May 14, 2012
Next weekend, for the second year in a row, I’m planning to attend the DFW Writers Conference. As I am scheduled to pitch the premise of my murder mystery/suspense novel, By Her Daughter’s Hands, I want to go into the meeting with every possible advantage: a winning book idea and a favorable first impression. And as I march into the “star chamber” for my pitch, I know my mother, who was my writing coach, will be cheering me on.
Last year, finding clothes was not a problem. I’d simply breeze into my favorite boutiques, Coldwater Creek and Chico’s, and slap down one of several credit cards to fund fetching “finds”.
This year, however, I’ll have to channel my inner fashionista in a more creative way: by sticking with what already hangs in my closet. You see, just last month, I paid off and then shredded credit cards when the bills got out of hand, so I’m strictly a debit/check/cash girl, now.
At times like these, I wish for my mother. I miss her unconditional love and the companionship of a fellow writer and former teacher, her expert coaching, and access to her wardrobe. From 1995-2004, she and I holed up together, after my Daddy passed away. Although Lois Terry, former free-lance writer of poetry, short-stories, and articles and a teacher of speech, English, and reading was in her eighties, she had remarkably young taste in clothing styles. In fact, she and I swapped clothing back and forth as if we were college roommates. For the first three years we lived with each other, I stayed busy as a substitute teacher during those years. Since I was called in every day of the week, I needed a lot of clothes. I can remember her watching me get dressed in the morning.
“Kimmie, do you see anything in my closet that looks good?”
And often I would. She knew, too, that the closet door swung both ways, as she had carte blanche privileges in my closet. Although she was a good six-and-a-half inches taller than I was, we wore the same skirts, blouses, dresses, and shoes. It was ideal, the next-best thing to my recurrent dream of an extra closet crammed with clothing that was not only my size but also my style.
Not only did we have fun borrowing each other’s clothing, we also made a whole day of perusing neighborhood thrift stores. Now “thrifting” is in vogue. Thanks to my mother, I know how to find fashionable clothing at a fraction of the price of regular stores.
Mama’s been gone for eight years, now. Except for a few pieces of hers that bear her scent– pieces I cannot bear to give away — I have donated most of her wardrobe to charity. Still, every time I stand at my closet puzzling over what to drape over my frame each morning, I remember when we used to swap clothing. I remember our conversations, our laughter. In short, I remember those days when it was “just us girls”.