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You'll Never Wear Those Clothes Again!
I thought that when I entered the so-called "golden" years, I’d be all settled in and grown up. My mind would be made up about world affairs, social issues and politics. I’d have answers to life’s great questions. I’d placidly fold my hands, ensconced in a cozy home and comfortable routines.
Rather than having spells of restlessness, I’d have the wisdom and serenity to consolidate all of the good parts of my past, jettison the bad baggage and no longer worry about what might have been and now would never be. I thought that I’d be done with those nasty little kicks in the pants that life administers from time to time and that I’d sail smoothly along, not having to undergo any more rites of passage.
I certainly had good examples of aging gracefully, including Knightstown’s beloved teachers, Jessie Nay Wagoner and Lucinda Newby, who were still beautiful, gracious and bright-spirited in their eighties. I suspect that my personality is more like that of pungent, naughty, irascible old Granny.
"Oh, that this too, too solid flesh should melt." - Shakespeare
Life hasn’t finished teaching me lessons. As I’ve written before, I switch my in-season and out-of-season closets every fall and spring. I‘d half heartedly send a few items off to charity and cram the clothing that I couldn’t wear into the off-season closet while my everyday closet grew increasingly sparse. I lived in a state of denial, thinking that some day I’d be able to wear a size 12 again.
Before we went to Italy,. I told myself, "Quit messing around. No amount of dieting will get you back into a bunch of your clothes. Get rid of the stuff that you know you’ll never wear again.". I tried on my business suits, dresses, sportswear, cocktail attire, jeans, skirts and pants that I’d been collecting for over twenty years. Gravity has caught up with me, and my middle-aged flab has gone to my waist. The trick of putting a rubber band through a buttonhole and looping it over a button no longer works. Glumly, I laid aside any item that lacked more than two inches of closing.
I was surprised that this experiences was akin to an emotional amputation: Onto the charity pile went the twenty-year-old--but still perfect--classic, gray suit made of fine Scottish wool that Bill’s cousin, helped me find in England. Ditto for the black wool vest that I bought when I started teaching in 1958, the sharp brown wool pantsuit with a short jacket, the black velvet cocktail dress, most of my suits, assorted dresses, blazers and pants. Many items had been gifts from Bill. I even threw in my favorite high-heeled evening pumps in which I stumbled around nowadays like an awkward ostrich. Oh! Oh! Oh!
What’s left fits in less than one closet, and I despise it because I’ve worn it so often.. I have almost nothing to wear! "Dear, just buy new," said my kind husband. It’s easier said than done to replicate a wardrobe collected over twenty years. Bill took me shopping, and little fit or was becoming to me or. was outrageously expensive--even though he would have gladly paid the price to stop my moaning and whining. I came home with two pairs of pants.
Meanwhile, I told Vicki that I was giving most of my clothes to charity. "Don’t you dare! I’m coming down," she said. "You’ll never be able to wear my stuff as you’re shorter and smaller than I." "You forget, Mother dear, that I know how to sew and do alterations."
I was amazed to see how much of my clothing fit her other than needing to be shortened. The black velvet cocktail dress fit her perfectly as did the Scottish wool suit and the brown wool pants suit that I’d worn only a few times .. How could this possibly be? The truth is that as I have gained weight, so has little Vicki. "She said, "I suppose I should get rid of my fours, sixes and eights." I replied, "Vicki, Mother has a wake-up call for you: You’re never going to wear that stuff again in this lifetime."
"As one generation passeth away, another generation cometh." - Ecclesiastes
As I drove to the office this morning, a full golden moon was setting. How exquisite! As if on demand, "Claire de Lune" was playing when I turned on the radio. Somehow my angst over having to give up my clothes didn’t seem so important.
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