As we creep closer to Mother’s Day, Mom is certainly on our collective minds, whether one must recollect Mom via cherished memories or photographs, or, if you’re lucky, Mom is reachable simply by calling, texting or visiting that woman who gave you life.
I often share the tidbits of my mom’s wisdom and “momisms”, both which were liberally dispensed through my formative years – heck, she was still giving me guidance and good advice almost ’til her dying day.
Those morsels of Mom’s wisdom and wit will stay with me forever. She was fond of giving predictions and warnings as well. She often prefaced those cause-and-effect tidbits by saying “I will no doubt be long gone, but mark my words ….” Amazingly, many of them have come to fruition.
You may recall that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to get my house in order for 2017. Disorganization ruled and I was sorely in need of getting a roadmap to every nook and cranny of this house. I began in earnest the first day of the newly minted year and have finally concluded my long journey through every dresser and bureau drawer, every closet and cupboard. Those recent rainy days helped fulfill that promise to myself, but, not the basement – oh no, that is too big of a project to tackle right now, but it is waiting in the wings for me.
Over the course of the last four months, I have taken every item out of said drawers and closets, perused them, even paraded around in each one. I have been revisiting clothes, shoes and accessories that I’ve not seen in nearly a decade. Working from home has its obvious benefits – not only do you save yourself the hassle and expense of the daily commute, but you also save on dry-cleaning bills, lunch with the work bunch, morning stops at Starbucks (even though there is perfectly good coffee brewing in the office kitchen), shoe repair, makeup – the list goes on and on.
I must confess I love my fresh-scrubbed face sans the array of cosmetics that took forever to apply to look “natural” and I traded in my high-heeled pumps for moose hide moccasins with no regrets. Those heavy-duty-beauty pantyhose and underwire bras are a thing of the past, as are slim pencil skirts and form-fitting capris. Shorts and tees, sweat suits, and even polar fleece PJs in the dead of Winter, had me embracing elastic waist pants and eschewing waistbands or button-up discomfort. The sleek and coiffed hair has been replaced by a messy bun, and the hard contact lenses tossed in favor of eyeglasses.
But, revisiting my closets had me lamenting over these items which languish there, unworn, yet they brought such joy in the many shopping excursions I enjoyed with my mother through the years. Could shopping be a hobby? I think it was. Maybe it was a habit – one I couldn’t quite kick. Though Mom tried to instill the “buy something new but get rid of something old” rule many times, it didn’t really happen. The house is small, the cupboards crammed … and still there was that one terrific top or perfect pair of pants that were begging to come home with us, and they did.
Through the years, when Mom kicked into predictions-and-warning mode, she often told me that clothing and shoe material was not made to last forever. I can hear her saying “eventually you’ll go to put on that beautiful coral-colored nylon raincoat and it will fall apart in your hands – wear the &^%$ thing … it’s a raincoat!” I would look at her and reply “in the pouring rain – no, I’ll keep it for nicer weather as the rain will ruin it.” “You’ll see” was her retort.
Flash forward a few decades …
In going through every item in my closet … shoes and accessories included, I discovered she did have a point, and, yes, (as I look toward the Heavens), I’ll concede “you were right-I was wrong (again) Mom!”
For example, what about those bright-red patent leather rain boots I coveted to keep my feet dry when I waited on the bus on those torrential rain days, yet, hated to wear them in case they got ruined by that same rain? Silly girl!. Well, I opened the box and the patent leather had turned from shiny to dull with a heavy film on them – ugh. Not only that, they had shredded around the collar of the boots making jagged edges which rubbed against my ankles. Yup, I did not heed Mom’s advice on simply enjoying your possessions and not tucking them away, or saving them for a rainy day. The hat that matched those rain boots was similarly ruined … the brim stuck onto the hat where it was folded, and when “unstuck” took parts of the material with it. Well, it made me feel kind of sad to be honest.
And then I spied a pair of two-toned flats that I always loved – they were soft leather with a color combination of cream, taupe and celery green and perfectly matched a light-green pantsuit. Admittedly, they were always a little tight at the back of the heels, but I kept them anyway – what price beauty, eh? So, I lifted them out of their shoe pockets, slipped off the plastic bags, then slid them onto my nylon-stockinged feet. Ouch! I wore these? Well, I decided to traipse down the hall for old times’ sake, then put them with the other ill-fitting items destined for donation to the Salvation Army.
That trip down the hall was indescribable.
I got the feeling I was wearing flypaper on the bottom of my feet as I walked along. I was literally sticking to the carpet, and, by the time I’d walked that ten or twelve feet down the hall, there were dark-brown and cream-colored bits littering the beige carpet. What in the world?
It looked like someone had been chomping on Oreo cookies and left a trail of big crumbs on the carpet.
I removed the shoes and saw the problem immediately. It appeared the original soles of the shoes were gone, and what remained had some type of coating, making me stick to the carpet, and the heels had literally crumbled and fallen off. Disintegrating shoes! Something like in a bad spy movie.
Next, I rummaged through my clothes closet. I took several tops from their hangers and a spray of green gook dumped onto the floor and the garments as well. It seemed that the foam that had secured those silky shirts from slipping off their respective hangers, had long since rotted, sending plumes of green dust everywhere. At least the clothes were salvageable, the foam hangers not so much.
Then, there were the brand-new black dress pants which I saved for years for a special occasion. I tried them on, checking them out in the dresser mirror. I smoothed my hands down the front of them – a perfect fit. I hung the pants back on the hanger and noticed my fingers and palms were jet black. I figured it was from handling the metal hangers, but washed my hands and when they were dry, on a hunch, I patted down the pants again – once again, my hands were jet black. What were they made of? I’ve got to figure that if I wore them, my body, and wherever I sat, would be covered in black dye. They didn’t end up in my closet, or for donations, but in the garbage.
There were no more clothes calamities to speak of, but of note …
I tried on all my dress pumps, and, as each pair pinched or rubbed me the wrong way, I groaned, not just from the potential blisters that I felt were erupting just by virtue of slipping them onto my feet, but, also because Mom’s dire predictions about my ugly white “Earth Shoes” bought for waitressing back in 1973 were ringing in my ears … “Linda, if you wear those wide shoes with the stupid heels, you’ll regret it years from now – your feet will spread like a Clydesdale horse and you’ll be sorry!” But, you couldn’t tell me anything – besides everyone wore those ugly shoes. Yup, my feet did spread and the wide walking shoes and soft moccasins haven’t helped much either. Quietly, I replaced all those high-heeled, and even mid-heeled, shoes back in their shoe pockets for another time.
Though I have a whole drawerful of hair baubles and ornaments from when Mom would French-braid my hair, or she wound my long locks into a French twist, most of those hair doodads, like their owner, are past their prime. I must say that Mom outdid herself when coiffing my long hair – it looked nice from early a.m. until I was ready to go to bed, no matter the humidity level, even during a Summer storm. Personally, I just think that she was trying to make up for having me endure those horrible-looking bangs she and my dad created when they teamed up with scissors and scotch tape and snipped away between regular haircuts.
Mom, how could you?
My mom had as many warnings through the years as those soothsayers did for Y2K, and, just like that anticipated catastrophe never happened, many of Mom’s predictions never did either.
But this clotheshorse should have heeded her advice.
I’ll check out that coral coat downstairs later this Summer and hope for the best, and, by George, I’ll wear those clothes and accessories again, and hopefully they don’t self-destruct while I am wearing them – that could be mighty scary!