Friday, February 18, 2011

Frozen in Time

This was written for The Red Dress Club ,the prompt was write a piece - 600 word limit - about finding a forgotten item of clothing in the back of a drawer or closet. Let us know how the item was found, what it is, and why it's so meaningful to you or your character.

In the back of the closet. Covered by a dry cleaner's bag. My father's Navy pea coat.
I found it as I was emptying the two rooms my husband and I were getting ready to paint and clean up. One room was mine as a teenager. The other had been my parent's room. After we all moved away, it was Daddy's room until his death in 2004.

Daddy was in the Navy in 1951.  He was discharged in 1952 at the request of his father. Daddy's mother passed away on February 20th, 1952.  She died of cancer.  I wasn't born until 1956. I never knew her. And now I live in the house she had moved to just three years before her death.
My grandparents moved a lot. Living in Ohio, Chicago, Buffalo, somewhere in California. And places between.  I had the feeling there were a lot of rented rooms during that time. My father was in high school when they bought this house.  She had her own home for three years.

Daddy's pea coat is still here. Because the death of his mother stopped time in this house. And even though Daddy brought his wife and infant daughter to live here in 1956, and had four more children, some things never changed. The steamer trunks full of his mother's clothes, letters and trinkets. The box grater and flour sifter in the kitchen. The pretty glass pieces in the built in china cabinet.
They are all still here. Like Daddy's pea coat.  Sixty years. Locked in time.

Waiting to be rediscovered. And released.


  1. Houses and objects almost become people...those smells, objects, and memories are powerful.

    You capture this idea so nicely.

  2. What a great way to capture the life of someone. Beautiful piece.

  3. Death does have a way of freezing time - for everyone, doesn't it? You captured it well, Renee.

  4. Wow, Renee, that kind of history is amazing.
    This line makes my heart hurt: "Because the death of his mother stopped time in this house."
    Beautifully put.

  5. Renee, I was so moved by your story. Just lovely!

  6. My husband's grandmother stopped changing, stopped moving forward, when her husband died. She's still living, but has long since been moved away from her home for her own safety.

    When my husband and his father cleaned out her house, the house her husband built for her, this is exactly how it was to be there.

    So very well done.

  7. A house that stopped with time is a treasure chest of memories.

  8. I fear my parents home will be like that. They keep everything yet keep talking about cleaning up :)

    This was really nice.

    Visiting from RDC

  9. A great glimpse into the past. I love how much meaning we find in objects. I'd love to hear more of the stories behind the things in that house.

  10. You make me wish that peacoat could speak. So very intriguing.

  11. Sadly, this is the way things are for so many people - time just stopping when something tragic occurs.

    I was shocked at how much of my husband's ex-stepmother's things were still in this house when we moved in with my father-in-law. Not personal affects, but a lot of things in the kitchen and in the china closet. They divorced almost 20 years ago. The things the heart holds on to...

    Beautiful work.

  12. Such a beautiful image, that old pea coat. And how people used to just tuck clothing and other trinkets away for "keeps", to be discovered by later generations.

    Wonderful post!

  13. I want to thank all of you for stopping by and commenting.
    I've been very bad about replying lately.
    I've been spending most of my free time reading and commenting on other blogs.

    Thanks again, and I'll see you at your place!

  14. Anything "military" seems to be so powerful as a memory. And your mention of steamer trunks reminds me of the couple my mom has that came over from Sicily.

  15. Beautiful

    Love the pea coat....

    that is all