Sunday, December 4, 2011
My Mother's Closet (a Faceshuk post)
But it also means this: her clothes doesn't fit anymore or they're too babyish, or not cool enough, or any of a thousand other reasons she can no longer wear them. She stomps into my bathroom while I'm getting ready each morning, says she needs to go shopping, and then goes shopping. Right then. In my closet.
On the one hand I know I should be pretty grateful she wants to go in there. I am 39 years older than her, after all. Also, I'm glad that we actually fit in some of the same clothes especially since I don't weigh anywhere near 89 pounds. But what's the chance of me having anything hip enough for her?
Turns out that the clothes that are now too young for me are just the right age for her. The clothes I monitor carefully, aware that there's a thin line between dressing well and looking like I'm longing for the 1970s and my own teen years. The stuff that doesn't make the cut gets trotted out for the tween.
This wasn't something I could do when I was a kid in Skokie. First of all, even if our mother's clothes had been attractive to us, I had five older sisters who would have gotten there first. Second, her clothes were never going to appeal to us. I was 12 in 1972, for goodness sakes. I wanted - needed - hippyish clothes, maybe a leather bandanna for my forehead, a halter top, bell bottom baggy jeans, maybe a fringed vest.
My mother's closet was not the place to find these items. The most noticeable thing upon opening its door was the smell of mothballs. Then there were the brocade dresses, the handmade suits, the torturous pumps, the foundation garments. My mother's clothes could actually stand up and walk around by themselves, they were that stiff, they didn't need a human body in them. For a free-wheeling 12-year-old who didn't want to dress like Jackie Onassis, that wasn't the look I was going for.
But here in Scottsdale, in 2011, with a mom who writes at home and has her professional clothes gathered neatly in one side of the closet, it's a windfall for the kid. She looks around at the clothes I think would be perfect for her, rejects them all, steals my favorite top off its hanger and sneaks off before I completely notice what she's doing.
As I'm exiting the bathroom I notice another thing: Bar Mitzvahzilla coming in half-dressed, insisting he also has no clothes to wear. The last thing I see is him heading off to his own shopping spree - in Husband's closet.
Did you ever "shop" in your mom's or sister's closets? Can you? Does your daughter "shop" in yours?
Thanks for reading!
Linda Pressman, author of Looking Up: A Memoir of Sisters, Survivors and Skokie
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Indiebound, in many local libraries, and at Changing Hands in Tempe.
(The "Faceshuk" in the title and this code: 3daa678fe7c57f042a0645dfc6668578 are intended to establish my blog ownership on the Faceshuk site. Check it out!)