Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fur coats in the closet

I know I've mentioned before that our home in Runnemede only had two closets. One was in the bedroom which was really a room that connected to the stairway that led to the attic, and the other was in the hall from which the two bedrooms and bathroom had doorways. That little closet -- and it was little, probably 2.5 feet x 4 feet deep -- held two fur coats and one coat with a large fox fur collar. The coat with the fur collar was the coat my mother wore for most of my childhood -- at least until I was 10 or 11. The other two coats -- the fur coats -- were stored in the closet and rarely worn.

One was a big, beaver coat -- man-sized -- I think it was a man's coat -- the type men wore in the 1920s to college football games. It was warm, though. I know because I wore it a couple of times. One time I wore it on Christmas Eve when the youth group at church was Christmas carolling around the town, and it was very cold that year, made even colder, I suppose because there was at least a foot of snow on the ground, and the streets were snow covered. I remember begging to wear that coat on other occasions, but not being permitted to do so. I loved the feel of the fur.

The other coat was a gray squirrel fur coat. I had that coat in Cincinnati, I think. My daughters would know. It sort of started to shed, though, and I had to get rid of it. It was beautifully made, when it was wearable, with the waist narrowed in and a single button holding it shut at the waist. It, too, was warm. It only fit me for a short while, because it was made for a very small woman -- and I was only small before I had children. After that, I was no longer small.

So, that closet held those three coats, my dad's overcoat, and the Electrolux vacuum cleaner -- which was on the floor under the coats. I think mom used that closet for storage for off-season items such as the coats that we weren't wearing. It had a very small shelf over top of the rod that held the coats, which held dad's felt hat, or was it hats, I'm not sure. I only know that daddy always had a felt hat of some sort. I recall one was gray, but I also recall he had a black one.

He went in for the type that Humphrey Bogart would have worn, not the type that a golfer would wear. I'm not sure what they're called, but it was the type that you imagine a 1930s detective wearing.

So, that's the story of the closet with the fur coats.



Lori said...

When you first mentioned this closet in your umbrella blog, I couldn't for the life of me remember that closet. After more thinking though, I think I do remember it. It was tiny, right by the door to grandma's room, right? I never thought of their house as small when I was a kid, but looking back I know it definitely was. Hard to imagine all you kids and grandma and gramps sitting in that tiny kitchen, eating dinner. Anyway, back to your post. I remember that grandma had a little bookshelf in that hallway by the closet with wonderful books on the movie stars of the old days - Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Marlena Dietrich. I actually have one of her books at my house. I still love it after all these years. Was she always interested in old movie stars?

Judi Hahn said...

Yes, she and Aunt Annie loved the OLD movies, and they both loved Greta Garbo. Mom didn't like the content of newer movies, and kept saying she must be a "prude" because she didn't like the way movies went downhill so fast in the late 50s, early 60s. Now, you have to realize that her favorite movies were the ones made in the 30s and 40s. I still love to watch them on TCM. I should publish a list of my (and mom's) favorites sometime. I know I've mentioned favorite old movies from time to time in the BLOG. I could go on, but won't. ttfn