The Archive of Days Past: 1

April 8, 2020 § 5 Comments

One of the ways I have coped with this scary, uncertain time is to randomly read a day from one of my old journals. Whether bad or good, that day is safely in the past—I know the thread of my life continued to unspool after it passed—and some of the entries cheer me up, like this one.

October 9, 1997

I’ve been wearing a pair of black tights Josie calls my “elephant tights.” They bag around my knees and bunch at my ankles. They don’t snap tight against my legs in the way the word “tights” leads you to believe they should.

I am, in fact, suffering a general elastic failure. My underpants too slosh around my hips as loopy as a sombrero. I have not shrunk. My clothes have grown. Every band of elastic has let out its breath, given up.

At work, I stepped out of my half-slip carrying cardboard to the recycle bin. Perfect timing. Had I been anywhere near Howard (desk to my left) it would have ended up on my tombstone. But perhaps that old slip was showing loyalty. I’ve had it since high school. That’s 28 years of keeping my skirt from walking up my legs.  Such service! A slip worthy of being bronzed.

When you keep clothes as long as I do they seem more like companions than fashion statements. The staunchest among them have a greater life expectancy than most large mammals, and all birds with the exception of parrots.

Lately I buy nothing but secondhand clothes. The original owner washes the stiff out, then gets bored, and bags the garment for Goodwill. But when I buy it for cheap the dress or shirt is still up for long years of useful life. Some fabrics, like denim, improve as they mature. They stay strong but grow supple. They get familiar with the physical shape of the wearer. Me.

Shoes have a shorter life span. Especially shoes taken for regular walks and worn daily, like mine. They still last, but over time you have to cut those shoes some slack. The rubber pad on the bottom of the heel wears away first, giving you a peek at the honeycomb construction inside. The honeycombs pick up pebbles and sand when you take those shoes for a walk, and deposit little heaps when you walk back inside.

If your every-day shoes are black, and if you have polished them semi-faithfully, they will have developed handsome, intelligent wrinkles across the insteps. They will have the wizened sheen of salted Italian olives.

Following heel failure, the sole will begin to separate from its uppers. At about this time you will start feeling sorry for your shoes. You will refrain from putting your feet up, concealing their decrepitude, but they’ll be awfully comfortable. And they will be old friends. And you will think, they’re not so bad. Not completely tragic. Think I’ll go for a walk.    

Note: The shoes in the photo are current. My daughter is still embarrassed.

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§ 5 Responses to The Archive of Days Past: 1

  • craigreeder7304 says:

    Now that we are in our more “mature” era of our lives, your description of those shoes sure do Stan as a wonderful and loving metaphor for our own wizened selves.


  • Mark Burns says:

    Love this post.


  • Rhonda Burns says:

    Beautifully written!


  • Paul of Flowerland Mountains on Shangrila Farm says:

    Everyone remember Logan’s Run, where one lived to – but not past – age 30? (starred Michael York as a not so young man): How much was lost to the population with the enforced euthanasia of all “beyond”?: Which I find somewhat concurrent with some current politician’s expressions about letting COVID19 “take” away the non-productive elders for the sake of making more $ … But it seems that I really do not know any non-productive adults or elders of any label; all of the ones I know of are actively doing “something” to make the world a better place to live in; and – like Ms Adrian – I too like comfortable shoes that grow around my feet rather than the new ones that isolate me from the world … and even today mom (age 91 & in hospice) despairs of my hair!


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