Monday, May 14

Day 134 — Granny's Closet

granny's closet — May 14

It seems macabre to take a photo of a dead woman's closet, but there is an irrepressible streak of sentimentality running through me, and sometimes I do macabre things to satisfy it.

Today my father spent his first day of vacation finishing up cleaning out my dead great-grandmother's house. She has been gone since February of '05, so this process has taken more time than you might imagine is ideal. My dad called my mom at around noon and asked if she could bring a box fan to help dry the carpet where a leak had sprung in the utility room. My mom was up to her elbows in potting soil, so I took the fan for her.

When I got there and saw what an impenetrable mess still remained, I offered to help out. My dad suggested that I grab some garbage bags and pilfer my way through the remaining two closets to bag up clothes, shoes, and handbags to give to Goodwill. His advice? "Watch out for spiders." Which is kind of the exact opposite of something you would say to me if you wanted me to get anything at all done.

But I dove in with caution, and very carefully — at first — removed each item of my great-grandmother's wardrobe from its home in her bedroom closet, and stuffed it into a gaping black plastic bag. I'm not sure I can describe how disrespectful that felt, taking an old woman's belongings and cramming them into trash bags to be discarded. Her dresses still smelled like her. How odd, since they'd been sitting there in an un-air-conditioned house for two years. Her smell was always a mixture of face creams, powder, and musk. It pretty much defined how I thought "Old" smelled. And there that smell was, still lingering on clothes that hadn't been touched in years.


There were a few pieces I came across that I absolutely could not part with, so I stuffed them into my car's back seat and brought them back to Memphis with me. I can't wear them, obviously, as Granny wore a size or two smaller then I do. Not to mention the fact that I try to avoid polyester when at all possible. And I can't exactly pull of the 1962 housecoat look. But I imagine I can find something to do with those pieces. I'd rather cut them up and make something out of them than just ship them off to Goodwill. Maybe that's selfish. But not everyone is lucky enough to get to even meet their great-grandmother, much less stow away some of her clothes and belongings. But I don't want to forget my Granny. And if that means keeping little reminders of her around me, then that's what I'll do.

Project 365

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Anonymous jag said...

I brought home one of my grandfather's flannel shirts after his funeral. I'll never wear it outside the house, if at all (actually, I wore it Christmas morning), but I'll also never get rid of it.

Wed May 16, 03:44:00 PM  

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