Moving from a home to a retirement center requires planning, not the least of which is getting rid of items that once seemed necessary. Though I haven’t been in the public eye for years, I still own evening clothes, not because I think I’ll ever need them but because they’re beautiful. One embroidery encrusted outfit I’ve kept more as a work of art than as a garment. The same is true for a jeweled evening jacket. But, the time has come for me to part with them, just as I have already parted with my alarm clock and mascara brush, both relics of the past.
As I fingered the rhinestone jacket, I recall the day I’d bought it. I was with a friend at Loehmann’s in San Francisco — that fashion discounter like no other, known for its rows of crystal chandeliers and which, sadly, has recently has closed its doors after 93 years. I was young at the time and my friend was an inveterate shopper. Or, I should say she was hunter, for she had an instinct for bargains as a finely honed as the beam of a heat seeking missile. On that particular day, I followed In her wake, my eyes feasting upon rows and rows of designer garments, all at discounted prices and jammed on to racks, higgly-piggledy, like uniforms left behind on a battlefield. In fact, one skirmish did take place while we were there. Two women had latched upon a chiffon dress and refused to let go until the manager was called. Neither my friend nor I was surprised by this behavior. As Audrey Ferber recounts in her memoir, a day at Loehmann’s wasn’t about shopping. It was “more like a treasure hunt.” (“Shopping for Memories,” by Audrey Ferber, More, June 2014, pg. 47.)
For most women, a tour of Loehmann’s usually begins with the innocent intent of “just looking.” But soon the thrill of the hunt takes over and “looking” results in a bag full of clothing and much triumphant laughter. The experience was no different for my friend and I. We ended our tour at Blum’s where we celebrated our conquest over whipped cream laced hot fudge sundaes.
I admit, I’ve seldom worn my glamorous prize. The glittering evening jacket has hung in my closet for many years, displayed primarily for the pleasure of its memory, the way a hunter might display an elks’ head.
In fairness, I know my treasure deserves to be worn and I think I’ve found the perfect person — a tall, blonde and beautiful young woman who will dazzle in it. I don’t mind the letting go. I have my memory of a joyous day filled with shopping and laughter and the company of a good friend. So now it’s time to say, “goodbye jacket and goodbye Loehmann’s. Thank you for the memory.”
(Courtesy of www.facebook.com/Loehman’s)