|It's hard to get rid of clothes with memories attached to them, but today I was being brave as I faced down the contents of my closets. John photographed me pondering the task ahead, fortifying myself with coffee.|
|I've had this black blouse for years. Today, hmmm, something about it didn't seem quite right.|
|A favourite red jacket I used to wear at work, and a lace-necked blouse I wore to dad's funeral -- such memories, what to do?|
|A blue jacket I wore to my sister's Diane's wedding, shown with the black blouse.|
|The blue suit at Diane's 1983 wedding. Left to right, me; my brother Larry (in background); Diane; my sister Betty. Photo by John.|
To me, clothes have always been coloured by whatever happens when I'm wearing them -- joy or sadness seeps into their fibres and lingers. And so, through years of culling, I have held onto the powder-blue suit I wore to my sister Diane's wedding 30 years ago, when we were all still young and beautiful. Similarly, I kept the white blouse, lace streaming from the neck and sleeves, that I wore as I sobbed through dad's entire funeral service 20 years ago. I also held onto one small remnant of my work life -- a beautifully tailored red wool jacket that I wore when I briefly touched the career ladder before resuming my real vocation in the trenches.
All of these things I pondered today as I sized up my overcrowded closet to decide whether this time, finally, I could let go of those little slices of my life. I found the time had indeed come; my heart would not bleed if I folded them up for the salvage bin.
But it was a black blouse with a net insert and stand-up collar that stopped me in my tracks. I've had it since I was young, and considered it one of those lifelong wardrobe bits -- something to throw on for the increasingly rare occasions when a touch of fancy is required. But when I tried it on today, I realized that, unlike the other pieces I was considering letting go of, this one gave me no choice.
When I was 25, 30, or even 40, that blouse, with its silly collar and black net frills, was an ironic nod to old ladies in black lace. But now that I'm 66, the irony is gone. The blouse and I have reached parity: I am the old lady it is nodding to. It had to go.
|Who knew I had so many blouses?|
|Somewhere in there are clothes that can be passed along to other people. Photo by John.|