November 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
When I lived in Baltimore I did a lot of walking and wandering. As a young, poor student I also was very money savvy. My friends and I frequented the thrift stores that bordered our college. The best shops were often in the seediest parts of town. There was usually a security guard waiting at the front door. I guess it was a necessary job to deter someone from stealing a $3 pair of jeans.
One of my favorite places was Value Village on North Avenue. They had daily deals and a constant influx of new old stuff. (Mutually agreed as a favorite thrift spot.) I often had to go there for odd supplies for art projects. Metal things for constructing a cake stand, fabric bits for making a teepee and occasionally, okay always, I would look around for hidden gems to adorn myself.
Shoes, one of my biggest weaknesses and cravings, were always a section I had to go poke around. Plus, as a Floridian living up north, I was always on the lookout for warm and cosy items.
I spotted these moccasins and there was just something about them. Yes, they were a little dingy. Yes, they were falling apart a bit at the seams. No matter, I had to have them and they were merely $2. I actually liked the way someone had tried to repair them. At the time, they were fixed with a little red thread. I was majoring in fiber, after all, sewing and stitching is a love of mine.
I bought these shoes and still have them all these years later. I have since added some new, green thread in an attempt to keep them alive longer. They are wearing away more and more each day, but they continue to be reliable, cosy, dirty and completely, nostalgically lovable.
October 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
I never had a sister to trade clothes with. I never sought out hand-me-downs or hand-me-ups from my brothers. However, sometimes when my mom would get rid of old clothes, especially when I was away from home, living states apart, I would cling to her old, cosy clothes.
Like this grey sweater. It already had some little holes, probably a reason she was getting rid of it, and I loved it. I accidentally shrunk it in the wash, but then I still loved it more. It became like an old stuffed bear or blanket. The more disheveled this sweater has become, the more I want to put it on and feel the tight squeeze of my mom.
Sometimes I daydream about these old clothes. I wonder if I went to with my mom to the Gap when she bought this. I wonder if I was trailing along, playing under the racks of collared shirts and khaki pants with my younger brother. Maybe I had brought along a friend and we were fawning over the fancy things we might one day wear.
I think about my clothes a lot. I think about the emotional power they have over me. I consider if this makes me crazier. Either way, I love to pull this shrunken number over a dress and rub the softness of it. I feel for those little tears in the sleeve and think about my mother.
October 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
Several years ago I went to meet an old boyfriend’s paternal grandparents. They were very Italian. They were vivacious. They loved that I did not follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
There were so many memories shared, there were so many mementos brought out to gaze upon. As we were leaving that night, the grandfather took me aside and brought me to a large closet. It was brimming with clothes. He pulled this bright, floral top from one of the racks. It still had the new tags. It had huge shoulder pads.
He handed it to me and told me that his wife was probably never going to wear it and probably never going to remember that she even had it. It was both thoughtful and bittersweet.
Flash forward many years later and this top, sans should pads, became one of my most worn closet essentials. I wore it until the delicate fabric began to shred. And I still wore it some more. I fixed the holes with bright pieces of thread and wore this blouse until even those new threads began to fray, too.
So, Nona Lina, the beautiful, ex-circus contortionist, accordion playing grandmother, thank you for this lovely blouse that smiled at me for years. I’ll probably still keep it in my closet for years and years.