In search of the lost socks

Placeholder while loading article actions

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch swirls through the waters between Asia and North America. The location of the Great Missing Sock Patch is a mystery. It may involve the multiverse. But every once in a while, a fluffy survivor is spat back into our world.

I wrote recently about the grief and indecision of the lost sock: is it better to throw away the remaining sock or keep it? I asked the readers to intervene.

Karen Reznek from Berwyn Heights has always loved a pair of black mid-calf socks with silver glitter, made from sustainable bamboo.

Alas, after returning from a trip almost four years ago, only half of the pair have made it out of the laundry. Karen wrote: “Last week we took our first trip since then that required a big suitcase. Upon unpacking, I found the missing sock in one of the inside pockets. He is now cleansed and reunited with his mate, whom I saved all these years.

The neighborhood one Cathy Winner says one way to minimize the problem of socks disappearing is to buy multiple pairs of the same style/color. “This way you hold the sock until another disappears, then you match the socks without a mate,” she wrote. “Also helps if a sock wears out before its mate. Think of it like a widow and widower finding happiness together.

It would make a great movie. Someone has Pixar on the phone!

Pat Minami d’Olney has a more practical suggestion, writing, “I wonder why more (most?) people don’t do what I do: pin socks together before putting them in the laundry basket.”

Lois Ross of Annapolis takes another approach. “After losing a single sock multiple times, I’ve decided that, if you can’t fight it, join it,” she wrote. “So I made new pairs with the remaining socks. For example, I have a pair with one sock that has dog bones on it and the other sock has elephants on it.

Lois has five such pairs. “Neither the color nor the pattern match,” she wrote. “I wear them all the time. The kids seem to love it.”

Joanne Madison of Springfield also advises teaming up with surviving socks, especially if they have similar colors or patterns. Or you can turn to the pros. She notes that a company called Solmate sells cleverly mismatched socks. Although the patterns and colors of each pair are not exactly the same, they belong to the same family.

“I have at least a dozen pairs (mostly gifts from hubby),” Joanne wrote.

In my column, I thought that shoes don’t come apart like socks. No one would cling to just one shoe, would they?

“Well I did,” wrote Donna L. Linton of Ashburn.

Over 20 years ago, after a night of clubbing, a beloved Nine West heel – the good one – went missing, likely falling out of Donna’s bag after staying at a friend’s house.

“I was hoping my friend could find it, it was in the car, someone would play Cinderella with me,” she wrote. “I called the Nine West company to ask if there was a place where I could buy these shoes, but they stopped making them.”

She started dating an “awesome guy” who was in the Air Force. He took the survivor with him as he flew in C-5 transport planes to Italy, hoping to meet a shoemaker to make a pair.

“No success happened with that,” Donna wrote. “I still love this shoe so much. It sits on my closet shelf where I see it every time I walk in. It’s still a fabulous shoe even though it’s lost its other half.

Gloves are literally socks for the hands. Sometimes they are also symbols. from Arlington Glenn Sugameli always enjoyed a short poem by a Danish mathematician Piet Hein (1905-1996). Hein called his poems “grooks” and the one titled “Consolation Grook” goes like this:

Losing a glove is certainly painful,

but nothing compared to the pain

to lose one, to throw away the other,

and find the first.

But there was more to the poem than meets the eye. Hein published it during World War II, when his country was under German occupation and he was a member of the Danish resistance. The poem passed Nazi censors, who failed to see the hidden message.

As a Danish blogger and doctor Erik Christensen says: “The Danes, however, understood its significance and soon it was found in graffiti form all over the country. The deep meaning of the grook was that even if you lose your freedom (“lose a glove”), don’t lose your patriotism and self-respect by collaborating with the Nazis (“throwing the other”), because that sense of having betrayed your country will be more painful when freedom is found one day.

Amanda J. Marsh