Moving on, letting go

By Evelyn Richardson - Here and There

As I was cleaning out dresser drawers the other day, I threw away a gown. It was hard. That gown was the most comfortable sleeping garment that I have ever had, and what more would a person like me want from a gown?

I bought it at Helen’s Dress Shop in Russellville, sometime before the store went out of business decades ago. I needed a gown that looked halfway decent, in case I should become bedridden for a bit and decent people might be visiting me. Other gowns that I had were fine for sleeping but embarrassing for viewing.

It turned out to be a really good buy. Tags at the neck were not scratchy. Armholes were not binding. The weight of the fabric was suitable for any kind of weather except mid-winter spells. Therefore, I wore it a lot. A lot.

Originally sky blue, the front bodice was decorated with a deeper blue lace applique in a rose design. Not too frilly but enough to reflect the image of nice lingerie. The quality name of Vanity Fair had held up, as the side seam tag, now in a tight little aged knot, could be unrolled and the brand still read.

Natural wear had taken its toll. Waistline seams had given way and had been re-stitched several times. I could tell more than once because different shades of thread had been used from time to time on my zigzag sewing machine.

Areas of the gown that withstood most of my twisting and turning were wearing thin, about ready to be reinforced to prevent splitting. The color had faded to almost colorless because of many washings. The shoulder area was yellow-white, to be honest, affected by natural body oil absorbed as the gown clung close when I slept.

I hadn’t worn the gown for years, kept for a spare in case I needed it, I guess. Should I once again roll it up and place it at the back of the drawer? Why not. Yet, I couldn’t really think of a reason; I have a couple of others that would pass for decent. I laid it on the floor. … Oh, I’ll put it back; I don’t need the space in the drawer for anything else in particular.

But my conscience wasn’t quite satisfied. What if I should decide to wear that gown again, die during the night, and my children would see me so poorly clad. They would be terribly embarrassed. They would want to shield me from the coroner!

That did it. I pulled out the gown and tossed it in the wastebasket this time. (I did weigh the possibility of using it for rags, but the texture of the fabric was not suitable for any duty that I could come up with.)

So far I have not retrieved from the garbage receptacle the once-blue gown with the pretty lace applique that felt so comfortable to wear.

I hope that I can stick to my decision and move on with the loss.

By Evelyn Richardson

Here and There

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