Friday, February 26, 2010

The Bin

So Oprah is going to clean out her closet and auction off her used clothing. First of all, I find it remarkable that people are excited about owning someone else’s smelly shoes and worn clothing. I wonder why a woman who is so into helping others has a bijillion pairs of shoes while so many in this world have none. And, what is so exciting about owning a celebrity’s old clothes?

I grew up wearing hand-me-downs. I was thrilled to have something new to wear. However, the best used clothing was that which resided in the old storage bin in the upstairs closet.

I’m not sure or the origin of the clothing. My memory bank has nothing in it resembling my parents or sisters wearing the used clothes. Yet it was the best pile of dress-up clothes any little girl could ever wish for. I do know that the roller skating outfit belonged to my cousin Karen. The green corduroy vest had yellow buttons that matched the yellow satin lining the circle skirt. If you twirled really fast, the skirt flared straight out revealing the gorgeous underside. I did a lot of twirling.

A red chenille jacket was a prize for the wearer. It was a bit tattered but darling in the eyes of a girl of 6. The buttons were rounded and the sleeves narrowed at the wrist. I can’t imagine anyone wearing it in public, but in the dress-up world of a little girl, it was styling.

Mom stored really old shoes in the bottom of the linen cabinet. Old high heels soon found their way to small feet. On the top shelf were the hats. If one could stand tall enough and not fall off the chair, a hat could top off the outfit. A little girl’s paradise.

Once in awhile new items would appear without announcement. I remember an old yellow and brown knitted beret and a bit of lingerie that neither Brenda nor I wanted to wear. Tossed aside we went for the old standards we loved.

I have a feeling that some of the clothing came from a deceased relative or in a bag of old clothing someone handed off to Mom. I like to think that each piece had a family history. Probably not.

The old bin was a precious as the clothing. Probably an old grain or flour bin that had once been in a store, it had two sections that opened from the top revealing on one side a casket sized opening and on the other the smaller bin with dress-up treasures. Sometimes the bin would become a hideout or just a great place to sit and contemplate the closet.

June has the old bin now. It holds many memories for me, memories of giggling girls rummaging through old clothes, the pile of blankets stored in the other bin. Shoes lined up across the top.

I know that my memories of the old bin are not my own for every child who visited Ruth’s house new where the dress-up clothes were waiting for another day of play. There was no value in the clothing in that old bin, but still they were treasures.

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