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Chuck Hinman: IJMA 313 : Wardrobe mania

It's Just Me Again No. 313, by Chuck Hinman: Wardrobe mania -by- Chuck Hinman :: Connie's clothes -- colorful and stylish
The next earlier Chuck Hinman column is: Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 098: The Watkins Man

By Chuck Hinman

One of the reason I chose the apartment where I live was the number and size of the clothes closets. Although Connie was living out her last days at a nearby nursing home, I kept and managed her daily wardrobe needs from where I lived.

My clothes occupied very little of the vast closet space. So what's new?

Several years after Connie passed away, I took a look at my dingy wardrobe. My clothes looked like orphans in those empty closets where Connie's clothes used to hang so beautifully.

I shook my head and decided it was time for a change. But I didn't intend for it to get out of hand like it did. Honest! "The devil made me do it" as Flip Wilson used to say.

But it was long over due, no doubt about it!

I had put off buying clothes with the excuse "I'm going to lose some weight first." Well, it never happened!

I never used to throw away clothes even though I couldn't wear them. I reasoned -- "I have a good wardrobe in any size -- I just need to get back to one of those sizes!"

Am I speaking to anyone out there? Oh yes, I see your hand, honey, thank you!

I now have a large wardrobe (pretty much) in my present size.

The way I got started building "my" wardrobe actually began twenty-five years ago when I started buying clothes for Connie. As many of you know, she was Alzheimer's ridden for so long.

Because I didn't want to compete with women in local women's wear shops, I found it ideal for me to buy Connie's clothes by mail-order. I became expert at knowing her sizes so very little merchandise had to be returned. And I enjoyed and was good at developing a wardrobe where shoes and jewelry went well with her clothes. It wasn't natural with me, but because I loved her - I worked at it. I became aware of her sweet, natural "stage presence" - certainly not that of a demented person. Do you know what I was seeing and loving what I saw?!

That was the encouragement I needed in this unusual role for me and I loved squiring her in public!

There is a well-known mail-order house in Pennsylvania that features women's and men's clothing. Their clothes are eye teasers -- colorful, stylish, and reasonable. They are always having special sales and large discounts. Because I have done a hefty business with them over the years, hardly a day goes by that my mailbox and computer aren't loaded with catalogs and special offers.

I learned many years ago some "ropes" in this type of shopping. I rarely paid shipping charges and learned to wait patiently for something I liked to go on sale!

As a result of this skill in shopping for bargains in a woman's world, my wife became in my eyes, one of the most attractive older women in Bartlesville. And even though her mind was gone, she never lost track that she was a woman (to the bone) and that old man holding her hand is hopelessly "ga-ga" over her!

Since I had become educated on how to take advantage of deals, my wardrobe began to mushroom.

I have made-up for those days I worked at Phillips and someone noticed I had the same tie on, in pictures taken at birthday parties over a long time span.

My wardrobe mania for Connie and me is over.

Was it a sickness with me? Perhaps at times. But keep in mind, Connie and I never had a normal retirement. We never got to travel, no cruises, no time shares and all that.

We did have a nice home, beautifully furnished, a beautiful yard, and a life that rarely caused us to be away from home overnight. Connie functioned superbly in this quiet lifestyle and I loved it and especially her. So who is going to criticize that we spent too much money on clothes?

I double dare you!

- Chuck Hinman

This story was posted on 2012-02-05 07:45:40
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