Friday, October 26, 2012

Robed And Tied


Deb: I love new things. If this is coming as a surprise to you then ... WELCOME to the Middle Ages Blog! You must be new! I love love love new things. I love it when they are new, when they still have their tags on, unworn and full of promise. I love the first time I put something new on, fresh from its closet house, ready to strut its stuff. It’s always exciting for a new outfit as it steps out into the world, waiting with bated breath for admiring glances, compliments, and the ultimate kudos for new hopeful ensembles: the coveted, “Where did you get that outfit?”

So it got me to thinking as I packed for our trip to the Yukon how odd it is that there are some things I do not like new. I seem to be attached to the strangest oldest things in my life and I cannot make sense of it. Examples include my little make-up bags with the Dick and Jane characters fabric and the Doc Marten shoes with the leopard print I bought ten years ago.

The other day I was hanging up my housecoat when it came out of the laundry and noticed a small tear in the shoulder. It can be easily fixed I thought, but it got me to pondering the length of time I have had my bathrobe. I surmised that it must be upwards to eighteen years. Honestly, eighteen years. Am I too lazy to go shopping for a new one? Hardly! I love to go shopping for ... anything! So what is it, thought I? Well, it’s because I am attached to it emotionally. Attached to it like it were a person or an animal or ... a bathrobe, which it is! It’s like a friend, my bathrobe. It is all baby blue chenille with white stars and a yellow crescent moon on it. It is an inanimate object. And it is my friend. My intimate friend.

My housecoat is my go-to for comfort. I think many women feel this way. When I have had a long hard day or even when the light leaves early in the winter months and I come through the door, my welcome and my comfort always comes from my boys, my dogs, and my bathrobe. At this point I might be inclined to say, “Not necessarily in that order,” but I won’t!

My bathrobe and I have been through many colds and flus together, many tears and sadness together, and numerous Buffy the Vampire Slayers and Doris Day movies, which my bathrobe loves!  We have cooked breakfast and collected the newspaper together, taken out garbage cans and recyclers, and picked up dog poo. Housecoat is part of my unglamorous life, my real life. It knows all my intimate details and that’s why I love it. We fit, the two of us, all sloppy and oversized, into the coziest part of my existence. We understand each other and never judge. If my teeth are unbrushed or housecoat has dried egg on its sleeve, we are still good. We are solid. No need for explanations. We are still as attracted to each other as we were on the first day we met, fresh faced and fresh price-tagged.

And I know there will come a day when it becomes threadbare and we will have to part. The fact that the day has not come before this is shocking and sweet. Housecoat hangs in there because it knows that I depend on it. And when the day dawns when it cannot take another mending, I will gently cut the moon and one star out of its faithful self and sew it into a small pillow full of lavender to keep.

And then I will go on the only shopping trip of my life I don’t look forward to.

Barbara: I know Housecoat!! I don’t know why I feel so proud to be able to say this, but I do—I know Housecoat and I love her. She IS cozy and sweet. And utterly Deb. (And I can also confirm from personal experience that Deb really truly does normally like things new—in fact, I have been the happy recipient of a few hand-me-downs … that still have their price-tags on…) But as I was reading this adorable post, I was already racking my brain for my own story of Housecoat. I even started to write my corresponding sentence, “I too have my old…” and then couldn’t think of one damn thing. Not to say that lots of my stuff isn’t old, but that I don’t hold onto it because it means a lot to me. I’m always surprised to realize how relatively un-nostalgic I am. I kinda feel like I ought to be—not by “judgment” standards, but by the way connection is, in other cases, sooo important to me. So today I will live vicariously through you, Deb. Because it sounds awfully lovely.


34 comments:

  1. I don't have a bathrobe, but I have several t-shirts and stretchy pants that are my go to comfort clothes. The t-shirts are worn and frayed, but I don't care. Thank you Deb, for reminding us of those small, simple beauties in life. There is a little comfort and joy everywhere if we think to look for them.

    Deb, I so want to have a Doris Day movie marathon with you! Perhaps someday we can sit down on a comfy couch, in our comfy clothes and laugh, cry and sing our way into a state of Doris Day bliss. Have a lovely weekend!

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    1. Molly we must have a Doris marathon! I would love it. And I'm happy that you are attached to some comfort clothes!

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  2. I know this bathrobe. I remember when it hit the stores oh those many years ago but I already had three bathrobes and just couldn't do another one. I am like you Barb, I don't hold on to things when they don't fit anymore or when they have lost their luster or have too many holes. I don't like to shop but when I see something I like when I am out and about, I will get it in many colors. I am not a fashionista, never have been as much as my Mom tried to show me the way. I often think what would I take in a fire, my photos all in a basket would be one of the items and then trinkets from my travels and my passport. I did have the opportunity to shop with Deb when I was in Toronto.She had seen a purse she wanted to look at. She knew all the designers by name and eventually passed that day on buying the purse because she really didn't need it for her birthday. Colin was going to buy it for her but she was picking it out. She is truly a fashionista.

