Wedding dress. Those are the words that I heard or read or imagined in the last few days. A remnant of said dress was being worked into...something; a collage, a quilt, doll clothes. All that stuck was wedding dress.
As we consider our demons - that topic is still fresh and drooly - would their opposite be angels? No, more like blessings, pluses rather than minuses. Any bearer of lasting good - animal, vegetable, mineral or other. And no, there probably won't be a scrap of wedding dress or wedding suit among these souvenirs. Not the stuff, at least as garments go, of horror but not worthy of any museum, other than one which celebrates survival.
A rummage through assorted containers in my studio the other day did not excavate the clear envelopes I would have sworn were in this spot, but revealed a painted, stamped and splattered envelope with the hand-made catalog for a friend's one-time ephemera business. Holding the envelope, reading through the catalog, examining the samples of her wares tucked inside, brought with them the enjoyment of so many lunches, so many hours at tiled patio tables, so many iced teas, more laughter than I would have thought possible. We see each other on Facebook now. I need to write to her about the souvenir, one in my collection of everlasting passes to ride the time machine.
While I once was better at holding onto stuff, what seem like a lot of changes...of residence, circumstance, marital status, fortune...made letting go of treasures too easy. It was not all intentional, mostly not, yet they are gone regardless. Even the frequent, grown-up conversations with myself reminding me that the wagons were pulling out and I had to go, are not always enough to ease the pangs of loss. Yes, it is, it was things, but I need to learn not to expend so much energy and way too much regret in low thoughts of wishing so much had been different.
What is still with me is a train case, probably now extinct in the luggage world, with ruffled raspberry yogurt pink satin lining and an aqua leather exterior. My girlhood initials, MML, are stamped in gold. It was a gift from my grandparents to be used, well, as luggage, but first to carry my shoes and practice clothes to and from dance class. I began ballet and tap lessons in about the second grade, was promoted to toe shoes, en pointe, and even dreamed of dance as a career until being told over and over at home what a hard and discouraging life it would be...still, the train case and its mirrored lid, elasticized loops to hold shampoos and lotions in place, endure. All that has disappeared is the snap-in, plastic-lined cosmetic case that survived for decades.
Once I stopped dancing, it became a full-time suitcase. Not appropriate for Girl Scout camp, for that my father's WWII parachute bag was my favorite, but just right for honeymoons, press junkets, a cruise (as a governess), running away from home, air travel before 9/11 and almost a lifetime of driving vacations.
When I think of creating the gallery of demons, my strong Libran influences urge me toward balancing those images with memories that don't carry pitchforks. While many of the objects, and certainly the people and the moments, are gone the flowers left in their wake are still fragrant. There are always two sides to the ledger, aren't there? If I could have her in my hands, my Betsy McCall doll, whose hair I curled regularly into a perfect brunette flip, would have enough white grandparent magic to make any demon back down.