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Leather Chain Mail from Colombia

Leather Chain Mail from Colombia

During a sabbatical year in Germany, my family would often descend to the Ratskeller below Göttingen's medieval Town Hall. I was five years old, and not really allowed in the beer cellar, but my father would rear back and say, in his most distinguished German, Ich bin ein Professor, and the host would mumble and usher us to a table despite the slant against children in such places, so elevated was the academic life of this university town. Bratwurst is what I remember, and the famous Goose Girl fountain in front of the Town Hall where university graduates, once soused in celebration, came to kiss her bronze cheek.

Oh, and the medieval armor that stood gleaming in the open hall above - that I remember well. How strange to imagine dressing in that frightful get-up! My five year old favorite was the chain mail option - something cool and slinky that clung to the body perfectly but in such a way that you could still breathe and move. I don't know if that is where my fashion sensibilities first bloomed, but I know that even now I love the look of a good chain mail.

Which is what I think of when I slip on this metallic leather vest hand-braided by women in Colombia. I don't feel quite a knight, but a force that is fierce, yes. I love the subtle gleam of Ibu's metallic options - bags and bangles and neck armor that remind me of golden/silver scales from the sea. 

Ten years ago, my father and I returned to Göttingen at the invitation of my brother and his family - all of us on our first pilgrimage back to the Goose Girl in over 40 years. My five year old self now grown, now graduating, to an altogether different place in life - I had no idea how different. I would return home to learn of my father's diagnosis with ALS. For that, I needed a warrior's strength, a supple kind of armor that allowed me to move and breathe, but protected me from the brutalities of that cruel disease.


We all need, from time to time, a certain kind of fierceness to surround us. To make it through the battles of life without getting crushed. To keep us alive while charging into the good fight. Chain mail is an option. So is some good father love - someone to speak up when the rules are against you; someone to open doors just for a bratwurst and a taste of respect. I recommend you get yourself some of each.  

All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker

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