Swell shelves

Once I had a closet, and it was very swell. It was a walk-in closet with many hanging racks at various heights, and in the middle? A sort of carrel for all my shoes, and around the top of the shelves, places to store boxes and bags. I loved my closet as you might love a dear relative. Sometimes I just went into that closet to look at its wonders and thank the universe that I had married the finish carpenter instead of the sportswriter. In that same room also was a huge window that overlooked the blue hills in the distance, and, especially at twilight, it was as though I were looking at a sort of humble version of a Gainsborough painting.

Fate intervened and the window in my bedroom now looks out upon a street that’s too busy and a plant of indeterminate species with shiny flat leaves that resists any effort to curb its growth. Occasionally a couple of bickering Blue Jays grace its branches, but that’s about it, view-wise. And the closet? Well, it’s five feet long and one foot deep. There are two hanging rods. Even if I were a moderate dresser who didn’t keep and wear my older clothing, there wouldn’t be room for my clothing. There wouldn’t be room for my clothing if I were a well-dressed toddler.

Over the years, I have tried to supplement my lack of closet space by keeping clothes in the basement in plastic bins and also arrayed around my room in sort-of rope baskets (one for sweaters, one for sweatshirts). These baskets are big things, and it was like living in a room with several small foreign cars. Recently, my husband (carpenter, not sportswriter) built some shelves for me along one wall. He built them into a corner and they are not quite as swell as my lost closet used to be, but they are pretty swell. I should keep everything on them pristinely folded, but I do not do this. It also reminds me of the way I met my husband. I was in love with a sportswriter when my husband came to my house to build some corner shelves. I’d been widowed a couple of years earlier and he also met my three young sons and played basketball with them (which the sportswriter would not have done, I must admit).

He charmed me, and we went on a coffee date a week later, and six weeks after that, we got married – now 27 years ago. I really like my husband and consider him one of the most truly decent people I’ve ever known. But listen – the shelves did not hurt.

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