While my lovely bride related the tales of our “Summer Of Purge”, I thought I would discuss my recent adventures at Goodwill, searching for a specific garment I have dubbed The Holy Grail of Goodwill-ing: a well-maintained 43/44 long double-breasted navy blazer.
I have found them slightly too small, slightly too large, or extremely one or the other. There was a lovely specimen that would have fit me beautifully if only I’d taken up an all-bacon-and-milkshake diet for a few months, and another that had nary a flaw… beyond obviously having been designed for a pelican with rickets. (I suspect there are a great many average-sized people walking about proudly, saying “don’t you love my double-breasted navy blazer? Perhaps I’ll give it to Goodwill tomorrow, but not today, ho! ho! ho!”)
Nonetheless, though the blazer remains elusive, I did come across several finds that will be of use both as everyday clothing and costumes. My wife and I are both active in Columbia’s theatre scene, and have been known to find all sorts of gems at Goodwill, including our costumes for last Halloween, when Gomez and Morticia Addams hit the town of Columbia.
…but I digress. Last Sunday, we stopped by Goodwill to see what might be found in the way of double-breasted blazery, only to find several high-quality garments that will wind up accompanying it well.
These pants look and feel as if they were recently dry-cleaned, and are in near-perfect condition. I often like to build backstories for my Goodwill finds, and decided that these were the pants of Herman Schmidlap, a gentleman of late middle age, who had just dropped them at the cleaners, having worn them only twice, when he bought a lottery ticket on the way home.
The subsequent $60 million jackpot went Mr. Schmidlap’s way, and he donated all of his clothing and belongings to Goodwill just before leaving for a new life in the tropics with his secretary, to whom he had suddenly become irresistible.
I did discover, upon examination, that although correctly sized, the pants had been taken up an inch or two.
At $4.00, it was still within the “great deal” zone to have them returned to a true 34. (I thought for half a moment of leaving them “as is”, but decided a bottom set of ribs and functioning kidneys were worth the cost of alteration.)
Two shirts. One from Brooks Brothers, the other from Jos. A. Bank. Both in excellent shape, but each with a ring around the collar. At $3.00 each, I was willing to take a gamble that Oxy-Clean and a little elbow grease could make quick work of that, so I brought them both home. Living up to its reputation as a worker of minor miracles, the Oxy did its work in a single wash.
Both shirts now look and feel like new, which would likely provide little comfort to G.G. Fingus, their former owner. In my mind, Mr. Fingus was attempting to steal a wooden foot from his upstairs neighbor, Mrs. Pootberry, who lost her own to scurvy during the Great Citrus Blight of ’61.
Upon discovering him, Mrs. Pootberry hopped on her remaining original-issue foot to the laundry room, where she demanded two shirts as recompense for her troubles. She then gave the shirts to Goodwill, not wishing to have them around as a reminder of Mr. Fingus.
My final find was a bit of vinyl, which no doubt thrilled legions of hip, young theatre fans of the “Mad Men” era.
“Let’s Listen To The Hits From MY FAIR LADY” might have spent the last thirty years in Meemaw’s basement, but back in the day, I imagine it having been in a stack of light classical and jazz records in the coffin-sized cabinet stereo of Claude and Marissa, a pair of thirtysomethings making their home in 1960s Columbia.
I imagine them entertaining friends and snapping lots of Polaroids while hoping Bunny Crenshaw’s giant beehive doesn’t run afoul of the ceiling fan. The artists covering Lerner and Loewe’s classic score aren’t the greatest, but the music is familiar, and everyone’s talking about the upcoming Nixon/McGovern election, so who cares? Besides, there’s the new fondue pot to check out…
So, where does this leave us? Without blazer, but with a quest that will continue, a pair of pants, two shirts, a record, and a day’s worth of character creation. For $10.00.
Works for me.