Am I Related By Marriage to the Inventor of the Golf Rainsuit?

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My wife’s last name is Hodgman. In 1838, a distant relative of hers—that is to say, a relative not related to her by money—founded the Hodgman Rubber Co., which still sort of exists. In fact, my wife has a Hodgman camo rain jacket (which she never wears). She also has an old box of Hodgman rubber bands, and she claims that the company was once famous for manufacturing horse condoms.

Hodgman Rubber Co., 1913.

Hodgman Rubber Co., 1913.

In 1913, Hodgman Rubber published a self-celebratory book, on the occasion of its seventy-fifth birthday. “The orderly business man at his desk is lulled by the harmonious music of the rubber band,” the book’s author wrote; “the eager traveler hastens swiftly on his unwearied way in the glad knowledge that not he but his motor car is rubber tired. Rubber is the main spring of sport in football and in tennis. The urgencies of business are sped by messages over telephones that are rubber wired.” And so forth. Also, eventually, rainsuits for golfers.

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Hodgman rainsuits couldn’t cure a reverse pivot, apparently (see advertisement above). But they did leave plenty of room for unavoidable age-related increases in B.M.I.

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Ann “Distant Relative of Possible Inventor of the Rainsuit” Hodgman and I are currently in Amsterdam, celebrating our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. There was a little rain here this morning, and when we walked to breakfast I wore a golf rain jacket—which, I’m sorry to report, was not a Hodgman. But, at any rate, it’s not raining now.

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