My family moved to Oregon from back east in 1945 when I was 6. I believe we discovered Pendleton then, as Pendleton shirts began to show up in our family photographs. There is a classic one from 1954 of our Fullerton family opening Christmas gifts around the tree.
That is my father examining my brother's new Pendleton (you can almost read the label) while he snaps the photo and my mother and I look on looking a little envious. My brother's Pendleton tartan was one that I'll never forget. In those days you had one for life -- and that made quite an impression.
My father was given a solid green Pendleton shirt with pockets that buttoned shut. My father died in 2002, at 95, with this shirt still hanging in his closet. He is wearing it here on the right...with Uncle Joe sporting his red tartan too.
For years of my youth I longed for a Pendleton pleated skirt but our family budget did not support high end clothes for females at that time. The next Pendleton to join our clan was my Mom's 49'er jacket (perhaps a feminist moment here). I can see that red plaid still clearly in my mind's eye.
I finally had my own " Pendleton" when I sewed one for myself. My mom and I discovered the Pendleton Outlet Store in Washougal when I was a teenager, and we began to make trips there from Portland a couple of times a year. Finally, I bought fabric for a green plaid pleated skirt -- a major sewing project. I took home economics sewing every year in high school and bought Pendleton fabric for these projects among others:
- A full length coat for my mother: my senior sewing project.
- A dark brown herringbone jumper with matching jacket for myself.
- A sport coat in orange and brown plaid for my father (who later gave it to my brother)
- A blue herringbone coat for myself (that incidently was stolen from the coat rack at Sylvia's Restaurant in Portland while I was on a dinner date. I had bought the fabric for $2.25 at the Washougal store. I was always more flattered than outraged at the theft!)
- A quilt of wool scraps that I filled with a worn down comforter. I took this to college in Missouri and used it through raising children and up until recently.
I continued to make clothing for myself, and began to purchase Pendleton skirts, sweaters, jackets, and blankets. In 1973 my family moved to Hood River from Portland and in the process I realized that all of our winter items that had been packed in suitcases and stored in the basement had been damaged from a basement flood, and everything was ruined by mold. I filed a claim with Nationwide Insurance on our home owner's policy. When I told the woman who processed my claim that most of the items were clothes that I had made with Pendleton fabric, she made an exception to the usual devaluation even though my clothes were several years old and homemade, she knew the value of Pendleton wool, and I was compensated as if they had been recently purchased!
The most recent episode in My Pendleton Life story is that now my daughter and I work together on an online store where I make many items using Pendleton wool fabric. We love working with this beautiful, high quality fabric from a company that continues to innovate in its quality and designs, and also has such a fond place in the history of our lives.
Here is a link to a company historical overview from the Pendleton website.