By Joan Mach

Ladies and gentlemen, on your left you see the Joan Mach Clothing Wilderness.  For your own safety, please keep your hands and  heads inside the vehicle at all times. This wilderness was formed when the clothing rod in Joan’s spacious walk-in closet broke while she was on vacation.  When she returned, the tangle of clothing was so bad she moved into another bedroom.  

 We begin our journey with the “party dress arboretum”.  Here, encased in plastic, are the dresses purchased for special occasions and worm once, if at all.  Note that most of them are in small sizes, and out of fashion.  They are, of course, “Dry Clean Only”.  Joan starved herself for weeks to fit into some of them.  We are still seeking a charity to take them.  Goodwill returned them with a note “We’re needy, not desperate”.  The Salvation Army said “It’s 2019, not 1970”.  Please, open your hearts to these orphans and take one home.  Don’t let them sit on the corner of the closet, gathering dust.  Ok, maybe at the end of the tour.  

Past the arboretum, we come to the “business clothing grove”.  Here are the stockings, girdles, gloves and hats needed to walk into a job in the 1970’s.  Like most women, Joan tortured herself into these contraptions to earn a paycheck in an office.  We have some more recent specimens, from business casual Friday.  Note these combine the discomfort of a work wardrobe with the ugliness of casual clothing.  Here, the colors beige, white and black predominate.  We’ll be out of this depressing part soon.  

The Polyester Pantsuit Pavillion comes next.  These indestructible outfits have survived children, housework and the election of Donald Trump.  Note the patch of white pantsuits with the “Hilary” logo.  No, Joan’s middle name was not Hilary.  We’re going deeper into the pavillion to show you the range of colors: here’s a  size 10 1960’s orange, which came back in 2019.  Sadly, the 1960 orange had faded and Joan was a plus size by that time, but we keep it here as a reminder to throw nothing away. 

We’re zooming through the Separates Superhighway.  Please adjust your gas masks.  Remember, oxygen will flow even if the balloon does not inflate.  Here, in every possible size and color are Joan’s “outfits”. Suitable for spraying Deer repellent  on  hostas, or cleaning an enormous bowel movement  out of a teething baby,   These got Joan through her childbearing years.  All have indelible stains.  We’ve sent some to the big cleaning manufacturers, to test their cleaning products.  All have been returned with the label “Hopeless”.    That smell is cleaning fluid, not Secuacus.  We’ll be out of here soon.  Do not remove your gas masks until you see the red signs telling you to do so.

My personal favorite is next.  We make a 90 degree turn.  Caftan City floats into view.  Some of these go back to the 1960’s.  Here’s a rayon one from Hawaii in tropical colors.  Here’s another from a Souk in Morocco,.  Joan wore it  every year for the Feast of St. Esther, also called Purim.  These have all been hemmed for a petite woman.  Caftan City marks a point in Joan’s life when she simply  gave up on dieting.  She refused to torture herself with pills, bizarre food and worse. There’s the sunrise ahead.  

This ends the safari through Joan’s closet.  The rest of the tour can be done on your own.  Be sure to visit the Gift Shop, where Joan’s vintage jewelry collection can be purchased at prices  far below retail.  Rather than let them rot in boxes in the attic, we’re making them available to you now,  Today only: if you purchase $39.00 or more from the Gift Shop we will throw in a free party dress from the party dress arboretum.  How can you pass up such a bargain?  

Be careful leaving the vehicle.  You’re all too shy to ask, but the driver and I do accept tips.  Thank you for coming today. 

Joan Mach is a 75 year old writer from Teaneck, New Jersey.

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