Day 19, Marian’s closet

The play last night was oooo-kayyy I guess. Into the Woods is a very complicated play with lots of characters, and the Los Altos group did a very good job of staging it in the confines of the tiny Bus Barn Theater. My seat was in the front row and I had to be careful not to stretch out for fear of tripping one of the actors. Most of the cast was competent (the young woman playing Cinderella was really good). But the play itself, oh my goodness. The first act ran an hour and a quarter, the second didn’t start until 9:40 or so, and it is slow and full of long, soliloquizing songs with very little melody. Didn’t get home until 11pm.

Thursday 20/12/2018

Walked to the Y for a workout in chilly fog. Then spent an hour beginning the process of clearing out all Marian’s clothes. I started with drawers in various cabinets. When sister in law Jean arrived, we began the process of dividing the clothes into “thrift shop” versus “consignment”.

Jean said her church’s thrift shop would take all used clothes, even shoes and socks, which surprised me. So everything worn-looking or inexpensive went to them, about 8 large plastic garbage sacks to stuff into the trunk of her car.

Almost that much bulk, four plastic sacks and some jackets and ensembles still hanging up, are the “consignment” collection. I don’t know anything about second-hand clothes stores, so I have emailed a couple of women who might, for advice.

This was not too bad an emotional experience, as long as I kept focussed on the practical job at hand and took care not to picture Marian wearing any of the items or remember a time when she got it or wore it. I was astonished at how much she had neatly (of course) packed away. She had at least 20 nice scarves in a wide variety of patterns, and she almost never wore a scarf. I recognized just one, a very soft knitted lavender-brown one. She bought it in Germany because we kept seeing German women who were wearing scarves and she thought the style looked good.

One object just broke me up. I tried to talk about it to Jean and just could not make my voice work. (Fortunately emotion doesn’t clog up my typing fingers the way it does my throat and mucous membranes…) Sometime in the 1990s, Marian embarked on making a quilt, based on a very elaborate pattern of stitched flowers. She bought the fabric and the matching thread; she stitched probably four complete squares out of the twenty or so in the pattern; cut and sewed parts (stems, petals) for a few more. But she found her eyesight just wouldn’t support the very fine hand-stitching required. She stowed the project neatly in a drawer; once every few years she’d take it out and look at it; but she could never finish it.

So here is this unfinished quilt, a pile of neatly-cut fabric sections, paper patterns and templates, and small boxes of completed components, representing probably a couple hundred hours of work with hundreds more to finish it. Does it go to the landfill?

Jean took it and said she was confident that the thrift shop people would find someone who wanted it. I hope she’s right; anyway it is a relief to have it out the house, I guess.

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