Monday, January 9, 2012

Chop Wood, Carry Water Vol. 29, Chapter 136

So in the course of human events we all sooner or later have to attend to contents of the linen closet before it falls on us and we become history. So after an afternoon of heaving sheets and blankets and pillow cases and what the heck was this for out of the closet, to sort into sizes, I realized this wasn't just a closet. It was domestic history. This is a way of studying your life and times in retrospect that I hadn't thought of.

I couldn't fathom why there were so many sets of big bed linens, until I remembered that I'd put warm flannel sheets on the bed year round, because SO couldn't regulate his body temp., once his disabilities got under way,when he was still able to do stairs and sleep in the regular bed. So that was the flannel sets, three of them.

Before that, though there were knitted sheets, the tshirt type, which I loved, but he eventually couldn't navigate through to get out of bed when he wanted to. You have to have good use of your legs to swing them out of those sheets. So that was the two sets of knitted.

These had replaced the other woven sheets because he thought they were too cold, even in summer. So that was several sets of woven sheets.

And so it goes, working back through all the adjustments I'd had to make to take care of him, ending in the knitted sheets in a nice green color he loved, for his hospital bed. They were warm and soft and worked just fine for the last part of his life.

Anyway, now some of the sheets will go to HS, some to the thrift store, some to freecycle. Finally I have them ordered (sort of) so that I can at least see which are flat and which are fitted. Matchy matchy doesn't matter, but fitty fitty does.

You can write a nice bio on what's in people's cars, and what's on their desks, and for artists what's in the studio, and now I find the linen closet is not just our own domestic timeline, but another rich vein of lit'ry research.

Just wait for the first graduate students to be deconstructing what Henry James had in his linen closet, and giving their papers fancy titles about it. Abstract: A close examination of somnolescent textile influences in the short stories of Henry James. And then the popularized version: Threads! What James slept in and how!

I'm going to have a nice glass of wine with dinner now and rest my arms. This job was the fiber equivalent of hoeing a good sized vegetable garden.


  1. We have precisely three sets of sheets - one set of cotton for summer and one of the nice fleece for winter on our bed and one set of cotton ones for guests. I guess that's what happens when we've never had a linen closet much bigger than a thimble.

  2. Must be something in the air. I've been clearing out my linen closet. Why on earth would I be hanging on to torn holey sheets and towels is beyond me. Not even worth saving for paint rags. On the other hand let me think .....

  3. you could always cut up the stretchy ones and use them to knit with. I have five sets all of a poly/cotton mix. Its towels I need to sort, some have been in there since I left home back in 73!

  4. Well, who woulda thunk? Lurve good linen.


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