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    1. Yes in fact, I saw it the other day in a re-run of Beverly Hills 90210! Thanks Madge!!!

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  3. I have a favorite bathrobe too. It truly is falling apart now, but I won't let it go. Comfort items are like good friends, they wrap around you and you feel stronger or more relaxed. I love that when it is "time " for your loved bathrobe to go Deb that you will cut out moon and star and fill them with lavender and make them a pillow, so you can now lay your head on your trusted friend. I loved this gentle blog today! Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Jo, I'm so glad you have a comfort friend in your bathrobe. And yes if I have to finally let it go, it WILL be a pillow. I actually went online the other day to see if my robe is still made and it is. So I will at least have it's granddaughter when the time comes!

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  4. I love you, Gripes.

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  5. I love that you're already planning for the grieving process. A sachet will be lovely.

    Like Barbara, I can't think of anything in my wardrobe that elicits this kind of emotion.

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  6. Yes I am FB! I have found it's twin online. they still make it!!! Isn't that great?

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  7. Wow. How ironic. I am totally wearing a pair of sweats today that I've had for at least five years. And I am in no hurry to get rid of them!

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  8. I have two bathrobes that I wear after a shower and that's pretty much it. The thing that I've treasured for some 25 years are my Pee-Wee Herman socks. They hold a special place in my heart (and drawer).

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    1. Eileen that is fantastic. Pee Wee socks!

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  9. I've got my few favorite oldies as well including my robe which is about 16 years old. It's a place of comfort and warmth for a cold lazy day with a mug of green tea, the fireplace blazing and a good book to read. My other comfort item is a sweater which started out as my husbands but was claimed as mine years ago. It's huge on me but oh so soft and comfy for those feeling sick/down in the dumps days.

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    1. Erin I am loving finding others who have my little quirk shall we say?

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  10. Aww I love how the more I think about this topic the more I realize how much my things really mean to me. I have a stuffed Winnie the Pooh that I got when I was 1 and it would qualify as one of those items I would make sure I brought out of the house if it were on fire. I used to need it to sleep when I was little but now it is just more of a reminder of home and love. I even brought it to college with me. : ) It looks like it is about 100, and held together with mis-matched stitches and even a hairband holding the shirt on because I stretched it out taking it on and off a million times when I was little. My first tattoo was of Winnie the Pooh too so I guess I will always have the Pooh with me if the stuffed one ever becomes too worn. : )

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    1. I LOVE Winnie the Pooh! How great that you two have been together for so long! I would be hanging onto him, too. (Now I'm going to have to put Pooh on my Christmas list.)

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    2. Ahhhh Pooh Bear! He is big in this house. The boy loved Poo Bear! So do I!

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  11. I confess. I do not own a housecoat (or a robe). I don't own anything that I am not willing to part. It might be just that when one moves a lot, there is no time to get attached to items. I think that I am most attached to my passport, but do to the legislation I will have to apply to a new one every five years (and pay myself silly for it). Now, maybe I need to elaborate a bit with this willing to part with anything that I own. I do these mental exerzises on things that could possible turn my world upside down and destroy my life as I know it. When I was younger I adored some items/clothes that I had, and would become overly emotional for just thinking about something happening to them. I noted that this weakness could be used against me and I needed something to protect me. So when it was time to go to bed, I tried imagine all the possible ways I could loose the items. I continued this untill I didn't mind what happened. Material is material, and there is plenty of it. I had few items break down during the summer, and I had to keep it as a secret untill my bday had gone. Just because then people would have bought me new ones, which I didn't need since I was moving. :) I later told my friends that they can buy me new ones in few years if they still wished to do so. ( = was just going to comment really quickly and shortly...)

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    1. I'm like you, Kasku. I've had things that I've loved - a set of hand-hammered silver cutlery that I bought in Thailand and a sword that I bought at the Shaolin Temple in China - but I try not to feel too strongly about things. I'm still disappointed that the Chinese sword was stolen when my house was broken into a few years ago, and when I go to China sometime in the future I will go back to the Shaolin Temple and get myself another sword, but only because I like to say I own a sword from there.
      The silver cutlery I gave to a friend in Korea, because she loved them too and I was moving.

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    2. Kasku it is perfectly normal either way I think. Doing the things you do is your way of protecting yourself and it totally works for you. You too Hannah. For me the protection is in the attachment. Would I survive if I lost them? Yes I would. I have never been one to obsess over a broken dish or lamp or even something very precious as I have always known them to be what they are-things. But, there are some things I just feel close to and for me, it's a sweet bond. Some would think I'm crazy! ;-)

