Way back—about 30 years ago—when our eight children were little, I spent a lot of time in the children’s department of various stores looking for clothing bargains.
Actually when there are eight to buy for just about anything on sale cheaply enough is a bargain because it was bound to fit one of them sometime. Even if it was really weird but dirt cheap, it could be used for a Halloween costume.
Then, all of a sudden it seemed, the kids were grown and gone. I never really suffered much from empty nest syndrome. In fact, empty nest is one of my favorite syndromes so far because empty nest also brought empty closets.
I was teaching every day. I needed clothes. It really wasn’t fair to my students to appear before them in the same old outfits week after week. English is a necessary subject, but not always fascinating. For the days when I could not jazz up the subject matter I could at least jazz up my wardrobe.
With this justification glowing in my mind I discovered the women’s clothing department. Before this when something wore out, I grabbed something that fit off the sale rack and hoped for the best.
Now I had time to shop, time to pick and choose among all those colorful offerings. And I had enough money to pay for whatever I chose, if I chose carefully. And I had closet space.
It didn’t take long at all to fill both sides of the first empty closet. Fall and winter clothes were on one side, and spring and summer on the other.
Time passed and I continued to shop and buy. Pretty soon there were two closets full—one side for each of the four seasons.
By this time my husband’s wardrobe had expanded to both sides of the one closet in our room. I needed more space, so I bought over-the-door racks. They were for the clothes that could be worn more than once if they were on hangers instead of in a hamper.
Bill didn’t say anything until I tried to muscle my way into what had become his closet. “You have two closets plus,” he charged.
“Of course,” I agreed. “I have three wardrobes.” He looked puzzled, so I continued, “I’m not always the same size. Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down.
“Okay,” he said. “But that’s only two wardrobes. Where do you get three?”
Without blinking an eye I told him, ”my old maternity clothes.”
He was incredulous, “We’ve been married almost 40 years. Our youngest child is close to 30. We have 20 grandkids.”
I nodded in solemn agreement.
“Now don’t you think you could get rid of the maternity clothes,” he reasoned.
“Oh, no. No sir. No way! Never!”
I could tell by the look on his face he needed more explanation, so I continued, “Everybody knows what happens as soon as you get rid of all the baby stuff. I’m taking no chances. The maternity clothes stay forever!”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate Oct. 23, 1996.