I grew up in the South, where winter coats are evidence, proof that other places exist, places with snow, and that people have lived in them. They’re relics and souvenirs and wishing wells for people who just moved down for a couple years, you know, see how it goes. So when I moved to Philadelphia at twenty-seven, I had never owned anything heavier than a leather jacket. I grudgingly accepted that I would probably need a winter coat, and since I had the most comical of career prospects, my fiancé’s grandfather bought me one on sale in the springtime, a size too large. That was eight years ago. This winter, as I struggled to manage the dog (our second) and the baby (our first) across the threshold of our house (our third home in Philly) the awkwardly hinged screen door caught a fraying seam, tearing a vent halfway up the back of my coat. I wasn’t too upset—we only expected to be here a couple years, see how things went, so it more than served its purpose. But now that I put it to rest, I’m amazed to see it cover nearly a quarter of my life and to find Philadelphia is where we’ve made our home, where you absolutely cannot do without a sturdy winter coat.