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Turtleneck art


I Love My Turtleneck—Rochelle Finds What To Wear

I Love My Turtleneck — Rochelle Finds What To Wear

My last name began with R” and his with S,” so Johnny Sharefkin sat behind me in grade school. He would lean forward on our old-fashioned wooden desks, the kind with the seat attached to the desk behind, and he would serenade me. I don’t think it mattered to Johnny that it was my ear he spoke into, he just had something to say. Not words but sounds that he had mastered with his voice and hands. They included, but were not limited to, the sounds of a Revolutionary Stars and Stripes” played on a piccolo — we were studying American history — or the snare drumming of Yankee Doodle” and the mimicking of a barrage of bullets from a WWI machine gun. If proximity counted for the possibility of puppy love, I hope Johnny Sharefkin knew I was dazzled and confused by my feelings for him. 

Brilliant, he went on to become a physician and researcher. But at age ten, I thought Johnny was the most creative person, unique and witty fellow, I had ever met, and he wore turtlenecks. He was the only kid in grade school who wore high, round, folded on itself, collared sweaters. We all wore crew necks with shirts underneath. Later, I learned that he had Hodgkin’s disease and had undergone a radical neck dissection. I would suspect the turtleneck may have provided some comfort. 

Once we got to high school, everyone had their own program to follow. I was no longer the R” in front of the S.” I would occasionally catch a glimpse of him in the hall signaled by the turtleneck.” 

Wearing a turtleneck is an act of seduction, both revealing and concealing something of the wearer. There are many reasons for wearing a turtleneck, today: to use as a COVID mask, wear as a face frame or hide an aging neck. In the witty and wise, I Feel Bad About My Neck,” Nora Ephron says out loud the questions in our heads and describes the neck as a dead giveaway. Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth.” Apples CEO, Steve Jobs wore Issey Miyakes mock (no fold) turtlenecks as a signature piece of his uniform. Miyake understood comfort and used technology to build his fashion business. This was a natural combination for Jobs. I have a drawer full of turtlenecks, hoping their magical powers kick in and I will be able to whistle a tune like Johnny.