Coat Closet

I said I wasn’t going to clean closets yet, but here I am again, cleaning closets. The decision to have company creates a slippery slope. It’s February and I need a place for guest’s coats. The closet under the stairs is packed so tightly with our own, they almost spring out when I move one.

11 Bob Black Forest cropped

Bob in a favorite leather jacket: Black Forest, mid 1980’s.

I never knew a man who had so many leather jackets. After his death, Bob’s favorite jackets spent a long time in my bedroom closet, taking up physical as well as emotional space. I finally sent several to his nephew and gave one to my brother, and now here are two more I don’t even recognize. I see there are other coats of his, too, and there’s his Burberry. I take it out – it’s minus the liner. I realize now that I saw a coatless liner years ago when I was taking out donations. I wondered then what coat it belonged to, what I should do with it.  Here’s the answer, and it’s come too late.

I take Bob’s coats and a couple of my worn out sweatshirts that shouldn’t even be here, and put them in the donation stack and the rag-bag, respectively. It’s hard to give up the Burberry. He bought it in London before I knew him, at the Burberry store on Haymarket that isn’t there anymore. I went through a phase of wanting one too, but quickly realized it was not in my budget. I bought a Burberry scarf instead.

Bob in his Burberry, Chicago 2003

Bob in his Burberry, Chicago 2003

Bob wore his coat for decades, so, amortized over time it turned out to be a good buy for him.  In the years when we worked for the airlines, we went to London often enough that when he needed his coat repaired, he left it at the store and picked it up next trip.

Sorting stuff out:  it’s a job that seems so simple before I start doing it. Then it gets complicated.

Bob in Bruges, Belgium, 1986

Bob in Bruges, Belgium, 1986


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