I had a few extra hours today–not usually the case on a busy teaching day–and decided, among the thousands of more enticing projects and leisure-time activities I’ve been meaning to get to, that it was time to clean my closet. Sum total of what will go to Goodwill: three shirts. It is not as if I have a walk-in closet of full of expensive designer clothes or fancy matching outfits that I don’t want to give away–what I have is the dress I wore for my graduation recital in 1984, the shirt I wore for my high school yearbook photo (yes, it still fits), the Liberty of London print wrap dress (that made me look so professional even though it falls to my ankles) which I bought on sale and wore once a week for a year when I taught at the Westchester Conservatory (my students must have thought I owned only one dress), the London Fog rain coat with enormous 1980’s shoulders and zip-out lining that John bought me for my birthday, the only piece of clothing he ever picked out for me, the dresses I wore when I was six, rescued from my mother’s closet after she died–I will never wear those again, but how can I give them away after she saved them for all these years?
It’s a ghost closet filled with clothes that seem to me to still have the essence of who I was at that time. I don’t particularly want to be that person from 1984 or 1975, but somehow it seems important to remember what it was like then, where I was, and to respect the time and distance traveled.
So I can’t ever complain that I have nothing to wear! Eventually it may turn out that my wide-bodied raincoat makes its way to Goodwill and then to a cold homeless person in Detroit or Poland or becomes rags. The sentiments in the cloth, though, I need to retain.