For reasons which escape me completely, I decided to clean and straighten one side of the bathroom closet today. On either side of the door is a space about two feet deep, with five shelves. One side is strictly towels, with a large plastic tub of medical supplies – gauze, ointments, tape, etc. – on the top shelf, and my laundry stuff on the floor.
The other side, however, is an absolute mare’s nest. Cosmetics, hair curlers, pet grooming supplies, hand lotion, you name it, and it’s probably on the right hand side of the closet. Because of my thyroid problems, I have very thin hair, and what I do have retains some of its original natural curl, so in my natural state, I rather resemble the character Dill, from the comic strip Cul de Sac. (My nose is smaller, though.)
I wear wigs. Always. I found four hairbrushes in the closet. Four. Nobody needs four hair brushes. I’m too frugal, thrifty – OK, OK – cheap to drop them in the recycling bin, but there is a very limited number of places to dispose of a used hair brush.
And the make up! One day a year, I go to the spa and have myself made boo-ful for the annual Equitable Trust reunion. Every once in a while I may smear a dab of foundation over my red nose, but I seldom even wear lipstick. Sunscreen and olive oil are pretty much the extent of my makeup kit. (Olive oil is the best moisturizer in the world. Sinks in and is never greasy.) I found a pump bottle of foundation I think I purchased in Tennessee when our friend’s daughter got married, and enough skin-firming lotions that I could take my place on Mount Rushmore.
And the soap scraps. When you live through The Depression, and in my grandparents’ case, two World Wars, saving and scrimping is deeply ingrained, but sometimes I think my mother carried it too far. I have a quart-sized plastic bag full of soap scraps and the little bars you get at motels. When I was a kid, I can remember my mom putting the tail-end of a bar of soap into a saucer and adding just enough water to soften the bottom of the soap. Then she would press and mold that scrap onto the top of a fresh bar, to make sure every last bit got used. Later in life, she folded the four corners of a wash cloth into the center, sewed the seams, and had a terry cloth bag into which to put the pieces of soap. After the first four or five usings, it gets gunky and slimy. That never bothered my mom, but it gives me the creeps. However, I still can’t stand to toss out the soap scraps. I think I read someplace that you could melt them down and make new bars.
Then there are the hair curlers. A full set of hot rollers, plus another twenty or so rollers from where the heating unit has died. And metal clips to put in your hair so it looks as if you have a marcel wave. Want to guess how old those are?
A bottle of Vicks Vap-o-Rub so old the address doesn’t even have a two-digit postal code, never mind a five-digit zip code, and several prescription bottles (empty!) from Read’s, a Baltimore-based drugstore, which has been out of business since 1983. The first lunch-counter sit-in in America was at the Read’s on Howard Street in 1955.
Y’know, I really ought to talk to somebody about this problem. The Maryland Historical Society, maybe?