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  12. This is going to sound really gross but mine was a pillow. Was because well, I had to very reluctantly lay it to rest. (22 years later) This was a foam pillow that I stole from my parents bed as a 20 year old when I moved out on my own to live in the Beaches. Why? I loved that pillow and all the smells of home, my parents. When I got sick I took to my parents huge custom bed to watch TV, sleep and snuggle with my Mom and yes sometimes my Dad, Mom, the dogs, my brothers and sisters..yes a big bed. So this pillow, went with me everywhere..to cottages, hotels, camping,back to my parents house, their farm, you name it. When I'd be upset or couldn't sleep I only had to take a couple deep whiffs and all would be good. Now this pillow - well really wasn't much of a pillow anymore just a pile of powder and of course horrors- mite shit I believe. Regardless of how much my husband wanted me to get rid of it, I would seal it up tightly, cover in a gorgeous case and put it on my side of the bed as the guest of honour. Oh ya, he really hated that thing..yet when I left it in Kitchener at some flea bag establishment after a wild Octoberfest weekend, it was he who turned around to retrieve my coveted friend. It was only upon learning that the owner of the hotel was lying on it with his greasy hair when my husband was rescuing my prize did I finally decide it was time this extension of my parents/my childhood home had to go. The sanctity was violated My Linus was hard to say goodbye to but in pillow years it was a record holder for sure. Weird, but now I only have to think of that damn pillow, I can still smell the calm, feel the hugs, the devotion that so enveloped my soul. My husband well he is happier than happy and thinks I am loosing it when now I insist on replacing the pillows every year...go figure.

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  13. Don't worry, Barbara, I don't have a Housecoat (or a housecoat) either. I've never been nostalgic about things. I'd like to think it's because I put a high value on experiences and freedom, so I don't let myself keep too much stuff, but actually I've been like this my whole life.
    As a child, I used to collect figurines, and line them up on my dresser. Little bone china dolls that I thought were incredibly valuable but in retrospect were probably dollar store finds. When I was about eight or ten years old, my sister and cousin were jumping on my bed and knocked my dresser over, sending the entire collection smashing down into a pile of shards on the bedroom floor. I remember being more annoyed that they'd been in my room than upset about the loss of my treasures.
    Similarly, I had a teddy bear that I'd been given as a infant. Jenny Teddy was married to my brother's Albert Teddy, and had a prized place by my pillow. My sister admired Jenny, and so one day when I was about twelve I gave her the bear, and honestly I haven't ever missed her. My sister, on the other hand, still has her Blankie that she's had since infancy. It wore out when she was about six, and my mom re-covered it, and my sister has never parted from it. It still goes with her on every overnight trip, and will accompany us to South America. When Blankie wears out, I'm sure she'll get re-covered again and again.
    I have a few treasures kicking around that I've kept because I feel I ought to, and I felt pretty guilty when I thought I'd lost the gold ring my grandmother gave me, but I really don't own anything that I feel nostalgic about. Maybe I'm just cold-hearted. ;)

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    1. Not cold hearted at all Hannah, but we aren't all wired for that kind of attachment. I get it, I do. For me I have always been attached to things. Always.

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  14. I understand this (hi)story completely. I have my bunny blanket, which my parents gave to me in 1987 when I headed off to college. It's light blue fleece, with a row of carrots and a row of bunnies along the short edge. I LOVE fleece. I will never NOT love fleece, but this blanket is not my ordinary fleece. It came with me through college, through both marriages, through a few moves, (happy to protect my speakers a couple of times). I have folded up fleece throws and gone back upstairs to get my bunny blanket. To wrap up in when it's cold downstairs. To cuddle under for a quick nap. To pull out slightly from under a cat and use for a snuggly flat pillow. To be warm and fluffy.
    It's as warm now as it was then. A run through the wash and a visit with a dryer sheet brings it back to brand new. I'm hoping it sets a record for longevity of a fleece blanket, because I can't snuggle up with anything else as comfortably, nor do I want to.

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    1. Bunny blanket is the best! Such a friend Dawn. Love it.

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  15. I have a pair of pj pants that I've had for forever...we were clothes cleansing a while ago and I pulled them out and just said "no..........I can't get rid of these." Kelly has a pair of pj pants that SHE'S had for forever (like literally, I think we MIGHT have been in like middle school or something when we got them). I have no plans to get rid of my Snuggie anytime soon and I've had it for about a year. I have a stuffed dog (yes...I know, I'm 22 years old) that I still sleep with EVERY night that I've had since I was 7.

    So yes, I like my comfortable things. :)

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    1. Love it! You are both in the club!

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  16. I loved reading this entire blog!!! I'm only 17 though >_> so~ although i have had some things for a l~ong time...it is hardly comparable to your 18 years of owning the robe :P

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    1. That's okay Garrett at least you are already starting by having things a looong time.

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  17. I don't have a housecoat, but I do have Richie. Richie is a Teddy bear I got when I was 6, and he is my dearest friend. He's older now, and has been mended more times than I can count but I still fall asleep at night with him wrapped tightly in my arms...

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  18. Well, the last bit of my post got cut off. What the hell?

    What I was going to say is that I dread the day when my bear can no longer be mended, because unlike Housecoat, they don't make Richie anymore. :(

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  19. I can so relate to Richie April as I have Floddies and he is so threadbare that I keep him in a glass cabinet now afraid to handle him much.

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