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Cleaning Out Memories
by Pam Smith Williamson

For three days Iíve been cleaning out my closet. This should be easy, but itís not Ė itís an ordeal. Too many difficult decisions!

While cleaning, my brain talks to me like this:

ďShould I part with the outfit I wore to niece Clare's rehearsal dinner in Boyle? Sister Pat and I showed up in almost twin, celery green outfits. How OLD is that outfit now - was that 1996? I think I am going to give it up! And I really should part with this LAST jogging swish suit. Itís still nice though, with the pretty white parachute material and the coral trim and geometrics. I wore that in San Francisco the time Mom and I went in October. I was the only one in San Fran in anything other than brown or black; I stood out like a sore thumb and felt like a fool (well, more like Casper the Ghost) on a street car!Ē

And so it goes. I can remember and associate EVERY outfit with a story or event. That is why I hate to clean out my closet . . . itís like getting rid of my memories!

Now Iím parting with sweat shirts from Kiawah Island, Longboat Key, Aspen, Snowmass, Park City, Carmel, San Francisco Ė all purchased on special vacations with loved ones.

I am also pitching several Florida State Seminole sweat shirts. Face it, itís too dang hot for a sweat shirt in Florida for football games. I don't know why I even bought all those. I guess I picked Ďem up when I went to one game a year in Tally. The weather was never cold, and the games were almost always played in the afternoon when the sun was out so the TV stations could air them on National TV (when the Seminoles were good)!

OK, I guess Iíll part with about ten old, faded turtle necks. Iíll keep four. I never wear those either, not even out west on ski trips. Now we wear that light-weight fleece; anyway, I can't stand turtlenecks up around my neck (the high ones) Ė thatís an awful feeling.

I guess Iíll get rid of the green/blue nautical outfit I wore to grandson Wesley's seventh birthday party at the skating rink. Mom was there Ė four generations! A special day for all of us. See, I could have a story with every outfit.

[sigh] Iíll definitely part with my schoolteacher vest and four other vests. I doubt Iím going to wear those for a golf-cart ride around ďthe hood.Ē Nope! Itís funny how your attire changes over a lifetime. I hate to fold up my "teacher vest," the one with a little black/white cat on a stool by the blackboard, and a ruler, etc. Makes me cry almost, but Iím retired. Wonít need it any more. Iíll put it in the bag for Goodwill.

Well, so far, I have filled two lawn-sized garbage bags and Iím working on a third. The more I pull out, the braver I get to part with things, but there are some things I still can't pitch, although I know I will most likely never wear them again.

How can I get rid of that beautiful wispy-like, silky, outfit in chartreuse and gray Ė pants, shirt, and shell with little white leaves on it? I wore it for Christmas Dinner in Bermuda once when Mom and I took that wonderful trip.

All the t-shirts are folded in piles and off the hangers, no telling where I will put them. I have no place, but I can't part with them yet as they are from all over Europe Ė to me, collector's items! I told hubby Bill not to EVAH let me buy another t-shirt or sweat shirt in this lifetime. But I am not parting with any of my sweat shirts that I got in Europe. Too many memories.

Well, I will continue to purge. Seems I just keep buying clothes and can't fit them in if I don't clean out ever so often.

But cleaning out the closet brings back memories Ė makes me think of days gone by . . . and they are going by way too fast.

P. S. ~ Iíve just found out I can send my favorite t-shirts and sweatshirts (and even baby clothes, men's ties, cap emblems, etc.) off to professional quilt makers and they will make a quilt of them. One quilt, a California King, can display 49 t-shirt fronts!

Thatís what Iíll do. Iíll treat myself to one of those quilts for my 65th birthday Ė that will make me feel much better. Then my T-shirts . . . and the memories . . . will always be mine!


Pam Smith Williamson is a Mississippi Delta native who has made Florida her home for many years. She's a "regular" on the USADEEPSOUTH Front Porch, where she entertains with her running commentary on the joys of retirement.

~ More great reading at USADEEPSOUTH.COM ~








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