I Don’t Want to Die With So Many Clothes in My Closet
I have more clothes in my closet than I can count. And unlike Wanda Petronski, the protagonist in The Hundred Dresses my clothes are real ones accumulated over the past two decades. I can only imagine Wanda’s classmate Peggy demanding that I describe each item I own. Some tell a story, like the denim jacket I bought when my Rotary Club spent a week in Bishop, California hiking and fishing and enjoying the outdoors alongside the Rotarians from that area. Others sit anonymously on felt lined hangars and I have no memory of when or where they were acquired. I was thinking the other day that I don’t want to die with so many clothes in my closet.
It wasn’t always this way. The day after Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992 I went from having a closet filled with clothing (not nearly as much as I now own) to having less than twenty items that were salvageable. It wasn’t a big deal to me then and I must have replaced items slowly over the following months because I do not recall a shopping spree of any kind all those years ago. Slowly my inventory grew to outlandish proportions and has remained that way for twenty years or so. During this time I’ve always known I had too many clothes. It took my observing the reaction of people surrounded by them to make me see the situation from a different perspective.
While my extended family from Finland was visiting me in California for the first time during the summer of 2015 I waited for a day we would be staying close to home to make my special invitation I hoped they couldn’t refuse. I took my step-daughter and her three daughters ages fourteen, eleven, and five upstairs to my walk-in closet to look around and choose anything they wanted to take home with them. They tip-toed through my Master Suite with vaulted ceilings, past the double sinks, Jacuzzi tub, and shower big enough for three adults to stand comfortable, and into my closet. This room is the size of a small bedroom with three windows near the top looking out over the local mountain range. They stopped in their tracks when the five of us were all standing inside of this closet with plenty of room for several more people to join us.
More shocking to them than the closet’s dimensions was the contents; double rows of shelves and hanging areas with shirts, blouses, jackets, dresses, skirts…