My favorite clothes--the soft, preowned, cozy ones I love to wear--all came from the recycling room at the Meredith, New Hampshire town dump.
This was no ordinary dump. It was a state-of-the-art, model establishment of which even a summer resident could be proud. Way ahead of its time, the pristine Meredith dump had separate sections for each type of garbage. But for me, the highlight was the recycling room where the clothes bin had a special allure. It was quite amazing the things people would discard. For example, a turquoise cashmere sweater with just one elegantly repaired hole has, since the 80s, been one of my favorite garments.
I'm fact, today I'm wearing my flowered Liberty of London shirt with some matching blue pants, and yesterday I got a compliment on my designer linen jacket--all from you know where. Then for rainy days, there's the Louis of Boston silk raincoat.
Orvieto has an elegant but friendly new leather shop where I love to bring our house guests and watch them ooh and ah, as they delightedly make their purchase. Although I admire the inventory and take vicarious joy in their excitement, I cling to my own latest man-made fiber bag--the black LLBean one I found on a closet hook looking lonely and abandoned by some member of my family. Practical but no beauty pageant winner, it has been serving me well for several years, and I had planned to use it until it gave up the ghost. As anyone who has ever bought anything from LLBean knows, this could take a while--maybe even the rest of my life.
So imagine my surprise to find myself admiring a "transformer" purse that can convert into a sleek back pack. (It may even be the same one that had caught the eye of another stylish house guest who was here earlier in the summer. The one who had a ball trying on many bags before emerging triumphantly with her selection.)
On this particular trip to the purse store my husband, a great shopper who has no retail anxiety, saw it first: the bag that cried out its readiness to dethrone my sensible black Bean number, and Cousin S and her friend C agreed completely.
I'm not sure why, but for once, I didn't actually obsess too much about whether to buy this "wonder bag" would be a good idea. Maybe it helped that sensible, discreet C, who had arrived sporting a back-pack style purse was singing the praises of being able to move about with both hands free.
Our Cousin S, who has the same shopper genes as my husband, was convinced from the get-go that this purse was what was missing from my life. And in any case, after quickly buying a nice bag for herself, she decided she would also help me move into mine.
A quick study, she recognized right away that to buy the thing was only the first hurdle. Her visit would be over the next morning, and she wasn't leaving until I had made the transition.
GULP! Transitions have never been my forte, and without a lot of encouragement, bullying, etc., I would surely have allowed that new purchase to languish for quite a while before making the move.
But Cousin S who knows all about tough love would have none of my stalling.
I started the morning off slowly, staying in bed as long as possible. Then, in preparation for the purse-move, I took a few pre-move photos just to take the edge off, and started writing about what was to come. I noticed, for example, that my beautiful new transformer bag/purse/back pack had come in a lovely orange shopping bag. Inside that bag, was another fancy bag inside which was my new bag. Those nested Russian dolls that I like a whole lot better than changing purses came to mind.
|Here's the outermost of the nested bags.|
|In true Russian, nested, matryoshka doll-style, the colorful orange shopping bag held a fancy, inner, drawstring bag that held the new bag.|
|This is how it looked before I approached the hurdle of filling it.|
|Here's how it looks from the rear, with all its back-pack transformer features on view. A small tug down on the straps, and PRESTO!, it's an elegant back pack.|
In keeping with the Russian dolls theme, Cousin S started out by offering me two little organizer bags from her own collection that could help me organize the stuff that would go into the new bag. But first she made me get a bowl into which I could dump everything inessential from the old bag.
|One last look at these before they get the boot into the specially designated "you're not carrying this crap around with you any more" bowl.|
With only a half hour to go before her departure, Cousin S was all efficiency as she coached/coaxed me into making the leap. Not interested in any of my charming back stories about my discomfort with anything but dump goods, she not only got me into the new bag. She TOOK its predecessor, the old LLB bag away with her! Ditto for the wallet with the velcro closings that I had found discarded by my son--the one that he and my daughter-in-law had tried for the past few years to get me to give up. The very one that he had received from a French friend a few decades before, and that had come with an imitation French carte d'identité. (See photo--shh..don't tell Cousin S, but I managed to keep that for old time's sake.)
So here I am back at the dentist's, where I am most Wednesdays. But this Wednesday is different since I'm taking my new bag on its maiden voyage. (BTW, this is not the first time I have written about a maiden voyage in the context of my dentist. See TAKING MY NEW FRONT TEETH FOR A SWIM )
So how does it feel to have survived the trauma of changing purses? So far, so good, although as I glance over at this beautiful leather thing, I find myself doing a double-take, unsure of whose it could be.
|And when not in use, doesn't it look great just hanging on the stairs awaiting its next outing?|
Cousin S must have felt some misgivings about that, herself, and reported that she had donated the bag to a grateful fellow guest at the agriturismo which would be her next stop. That eased my pain a bit, but since no mention was made of the whereabouts of the French, velcro-enhanced, nylon, gray wallet with the endearing kelly-green trim, I am worried that it is missing me.