I suspect that it will be quite a while before I stop getting mail addressed to my husband.
In truth, I don’t want it to stop.
I like looking through his alumni rags from Rutgers and Harvard.
I like thumbing through the catalogs that come in his name.
I like seeing his name in print, even when it’s on junk mail that gets his last name wrong. (I.e., uses mine.)
And some of that junk mail just brings a crazy smile to my face.
As in the missive received the other day from Glen’s Custom Tailors (H.K.) Ltd, The Suit Connoisseurs, offering my late husband “luxury at an affordable price.”
I just had to laugh, as would anyone who knew Jim and his sartorial habits.
I am no one’s idea of a fashionista, but Jim made me look like I’m besties with Anna Wintour.
Where to begin with Diggy’s closet?
He owned one suit, worn for the last time to a wedding in 2011. That suit was a very good one, but it was probably 30 years old.
Jim had had it tailored a few times, as even before he became ill he had decided to lower his BMI a bit and dropped down a size or two. But, hey it was a sack suit, and as long as the jacket and pants were taken in, and taken in, it looked like a reasonably well-fitting sack suit.
Jim wore the suit with one of his Brooks Brothers dress shirts, and a tie I brought for the occasion.
Although he seldom wore one, Jim had a few decent ties, including a bowtie that I actually managed to tie once. We were heading out to dinner at a Fancy French Restaurant in NYC, back in the day when you had to get dressed up to dine at a Fancy French Restaurant in NYC. I think the restaurant was La Caravelle.
Anyway, it took me forever to tie that bowtie – we had to call the restaurant a couple of time to push our reservation out a bit – but I final succeeded. Unfortunately, it was only after I’d completed the job that I realized Id been following the instructions for the little boy version. Oh, well. It was a tie. It was tied. And Jim looked cute.
In addition to his suit, and those ties, Jim had a couple of sports jackets – one Navy blue (what else), the other an Irish tweed (what else).
In addition to whatever Brooks Brother’s shirt Jim wore to that wedding, he had a few other dress shirts (mostly from Brooks Brothers) and a handful of more casual long-sleeved and short sleeved collared shirts (mostly from L.L. Bean). Plus a bunch of polo shirts – logo-wear I cadged from clients, or ones I ordered from L.L. Bean.
I knew that those shirts were still hanging in his closet – I’m hanging on to them, and suspect I will to infinity and beyond; they’re mine to have and to hold, for better or worse (as with most of Jim’s clothing, they lean to the worse side). But I was surprised that his suit and sports coats are still here. I thought I’d given those to St. Francis House. (Tomorrow they go to the dry cleaners.)
Jim also had a couple of pairs of wool slacks, a couple of pairs of khakis, and a couple of pairs of jeans. A spring jacket; a rain parka (corporate swag from my corporate days); and a parka.
He owned one pair of sneakers; one pair of casual shoes; one pair of dress shoes; and one pair of boots. Two belts. A summer hat (white cotton), and a wool scally cap.
As with any of his clothing items, these were replaced when they were falling apart and no longer capable of repair.
Although Jim generally watched out for his footwear – if he had a flapping sole, he went to the cobbler - I was generally the one to force the clothing retirement issue – from socks and undies to dress shirts. I would hold up some near-rag item - a frayed shirt, holey sock, stretched out Jockey shorts - and ask him why he hadn’t tossed it out. He would just shrug and say, “I thought you would.”
It goes without saying that Jim hated to shop. And when, on occasion I brought something new home for him (other than something free with a corporate logo on it, which he always liked to see coming), he always insisted that he had more than enough clothing.
Honestly, Jim would have been just as happy living in the Old West where, from what I take from the costumes on Bonanza and Gunsmoke, men were issued one outfit when they reached adulthood, and that one outfit took them through the remainder of their life. (Or at least for the duration of the TV show’s run.)
For the last year or so of he life, Jim mostly wore comfy pants – pull on exercise pants, nylon or fleece; comfy shirts – polo shirts, the softer the better; sweat shirts; and fleece tops. That and heavy socks.
After his death, I laundered everything that was decent and that I thought a homeless person could use and brought it over to St. Francis House.
I threw out the undies and anything that was not even rag-bag worthy.
I will now add figuring out what to do with the rest to my to-do list.
But the thought of Jim’s name finding its way onto a mailing list for a bespoke tailor who’s going to be in Boston for a few days in a few weeks…Even though, given he had absolutely no butt to speak of, and could definitely have used a pair or two of bespoke pants.
Well, I just had to laugh.