I don’t know if they make these anymore. Dressing table cloths. I found the one that covered my dressing table as a child. The table that had been my mother’s dressing table. That was part of a bedroom set my grandfather had made for her 16th birthday.
Now that’s tradition.
The set had a bed with four posters, the aforementioned dressing table, a chest of drawers (which for years I pronounced “Chester drawers” because that’s what I thought people were saying), and a cedar chest. I still use it as my guest room furniture. I worry a bit that those now 73 year-old slats are going to fall out of the bed one night and our sleeping guests will get a huge and vastly unwelcome surprise.
This cloth was stashed in an armoire drawer, way at the back, all crumpled up. There are tears in the cloth. You can see how frayed it is at the edges. What you may not be able to see are the little blotches of spilled make-up that wouldn’t come out.
Why in the world have I kept this?
When I pulled it out of the drawer, I smiled on the inside. This cloth watched me grow up. It was there for my birthday parties, my learning to put on make-up. Too much make-up. Three shades of blue eye shadow in the eighth grade. All at the same time.
There when my mother slapped me for saying a bad word. I remember. It happened right in the middle of my bedroom. The word rhymes with “it”. Mother was furious.
It was there when I was learning to date, crying into my make-up mirror at the least sign of a pimple. Lying there when I studied in my room in high school. Worked on guitar. Dreamed about going to college, being a Broadway star. Getting married.
Ready for me when I got divorced and moved into an apartment. Set up my own living space again. More tears over a much more serious grief. As I laid it out once again on my dressing table, I was starting over.
I just looked up the Merriam-Webster definition of keepsake. Something you keep to help you remember a person, place or event.
I would call my dressing table cloth a keepsake. It is a connection with that little girl who dreamed and believed. That little piece of cloth gave me a sense of consistency during some rough times in my life. Times when I picked myself up, dusted myself off and went on.
I am much happier now.
I guess that’s why it was stashed away. I didn’t need it as much.
But it was so wonderful to find it, I now have it in a place where all can see. Where it belongs.
Right under the picture of that little girl. And her son. In our guest room.
If you have enjoyed this post, 10th in the NaBloPoMo One Post A Day Party in November, please send it on! And treasure your keepsakes.