Friday, February 11, 2011

Clothes make the man

It's been almost 8 years since my dad died. I miss him. A lot. I miss him most during my drive home from work. I used to call him from the car and talk about work and the kids and news of the world and what he was painting.  We were pretty tight.

He was one of those ' bigger than life' characters. When he died he left a pretty big void. In a strange way, though, Bill was able to help fill part of that void:

After dad died, we (the kids and Bill  and I) went to Florida so that we could all be together. We helped mum get all of dad's stuff packed up and organized.  My dad was a bit of a clothes-horse and he appreciated good quality clothes. We sorted out his one-of-a kind silk shirts that were handmade from old Japanese kimonos and boxed up his hand- tied bow ties. We all wanted one of the shirts but didn't know what to do with the bow ties. I still have most of them in a closet.

As we pulled out Dad's suits, Bill remarked on the quality and weight of the fabric. We all joked that he should try them on -  if he liked them so much. You have to understand, Dad was probably 3-4  inches taller than Bill and, he was heavier, so we knew they wouldn't fit. But, Bill tried them on anyway. Amazingly, the fit was pretty close. (I still don't understand how that worked). Bill tried on one after the other until we all started laughing at the creepiness of the whole thing.  The man was barely gone a month and we were rifling through his best clothes. Talk about macabre! And, my mum got the biggest charge out of it. I can still see her sitting on the edge of the bed urging Bill to try on the jackets and to hike up the pants. She hated to just send the clothes to Goodwill and was thrilled that Bill was willing to take them to the tailor to have the alterations done.

To this day, Bill still wears some of those suits. There is one in particular (a small checked houndstooth) that I adore and I just love seeing Bill in it. I probably have some deep rooted, Electra complex that will never be solved - but, I'm telling you:  it makes me feel at peace when I see Bill in those clothes.  And, my mum likes it too.

To illustrate Dad's eccentric tastes, here is a picture of Bill in a lovely silk jacket that both he and Dad were proud to wear on Florida's gulf coast and the north coast of Buffalo.

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