Letting Go


My cars sit out in the summer. There’s no way they can go into the garage.   Fires are burning north of here and have been for weeks. The Bay Area air is smoky. I look at the blue plastic tubs of flammable clothing and think, “It would take days for all of this to burn.”

I put on Craig’s List, “Free pioneer clothing, a classroom set.  Prove to me that you are a teacher, and I will give you my address.”

I get one response from a teacher in Daly City. She wants a set for her twenty-two students. A week goes by. No one else can prove they are teachers. I renew the ad.

The second week I get a teacher from Visalia that wants 120 pieces, sixty for girls and sixty for boys.  I start packing it all up when a third teacher says she’ll take it all. When I pin her down, she says she wants clothing for high school kids for their Mormon Trek. Perfect! I am running out of the smaller sizes.

My worker woman happens to be here today, so we start bagging up the skirts and blouses.  By the time she leaves, we have 20 white garbage bags on the driveway.

In three weeks I’ve given away most of my inventory. It’s okay. It’s going to teachers who will appreciate it. I get a tax write-off and maybe even a spot in the garage for one of my cars.

I’ve kept two racks of dresses for the local kids – the blue dresses and blue button-down shirts for the boys.  I’ve given away all the weird colors.

It’s a good feeling to let it go, to close the chapter of online selling. It was getting too painful, with demanding and clueless customers who can’t measure their own kid or know what size he or she wears right now, not last summer. It has taken me weeks to finish up all the dresses and blouses I had in my sewing room, projects that were abandoned last year when I needed to go get my sister and bring her here to live.

I still have dozens of short-sleeved dresses for the Dublin woman. She never sent me her email to prove she is a teacher. I also have sixty little skirts.

I guess I’ll need to renew the Craigslist ad one more time.

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda

Sometimes it’s harder to give things away for free than it is to charge for them. I should’ve charged a price.


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