It was wool, its color dimmed and lost in time. It had mud on it, the kind a three-year-old gets when she plays outside on December days when the weather warms up. It was folded away in a dress box tied closed with...something. I don't know what the binding was, just that what was in the box was saved to protect part of my mother's heart. It was Christine's coat. Christine who died the winter of 1941 when she was three.
My mother saved a lot of stuff. So did my mother-in-law. The sheer amount of it lent me a determination not to save that much. I think I'm safe in saying 99 percent of the people in my generation feel exactly the same way.
But we need to be careful. In what we save. What we use. What we throw away.
Other than being a trifle excessive when it comes to shoes, I don't think I'm a "things" person. If I don't use it, I don't want to have it. However, sometimes a memory will be connected to a thing, and there you go. Upstairs in a closet hangs a blue nylon dress my sister bought for me when she was still in high school and worked at Senger's in the 50s. I wore it and my daughter wore it. Since my shortest granddaughter is in the six-foot range, I doubt she'll be interested in it.
I broke the spoon rest that had belonged to Aunt Gladys. I moaned about it, glued it back together, and put it up in the cabinet where I wouldn't damage it anymore. Yesterday, I got it out and returned it to its rightful place beside the stove. I'll use it and wash it every day. I'll think of Aunt Gladys playing pool on her lunch hour and sending cards with violets on them to my mom to let her know she wasn't alone with memories and thoughts of a little girl who'd left them too soon.
So I'll keep the blue dress and the spoon rest just as Mom kept the coat. For memories of my own. And that's reason enough.
Have a great week. Be nice to somebody.