The cashmere is pillowy soft, like a clean furry puppy without the puppy smell. They get fluffy and soft from putting them in the washing machine — “Gentle Cycle” she tells me.  So soft you want just to rub your hands over it, which Mom does as she folds them, just so. Sleeves turned back and tucked neatly underneath, then she bends the sweater over itself, as if it’s taking a bow, and lays it to rest in the plastic storage bin. 

I wrote that last April, according to WordPress’s memory — the memo at the bottom of the screen says “Draft last saved at 9:51:28 am on 4/12/2011.”  I had just come home from a spring weekend with Mom, and one of our chores was putting away her winter clothes.  She was so weak it took her five minutes to fold each sweater, which she did, with precision and tender care.  I knew as I watched her, and knew that she probably knew too, that she would never wear them again.

This past weekend my sisters and I convened in North Carolina and tackled mom’s house, cleaned out the garage storage room full of family antiquity, including her Aqua Net helmet-style hair dryer (see exhibit A, although Mom’s was white) and a mini black-and-white television set with 1960s-era manual knobs and an antenna.  From the guestroom closet we resurrected a yellowed debutante gown and various taffeta bridesmaid travesties, and, in a quiet moment, I pulled out the plastic sweater box that I knew was waiting for me.

The earth now begins its slow tilt away and the autumn air is turning frisky, temperatures are dropping.   I fold myself in  soft plum-colored cable-knit cashmere;  I am warmed and comforted.  I think about what we tuck away, and what we hold on to.

~ by Stephanie on 10/26/2011.

2 Responses to “away.laundered.sweaters”

  1. Oh, Stephanie.

    I can almost feel those sweaters.

  2. Steph,

    I am setting up for my trunk show, going through layers and piles of clothes, fingering cloths, putting up now, putting away for later. Your post gives me a new perspective on all things I think I will “hold for later”, or store for another time. It reminds me to put on now what is mine, and not to miss a day of this colorful life. Thanks for the heartful reflection.

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