Exercise #1: Get Comfortable With Writing
I do not have any early childhood cloth or clothing memories. Growing up in a family of four kids, I remember a lot of hand-me-downs from my older sister and my Mom home-sewing clothing as time permitted. Sadly, my fabric obsession did not begin until I was in my thirties.
I do remember a favourite piece of clothing from my teenage years. I had totally forgotten about it until I started thinking about this topic. My best friend Liz and I were typical teenage girls - checking out the clothing stores in the local mall (Sherway Gardens, west end Toronto) on the weekends, trying on lots of outfits but buying very little. We were in one of our favorite stores - believe it was called Fairweathers, when I discovered a trench coat in my size that I could not love without. It was midi length, double breasted, wide lapels, matching fabric belt with a buckle, silver buttons and side pockets. I cannot remember the absolute specifics of the styling but I do remember the color. It was a soft shade of lilac, reminiscent of those early days of spring. One of the first times I remember wearing the coat I was standing in line outside a downtown Toronto movie theater with a few of my girlfriends waiting to see "The Way We Were" with Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford. It was a rainy night so it was a perfect opportunity to wear this coat. The movie was released in 1973 so I must have been sixteen years old at the time. I felt so grown up and pretty wearing this coat. I have no idea what happened to the lilac trench coat when I left Toronto for university.
Exercise #2: Favorite Room
I didn't have a favorite room until I went away to university. Up to that point in my life I was always sharing a room with one of my sisters. I studied Chemical Engineering in the late 1970's at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. After a year in residence, most students rented houses near campus, fondly referred to as the "Student Ghetto". I rented a house with four other students on 288 Earl St. during my junior and senior years. The best thing about this room was its proximity to campus - it took less than five minutes to get to class!
My room was on the second floor at the back of the house. I painted my room before classes started. I was going for a forest theme so I chose a bold shade of spring green for the walls and a chocolate brown for the trim. A very bold choice as I later discovered.
The doorway into the room was on the north wall near the northwest corner of the room. My small twin bed was located against the north wall adjacent to the doorway and was pushed into northeast corner of the room. Next to the bed there was a wicker laundry hamper that doubled as a nightstand with a small reading lamp perched on top. The base of the lamp was a moss green and the white translucent lampshade had pressed wild flowers embedded in it. In the southeast corner I had a drafting table facing the east wall. On the south wall near the southwest corner there was a set of French doors opening out to a small outdoor patio. The railings were wobbly so it was not used often. Also in the southwest corner on the west wall of the room there was an old rather large white porcelain sink mounted on the wall with water taps that actually worked. Very handy feature with five students sharing a single bathroom! Adjacent to the sink on the west wall was an old, dark, wooden wardrobe that somehow fit all my clothes, I have no idea how! I remember one of the doors on the wardrobe would never stay closed and was always swinging open.
I took my daughter on a campus tour about ten years ago only to discover 288 Earl no longer exists. In its place stands the next generation of university buildings. Good thing my memory still works most of the time!