Hey everybody! Please allow me to take you on a journey through the maturation of my t-shirt palette. I have always worn t-shirts with everything to include but not limited to: school pants, work pants, snow pants, sweat pants, MC Hammer pants, wind pants, tear-away warm up pants, cargo pants, church pants, army pants, football pants, baseball pants, pleated pants, corduroys, zubaz, jeans, jorts, cutoffs, walking shorts, running shorts, basketball shorts, baseball pant coaching shorts, and swim trunks.
Growing up in Newark, OH I followed and dreamed of playing for the Ohio High School football power, Newark Catholic. Along with this came a love for sports and naturally sports t-shirts. From Bo Jackson to Alonzo Mourning and any Caricature shirt in between I wanted to wear them. A family road trip to Chicago one summer had me awe struck at the small pop up retail store full of Chicago Bulls Championship t-shirts of all varieties, the Bulls having recently won their 3rd NBA title in a row. In high school, the t-shirts were joined by football jerseys of players I wished to become. Joining the Air Force and serving with folks from all over the U.S., brought for me a new sense of pride in the great State of Ohio. If a t-shirt had to do with Ohio, then I was wearing it. The coolest find was a t-shirt commemorating the Mastodon remains found in Newark, OH back in 1989. I remember going to the Indian Mound Mall to see them on display. Later, having separated from the Air Force and having moved back to Ohio, the Ohio t-shirts didn’t offer that same feeling of pride wearing them at home. So then was a phase of wearing t-shirts found on Ebay of my childhood heroes, from the Ultimate Warrior to Bo Jackson to old caricature shirts. Then came a phase of showcasing different animals and another phase of wearing commercialized Christmas tees year round. These phases of t-shirt wearing as fun as they were, still left me empty inside. I longed for something more. But one cold Ohio winter night was about to change that forever.
It was a night of mall walking with my amazing wife. It was one of those nights where the mall was filled with the sounds of squeaky snow covered boots and the smells of fresh popcorn and bourbon chicken fused with the soothing aroma of sidewalk salt. This night, I stumbled upon a new kiosk full of patriotic American history t-shirts. As I reached for my Auntie Anne’s pretzel, while looking over the shirts, I thought to myself, “wow, these are cool. They are making me more proud to be an American than I already thought I was.” I pondered over which ones I was going to buy. Paul Revere and one with a cannonball with 13 carved in it sure looked great and thinking to myself, “I can’t believe how excited these are making me feel inside.” I thought about chanting, “U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A” to see if the busy shopping mall would follow suit. Nonetheless, I went home that cold Ohio winter night empty handed as there was something holding me back. Something was telling me to not rush into my next phase of t-shirt wearing. Even so, I went home excited that night. “Wow, now this has some meaning and depth. Freedom and this country and I’m a veteran! It doesn’t get more meant to be than that!” Or so I thought. I kept mulling these shirts over. I would go back to that kiosk pondering about how cool these revolutionary war heroes were and George Washington and cannonballs. And I started thinking, “is this the coolest thing that could be put on a t-shirt?” So I thought about the things in my life and experiences I’ve had and my wife and my kids and what was important to me. “What about my Faith,” I thought. Maybe I could make people as excited about the Catholic Faith as I was excited to be an American that cold winter night. In fact, I knew that if I couldn’t do it, that it wouldn’t be because of inferior subjects. And so Housetop Tees was born.
The tees are of the vintage, snapback, retro, throwback variety. They are meant to excite and to stir up feelings of great pride in those who God called to carry the Faith and in those who answered that call heroically. To also stir up Love in a God who first chose us, a God who became man, a God who longs to be united with us! So buckle up! Because we are going to be right here in central Ohio putting out the best designs we can come up with, all in the hopes to excite and inspire you to “put out into the deep!”
The company name, Housetop Tees, comes from Matthew 10:27 which reads, “What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops.”
At the concluding mass for World Youth Day 1993 in Denver, Colorado, Pope John Paul II said in part,
“Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel (Cfr. Rom 1,16). It is the time to preach it from the rooftops (Cfr. Matth 10,27). Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern “metropolis”. It is you who must “go out into the byroads” ( Matth 22,9) and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father.
Jesus went in search of the men and women of his time. He engaged them in an open and truthful dialogue, whatever their condition. As the Good Samaritan of the human family, he came close to people to heal them of their sins and of the wounds which life inflicts, and to bring them back to the Father’s house. Young people of “World Youth Day”, the Church asks you to go, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to those who are near and those who are far away. Share with them the freedom you have found in Christ. People thirst for genuine inner freedom. They yearn for the Life which Christ came to give in abundance. The world at the approach of a new millennium, for which the whole Church is preparing, is like a field ready for the harvest. Christ needs laborers ready to work in his vineyard. May you, the Catholic young people of the world, not fail him. In your hands, carry the Cross of Christ. On your lips, the words of Life. In your hearts, the saving grace of the Lord.”