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. ❤