017. My Sister’s Closet

I don’t know how I get so lucky.  My granddaughter T.T. likes to surreptitiously take  unposed photos of me on her cell phone and then she posts them on Facebook.  Last night, as a “surprise”, she uploaded 18 more of them.  It is a humbling experience.

If you’ve ever seen the musical “Chorus Line”, you may remember the song called (children, close your eyes) “Tits and Ass”.  In my case, if T.T. is writing a song about me, she’ll be calling it “Chins and Jowls”.

Normally, and this may come as a complete surprise to you, I don’t pay much attention to my appearance.   People who are 79 years old would rather not even discuss the matter.  “Shut up”, she explained.

It wasn’t always this way though.  In my youth, I was wildly concerned with how I looked, and I always had lots of really cute clothes to wear.  Which I could find in my sister’s closet.

If my sister Joan was a clothes horse; I was a clothes horse-thief.  I was very proficient at pilfering her clothes even though she had a 22 inch waist and I didn’t.  A size 22 inch waist is exactly the circumference of a gallon bottle of Clorax, or roughly that of my upper thigh.  Nonetheless, I became quite skilled at hi-jacking anything that didn’t have a waistline or belt.

Joan took very good care of her clothes. They were always gently washed or cleaned, ironed or pressed, neatly folded, carefully hung on a hangar or placed in a sachet-scented drawer. I didn’t approve of this.  In my opinion, when you’re done wearing something, it should go straight into a ball on the closet floor or get kicked under the bed.  This posed some irreconcilable confrontations.

“Mom”, Joan would yell.  “She’s been wearing my clothes again.”  This discovery never failed to upset my sister to the verge of near-hysteria and to avoid exacerbating the situation, I always denied everything.

Unfortunately, I could never remember that the condition of the garment might hint at where it had just been.  My friend Louise and I (with whom I sometimes shared the bounty) had started smoking when we were sixteen (we were so cool) and neither of us ever figured out that the aroma of nicotine on our (Joan’s) clothing might be a dead giveaway.

Joan did though.  “If you weren’t wearing it”, she’d wail after finding her new sweater under a chair, “why does it smell like smoke?  And what is this cigarette hole doing in it?”

Years have passed.  It may seem hard to believe, but not only did my sister fail to commit justifiable homicide, but until recently I was convinced that she actually may have forgiven me.  Now I’m not so sure, though.

Joan and my brother-in-law Tommy moved to Sun City West several years ago.  They have a beautiful home and, conveniently, it has a comfortable guest room.  Everybody in the family loves to visit there.  Especially me.

Only thing is, there’s a closet in the room that puzzles me.  It has sliding doors and during my visit they are kept securely padlocked.  Someday, maybe my sister will tell me why.

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4 Responses to 017. My Sister’s Closet

  1. Gwennie The Younger says:

    I have never felt more at home in your mind than after I read this. Just ask Colleen.

  2. Denise F. says:

    I happen to know that the padlocks on Mom’s closet doors are there to prevent injury to yourself and others.

    All one needs to do is gently nudge the shut door to hear the creaks and cracks and sometimes downright shifting of everything inside fighting for that sweet spot that just opened up in that 1/16 of an inch nudge. The closet likes you when you’ve done this. If you fail to do this in your waking hours, it will speak to you at night. Not pretty. Don’t skip The Nudge.

  3. Anne Gibert says:

    Hi, Pat gave me the link to your blog and I enjoyed reading it a lot. We should meet at the wine shop one day. I’ll put you on my blog roll!

  4. Linda Lewis says:

    Pat, I just can’t even imagine a cigarette hanging out of your mouth! I bet you were always a closet smoker…
    I am glad more kids these days see and understand the results of a smoking habit. Do you remember when you’d sit in a restaurant, and people would light up after dinner, or worse yet, the airlines thought a smoking section was the answer to the recirculated air on a plane. I’m glad those days are behind us.

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