The Farewell Tour

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

vintage skirt, leopard shirt, Meryl Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos

In my quest for personal style, true, selfish, unadulterated personal style, I've had to acknowledge and confront things about myself and my closet. I realized that there are pieces of clothing that I only hold onto out of some sort of sentimental duty. 

mixing prints, leopard print and sequins, Meryl Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos

Meryl Franzos, mixing prints, leopard and sequins
photo: Joshua Franzos

I hate the word duty. It sounds like a dirty yoke when you're talking about your wardrobe. But screech the hangers back and there's the biggest skeleton in my closet. My mother's wedding dress. White, dotted swiss with bell sleeves. The kind that makes your heart ache for a California backyard wedding in the seventies, where your guests will later jump in the kidney-shaped pool. And for sunshine and a daisy flower crown. And for the breeze blowing through the window of your Mom's girlhood bedroom rustling the curling Snoopy posters on the wall.

God, if I know anything, I know what I am not. 

I am not a free loving bohemian. I am too...hardened and deliberate, to be that brand of carefree. I am most certainly not going to San Francisco with flowers in my hair, or ever wearing my mother's wedding dress. There are certain things I can't say. Make love. Certain things I can't wear. Boho. Bows. Babydolls. But it doesn't mean I don't feel it or appreciate differences. Never will you find a more conditionally unromantic, hopeless romantic.

"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." - Jane Austen, Emma

But I can't bring myself to drop my mother's wedding dress off at Goodwill. The thought of it makes me ill. The thought of a stranger wearing it makes me feel like a jealous lover, but on the same hand, there is no place for it in my life. I don't want to hold onto things that don't do. don't see. don't serve.

So where does that leave me and the dress? an impasse.

I thought about walking out into the Peconic bay with the gown in my arms and holding the ballooning white fabric under. The gentle fringe of the dots would waver and flutter like eyelashes when I plunge it down down down, into the dirty blue water. Then when the burbling stopped and everything fell silent and still, I'd let the tide carry it out to sea like an exhausted cotton Edna Pontellier. 

I thought about it. Plotted it. Decided on it. Then I remembered that I had a sister.

Mom's wedding dress, you want it?
I texted.

(Fortunately she does and there will be no wedding dresses harmed.) 

photo: Joshua Franzos
It doesn't exactly stop at the wedding dress though. There are the guilty hand-me downs (like this skirt pictured here). The stuff that doesn't fit. The stuff you paid a ton of money for, but never wore. Or wore once. And there's the clothing that you used to love, but have slowly grown away from like a first marriage, where you got married too young, but you keep trying to make it work for six years longer than you should. 

Meryl Franzos, leopard oxford shirt
photo: Joshua Franzos

photo: Joshua Franzos
buckle heels
photo: Joshua Franzos

Stuff works its way into us and our lives, almost to the point that we develop imaginary relationships with it. For awhile I got really attached to things, because my people kept dying. I even managed to find a job where I dealt with more things than people. It was easier, I thought, to distance myself. As if proximity, physically and emotionally would give me cover when another life detonates. Well it's not true. You're left with nothing, but the shrapnel of stuff and regret. So you hold onto the stuff and it adds up and then you end up feeling like the one that is drowning. Even when you're gasping, it's still hard to let go.

mixing prints, Meryl Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos
Perhaps I'm afraid I'll lose my edge if I take away the things that make me crazy...crazy enough to contemplate an inanimate object's homocide. So here's me documenting the angst. I dropped this hand-me down skirt off at Goodwill last week (along with a bunch of other stuff). Here's me acknowledging the love had and the love lost. I used to love the challenge of mixing prints, now I'd rather eschew them. Here's me acknowledging the involuntary luxury I have of raging against an object instead of person that might've been hurt by my actions and words. I'm still angry that my parents are gone. Angry at them for my selfish benefit. For my sister's. For the benefit of any grandchildren I might've supplied them with. You should've been here. And I should've been there. Together we were neither here nor there.

It's been almost five years since I left a job as an appraiser in the auction world. The entire seven years I was there, I never broke a thing until about a month before I left.  A light bulb blew out and I dropped and broke a crystal vase in the dark basement of decommissioned church.When I bent over to clean up the largest chunk of glass, I sliced my finger open on a larger piece of lead crystal lurking in the shadows. Part of the glass snapped off within my index finger. I didn't go to the ER, but probably should've. I didn't have healthcare so I cleaned it up myself. It bled for days. Later I realized that I still had a small chunk of crystal healed up inside my flesh.
I once tried to cut it out, but it's in there too deep. It's there to stay and a scar alters the fingerprint I was born with.

photo: Joshua Franzos
 I will literally always carry my old work with me. Just as I will carry around the memories of my parents whether I have an item of theirs or not. I have more memories in the tip of my finger than...than...whatever. Let's not assign value at this point. Just this. I'm saying goodbye to the things that hold me back and Hello to the things that move me and my story forward. Edit your novel, edit your wardrobe, edit your life...I'm symbolically cutting plenty of things that I thought wouldn't bleed after so many years, and yet they are. It's okay though. It only means they're still in there, rattling around my skull, giving me that edge I feel I need in order to write. But hopefully without the physical reminders in my face everyday, I'll be able to come into my own and be whoever I'm supposed to much so that maybe one day when I'm gone, someone will be beside themselves when it's time to let go of my wedding dress. 

"Isn't it pretty to think so." -Ernest Hemingway

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

What I Wore:
Leopard oxford shirt: old J.Crew
Sequin tank: old
Buckle d'orsay heels: old, Colin Stuart
Skirt: my mother's vintage skirt
                                         Bracelet: Tiffany & Co., my mother-in-law's


  1. "I'm saying goodbye to the things that hold me back and Hello to the things that move me and my story forward. Edit your novel, edit your wardrobe, edit your life..." I love this, Meryl,and am looking forward to following along on here. Your posts are my favorite to read. I love taking time out to pop the kettle on, make a brew, and sit down to read them.

    My Grandmother recently passed away and while I was back home for her funeral my Mum asked me if there was anything of hers I'd like to have. We don't have a house in the UK and we don't have a storage unit, and there isn't much that can fit into a suitcase so, other than a small piece of artwork of hers (she crafted. a lot.) that I managed to squeeze in my case, I've had to resign myself to the fact that my memories are the only thing I will have to remember her by. And as you say, these will always be with me regardless of whether I have an item of hers or not.

    1. Thank you so much Niki! You are so incredibly kind and I'm so glad we are friends. I do hope our paths cross again one day. I'm so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. I'm glad you don't have to deal with too much stuff though. Speaking from experience, it's far easier that way!


Proudly designed by | mlekoshiPlayground |