Friday, November 17, 2000
Carlisle Comments: Closets
I've been thinking about closets lately. Why? What's the big deal about closets? For one thing, just ask any mother. A kid will tell you that the closet is where you throw everything when your mother tells you to clean up your room. This assumes of course that you actually have a closet.
We live in a 200-year-old house with only two closets. Both of which are only as wide as the chimney or about wide enough for a coat hanger. How many of you remember the old radio show Fibber McGee and Molly? Well, even if you don't, Fibber McGee had this running joke on his program, and every time he opened his closet door, which was often, it was a sound-effects-man's dream. You could imagine any number of things falling out of the closet. It was packed full. Dishes, whistles, trains, crashes of all sorts. It was funny. It was almost true.
This may sound catty, but when I go to a house that has more than one person living in it, and the place is absolutely spotless, I want to peek into the closets. I'm sure that Fibber McGee still lives in the hidden recesses of Mrs. Neat's closet. It relieves my own sense of guilt about my own house.
Back in the old days, the farmer only needed a place to hang his overalls and the suit he was married and buried in. Something similar was true for the rest of the family. People kept things in trunks and cedar chests, but there wasn't that much to keep. Some had closets full of shelves. These shelves held hat boxes, sometimes several hats to a box. I remember hat boxes. One of my little closets has shelves, but it is too small and inconvenient for me to make much use of it. Unfortunately for the neatness code, when you don't have a place for everything, everything winds up everywhere. I try to confine it to just one room.
New houses seem to overflow with closets. There is no mystery there. These people usually seem to be able to find everything. Drawers, double rods, mirrors, shelves, shoe racks, jewelry cases, laundry chutes, even a little shallow drawer for loose change and keys, and it's a walk-in closet to boot. No more of this moving the summer things to storage in the winter, and the winter things back out each year. Maybe people move so often that they are so streamlined that everything fits in one place. I just can't bring myself to really believe that. I'm just sure that when company is coming, the closet doors open and swish, the place looks great. I just want one little peek.
Carlisle Comments is a column open to all Carlisle residents with a flair for writing and an opinion. Submissions should be no more than 750 words in length and deal with a Carlisle topic. The column is printed on a space-available basis.
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