In the purging days of the global pandemic, now in its 9th month, I have cleaned out drawers, cupboards, closets, rooms, garages, you name it.
I thought I was almost done. With the changing of the seasons, I realized it was time to pack away the cotton dresses on the overloaded rack in the back of my closet. What else do you do on Black Friday when it’s not safe to go shopping?
I plucked the cotton dresses and put them on the bed. I noticed some hangers were plastic and some were the skinny black velvet hangers. The hangers needed to match, of course.
Boy, do I have a lot of black dresses! I put them together on the rack, moving blues with blues, greens with greens, reds with reds, etc. I put the Halloween costume dresses in the far corner. No Halloween party this year, except on Zoom, and it was mostly masks.
I even had enough yellow and gold dresses to group together, even some brown ones.
How did I end up with so many dresses? The short answer is that I dated a swing dancer for five years, and we danced once or twice a week. Of course, it’s more fun to swing dance in a dress, because blue jeans just don’t twirl.
But that ended more than five years ago. Hadn’t I looked at my dress collection since then? There were dresses from catalogs, from thrift stores, from Macy’s, Coldwater Creek, and JC Penney. Fancy dresses, evening length dresses, dresses for my daughter’s upcoming wedding, which was postponed last spring.
There were size smalls, mediums, and larges (my weight goes up and down from year to year). Just as soon as I pack up a size, the season comes back around, and I’m a different size.
There were short ones, even shorter ones, and long dresses that I shortened (why did I do that?). Now, as a senior citizen and not comfortable in high-heeled shoes (a balance thing), I wish I hadn’t cut them off. A long dress would help hide my clunky old-lady shoes.
But I digress.
Even after packing up the summer dresses and sticking them in a tub the very back corner on the floor of my closet, I still had 30-40 dresses hanging on the back rack – purples, one hot pink, reds, blues, turquoise, green, black, black, black. Lots of polka-dotted ones, too.
Ruffles, belts, vintage, straight, plain, low cut, high-necked, and two dresses from my chorus which is on hiatus until the vaccine.
I’m not ready to let them go. But seriously. I haven’t worn a single one since the pandemic started. At this rate, I won’t be able to wear each dress one more time before my dancing days are done.
Now the hangers match, the colors match, and the rack isn’t sagging so much in the center. I had lots of good memories and some bad as I handled each dress.
“I wore that at Margo’s Christmas party.”
“That was my first date with the conspiracy-theory swing dancer.”
“That was from a party way back when I was married.”
“That one is older than my youngest child.”
“I should send that one to the cleaners, but the vintage rhinestones might not survive.”
“That one was always too too tight.”
“That one looks like a nightgown.”
It was a walk down memory lane, something I needed today. Memories of twirling and swirling on the crowded dance floor in simpler times.