Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



All of My Friends

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

That Slip

Mom. With Dad. Don't ask . . .
What articles of clothing do you treasure?
Get foolishly sentimental (ie. I’m never washing this!) over.
And why?
That jacket you bought that Peter Tork sneezed on when you went to that amazing concert back in ’66?
The red dress that was so eye-popping and perfect at the Christmas dance in ’80?
Those jeans that flattered so well and, even as they became more and more ragged, continued to be your best and truest friends from ’78 through to ‘92?
Those boots that were sooo warm and sooo comfortable that you wept when the sole ripped right out of the left one?
That slip.
Slip?
Ummm . . . Maybe I should explain . . .
My Mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the 80s.
It is a horrifying, wasting sort of illness.
For several years, she gamely battled it, exercising, proper diet.
Medications.
But the disease won and she passed into eternity on April 9, 2002.
We were happy for her – she had been so ill.
But sad for the rest of us.
In the months after her death, Dad found homes for her jewellery, clothes and keepsakes.
Each of her three daughters carted home boxes of Mom’s ‘stuff’.
Special because it had been hers.
I had great fun going through my boxes.
Immersing myself in the memories.
I put jewellery into my own case, remembering special pieces Mom had worn.
Set fancy, fun hats on the shelf in the closet, thinking about the times I had sneaked into her closet to play dress-up with them.
Hung up dresses and other clothes. More memories.
And went back to my normal life.
Then, Sunday rolled around.
I should point out here that we dress in our best for Sunday worship services.
It’s just our way . . .
I scrambled through my closet for a slip and grabbed the first one I came to. One of my Mom's.
I slipped it on.
And was immediately immersed in the soft scent of Mom’s ‘special occasion’ perfume.
I had forgotten.
Mom had been ill for so long, and, in all that time, had worn no perfume at all.
Suddenly, I was lost in memories.
Mom hugging me before she and Dad went out somewhere special.
Mom sitting beside me in Church.
Mom smiling across from me in a restaurant.
And thousands and thousands more.
It took me a long time to get ready that day.
Stepping from the softly-lit past into the garishly -coloured present took great effort.
After church, I hung the slip up carefully.
Almost reverently.
And vowed never to wash it again.

15 comments:

  1. Tears in my eyes today Diane...beautiful post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Delores. Tears in mine, too.

      Delete
  2. Oh, yes, tears here, too ... the sense of smell is such a strong invoker of memories, isn't it?

    Do you ever wonder what scent your family might associate with you? I can't wear scented products, so I don't know what mine might be. Cooking smells, maybe :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P. S. Hopefully pizza, not turnip :)

      Delete
    2. I don't' wear perfume, either. Maybe onion?

      Delete
  3. I've been reading but not commenting.. however I could not pass by this one Diane... I cried.. what lovely but sad memories for you... this was utterly beautiful ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why thank you Launna! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  4. Another great post; I loved it. My mother wore a certain kind of perfume too and when I smell it I get flooded with memories too.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know what her perfume was. I wish I did. But I have the slip . . .

      Delete
  5. Oh how sweet. Tears here. I too have some things of my grandma and grandpa. I am glad to know that someone else feels the same way as I do about taking great care of these things that remind us of so many great memories with our loved ones.

    ReplyDelete
  6. With those sort of memories, I wouldn't be washing that slip either.
    I've had several favourite pairs of jeans that I wore until they literally fell apart, t-shirts too. One of the t-shirts is currently hanging in my wardrobe, I don't dare wear it or wash it, it is so fragile now. I'm thinking of having it framed.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good for you, Diane! Never wash that slip. You gave me a lump in my throat.
    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you come out, I'll let you have a sniff!

      Delete

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