A pile of summer clothes. Books brought out of the closet. You can tell a lot about the books a person surrounds herself with. I don’t have a lot of books now, and so the ones I took when the marriage dissolved have special significance. A slim volume of One Hundred and One Famous Poems inscribed in Mother’s handwriting, “To my dear daughter with love. Mom. Xmas 1969”--Tennyson, Whitman, Keats, Frost, and Kipling, whose “If” is a favorite of mine, are the standards I grew up with.
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; . . .
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same. . . .
Scraps of paper with ideas for art projects I’ll probably never have time to get to. Fabric. My addiction. Lots of that. Clothes waiting for me to iron them. Who am I kidding?
My place is small. The one bigger closet is about half-filled with my clothes. Art supplies take up nearly the other half, competing with quilts, Christmas decorations I didn’t even put up last year, and a box of photos. You get the picture. Something has got to go.
I’d rather get rid of the clothes than the art supplies. Who knows, I might find a way to have my own studio. Hey, I am old, but I still dream.
Today, I purge. Farewell striped pink blouse. What was I thinking! Socks, I can never wear all of you. Cute black and white Keds, you guys hurt my feet. I will hang on to Mother’s Day cards long ago given and 21-year-old ‘Happy Mother’s Coupons,’ which certify son Jeff will clean the bathroom and make his bed. I’ll even keep another 21-year old artifact: an anniversary card emblazoned with “The Marriage that Would Not Die.”
Triumph and Disaster aside, the lesson here is to make room and time for what really matters in my life and a reminder of what was once upon a time.