., that I operated as a Yacht Charter business on San Francisco Bay.
My chief steward, Dean Radcliff took such delight in offering a coat to the ladies on board the yacht. He would say; “ I notice that you appear to be chilled. May I get you some foal weather gear? IT IS MINK!” Then as their jaw dropped, he would add, so very casually; “What color would you like”?
I often wore a mink jacket to Safeway over my jeans and sweat shirt with my bedroom slippers some mornings. When I was rushing to the store to grab a quart of milk for breakfast. There just is something about a mink coat that somehow makes everything alright and seemingly proper.
Many years later my dear foster sister Lolly was going through a rough patch in her life. She was unemployed and was goalless, and very depressed. I ask her what would make her happy. She flippantly remarked; “ A mink coat and a Cadillac would certainly help”. I went to my closet and got the Truffle Brown mink jacket and handed it to her. Saying “Well, this puts you half way there. Now go out and create the Cadillac”. Which she did within a year or so.
The Snow Mist, white mink jacket I sold for a thousand dollars one year around Christmas time when I had fallen on some lean times. A friend from the yacht club gave it to his wife for Christmas. I had him take it to the furrier and have a new lining put in it with her monogrammed initials. I don’t know if he mentioned where he bought it or not. I never discussed it with anyone. She wore it proudly for many years.
My favorite story of the mink coats is the one of the full length black diamond mink. I put it in fur storage at I. Magnin’s store. It remained there for ten years as my life went on to other adventures that did not include the wearing of a mink coat. One day I received a notice in the mail that I.Magnin’s was closing it’s doors forever and I must come and retrieve my mink coat. My sister-in-law Barbara was visiting from Portland, Oregon. We went to San Francisco to get the coat. I had gained about sixty pounds in the past ten years. This delightful gentleman that had been a furrier at Magnin’s for many years went in the back to get my coat for me. He came back with a beautiful size ten black mink coat and said in his thick Italian accent; “Madam, I have cleaned and glazed your coat and given you a new fur coat bag. But I think perhaps you may need to have the sleeves altered a bit. So let me give you my card as I will be going into business for myself”. As tactful as only a true Gentleman can be.
I turned to my sister-in law and laughed, we both agreed there is no way I can fit my matronly size sixteen body into that coat. It now hangs in my closet, awaiting perhaps my granddaughter. To take her to higher dreams and fulfill her fantasy. As I said those mink coats were one of the best investments I ever made.
And purchased with a bum check. Never let the lack of money limit your dreams.