Clearing Out

In my stuff purge there have been some hard choices. Yesterday I looked at a bin that contains the cashmere coat I bought on layaway in the 70s and my Aunt Martha’s Pendleton blazers. They’re in the garage, in a bin. Safe and dry. I said to myself, “Bag ’em up. It’s not like she’s coming back and will be looking for them.”

True both of my Aunt Martha and the girl who bought the cashmere coat. Neither one is coming back.

Then I realized that is one reason people — me, anyway — hang on to things. There is a deeply buried feeling that while the things are still around, there is the impossible possibility that the previous owner WILL come back. Abandoning their things almost seems like a loss of faith.

I have given that sartorial moment some more thought today as I have pressed on with the purge and yeah, that’s it. “I want you to have your Aunt Martha’s blazers,” said Aunt Jo when Aunt Martha died. “I’ve kept them for you.”

There’s the double whammy of love and nostalgia. I lived in San Diego. No one wears a Pendleton blazer in San Diego. I could wear them now in this cold place, but I’m not the type at all, even though they’re beautiful. And the cashmere coat? Well, it’s got 70s lapels and a distinct 70s vibe. It would be small, too, though it’s a trench-coat style, wraps around with a belt. It wouldn’t look good anywhere any more. So, tomorrow I’ll back out the car and get in there and empty that bin of the clothes belonging to beloved people who are not coming back.

But that doesn’t mean the people weren’t here. I remember that girl VERY well. The coat was a purchase she made half on impulse/half on hope. She was thinking she was on the verge of a career as a free lance writer and she needed to look legit. And the coat was beautiful. She soon discovered she didn’t want to be a free lance writer. She wanted to go to the Peoples Republic of China. She would go, but when she returned to the US she would end up in — San Diego, with the coat.

And, I don’t need Pendleton blazers in my garage to remind me of my Aunt Martha. ❤


6 thoughts on “Clearing Out

  1. You have nailed exactly why we keep things, Martha. ‘Oh, and I want you to have this……’ I am a consummate cleaner-outer so got rid of a lot that I was saving….for what? It was like a burden lifted when all that ‘stuff’ left the house. Hard decisions, but such a cleansed feeling.

    • Yep — I’m enjoying it. I’m finding it quite empowering, actually. The next thing after the blazers and coat is my mother’s Fostoria crystal. She died in 1996. It was shipped to me. It’s still in those boxes. That shows you how much I need it. 😀

      • All that stuff meant a lot to her I guess because she grew up so incredibly poor and her generation was into it. I don’t know. I can sell them on eBay and never recoup the hassle of selling them on eBay 😀

  2. Somebody sent me an irate thingie this morning because apparently some people in foreign lands are SELLING shoes and clothing because they make enough money to actually eat real food and all. He was shocked. I was … well … pleased. At least they might manage to make a living. What’s wrong with that anyway?

    I give a lot of really cool stuff away and I feel better about it BECAUSE I gave it away. It feel better, somehow. My mother grew up poor. Very poor. But as she got old, she sold and gave away a lot of it. Anyone need books? the library is full. So is the Senior Center and the High School.

    • My new civic mission is a Little Free Library on the corner. 🙂 I have books, too. I have America’s most complete collection of underground literature written in China during the Cultural Revolution. Who needs it? 😀

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