Still Life With Waterpik

In the brown bathroom, the one in the hall outside my apricot bedroom, there is a closet. Today is the day that I've decided to clean that closet. In it is the detritus of my parent's failing health. It contains strata of activity and obsessioin. There are two wrist braces, still in their original boxes. One is from the 1960s and shows (in a pen and ink illustration, on a lime green ground) a man, bowling. The other is from the 90s. Its box has a golden yellow band above a generic photo of a generic male wrist wearing the brace. It must have come from a big box store.

There is a black and clear acrylic tissue box holder. It has ended up in this closet after my mother redecorated her black, white and marble master bath. There are many, many, many, many boxes -- some are empty and some are filled -- but they are all Waterpik boxes. There is even a shoebox full of Waterpik replacement heads and brushes. Some, judging by the color of the bands used to differentiate them when more than one person uses the same device, are also relics from the 1960s. Others are pastels from the 1980s.

And then there are two bars of soap, shaped like and painted like ladybugs. Someone gave me them (along with a missing third) the summer I went to Europe. I was 11. It was the summer of 1966. The person who gave them to me was my cousin. She seemed much older than me, and much younger than my mother... could she have been about halfway between us?

But which cousin was it? That is the mystery and memory these two bars of soap have awoken.

I remember that we visited her when we were in New York City, before we sailed. Was it Aunt Ann's daughter? We stayed in Brooklyn with Aunt Ann. But where we went to visit, the house had a real yard. Did she live out on the Island?

She gave me an ice-cream cone, served upside down on a plate, with the ice-cream and cone decorated to look like a clown. Would that have been Aunt Marilyn's daughter?

When we left, she gave me the soap for my trip. Each bar was wrapped in tissue. I loved them too much to ever use them.

Now here I am, 41 years later, emptying them out of my childhood bathroom. One has lost its tissue. The other is still perfect. I wash the cracked paint off the open one and put the soap on the rim of the sink. There is a Waterpik already there.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/27 at 09:45 PM in Maudlin Crap

(0) Comments
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

<< Back to main