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BETTER THAN HEARSAY - Wonderfully Out of Hand

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/29/24 | 2/29/24

By Michael Ryan

WINDHAM - The imagination of a young girl has led to what is probably undoubtedly the first parading of its kind in the town of Windham.

Mildred “Milly” Morabito is hosting a “Buffalo Plaid Walk” at the Windham Path on March 24 at 2 p.m., preceded by a community Treasure Hunt.

“I’m tickled plaid,” says Milly, who will be decked out from head-to-toe and beyond in her favorite pattern, a fashion statement born in serendipity.

“I don’t know if there will be two people or two-hundred people but it’s all in good fun and seeing what creative outfits may show up,” Milly says.

This all began when Milly first laid eyes on what is traditionally the preferred color scheme of lumberjacks and became the unofficial hue of Christmas.

“When I was a little girl, 10 or 12 years old, growing up in Mamaroneck, in lower Westchester County, my parents had a two-story house,” she says.

“One day, there was a small fire in one of rooms. Nobody knew how big or how small it was so we all went outside and the neighbors came out too.

“A neighbor we called Granny Julie was one of them. She asked me to go to her house to get something from an upstairs bedroom.

“I don’t remember what it was but I vividly remember what happened next. It was so strange and has stayed with me, even now,” Morabito says.

“There were twin beds with a night table in the middle. They had tartan red bedspreads. The room had a porthole window, like you see on a boat

“In the back of the house, there was a creek that went into the Long Island Sound. My family hardly ever went anywhere but I knew about Vermont.

“Looking out the window, I got a real warm, fuzzy feeling and, don’t ask me why but I thought, ‘this must be what Vermont is like.’

“I guess I was a Yankee at heart because I started loving everything plaid. A few years ago, I bought a mug and pen and paper and just kept buying things and people started gifting me plaid and here we are today.”

Milly, who didn’t step foot in Vermont until she was in her 40’s, moved to Jewett four years ago, persistently adding to her collection.

“Buffalo Plaid became my signature. Now it’s just out of control,” Milly says, laughing, noting she has a vendor’s booth at the annual Autumn Af-Fair, held by the Windham Chamber of Commerce.

Legend has it that Buffalo Plaid may have originated in America, in tribute to the revered plains animals, but it was on the other side of the Pond.

“Do a little digging and you’ll find that the Buffalo Plaid is actually the MacGregor Red and black pattern,” according to the “Piecework Needlework” website.

“In Scotland, the pattern is associated with folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor, although there is no evidence he ever wore it,” the website  states.

Folk lore would have you believe the pattern, “gets its red color from a sorcerer’s hex, a dye distilled from the spirit blood and ghostly souls of McCluskey's prey and enemies and, as a result, was said to bring good luck in battle,” the website states.

Milly, the mother of three kids, including twin sons, and a grandma to four more, romantically recalls dancing to “Moonlight in Vermont” while visiting the Green Mountain State, having much tamer intentions.

“Last year, I hid nine Buffalo Plaid rocks on Main Street, gifting people who found them. It was so much fun I want to spread the joy,” she says, planning a larger seek-and-ye-shall-find Treasure Hunt.

That’s in the morning. In the afternoon, “people who want to parade are encouraged to bring their furry friends to the Path,” Milly says. “I am wishing for sun and for Buffalo Plaid to be wonderfully out of hand.”



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