On Tending the Decades in Decadence

"I love him because he wears moccasins in the winter," says Winona to herself.

"I get pregnant if I hang my clothes next to a man's suit," Cher says to the room.

Winona grimaces.
Winona loathes Cher.

Cher feeds Winona candy kebabs for dinner.
Winona wants to fit into Cher's tightly-zipped dresses.

Winona asks Jesus not to let her do dirty things.
Winona prays that the bus driver will undress her.

Cher teaches Winona how to drive her pink Chevy.
Cher and Winona live on the water in Massachusetts.

JFK is shot.
New Year's Eve is televised for 1964.

I am watching Richard Benjamin's 1990 film, Mermaids.

I think of being a child in the backseat of my mother's car. Unlike Cher's pink Chevy Townsman, my mother's golden Pontiac had seatbelts and fabric seats and a cassette player through which we listened to Cher sing. Cher sang to my mother and my mother drove us to find tag sales by following the handmade signs across town. Cher sang to my mother and my mother drove us to Caldor for lipstick and new clothes under five dollars. Cher sang to my mother and my mother drove us to the consignment shops and thrift stores where everything had shoulder pads. Cher sang to my mother and my mother drove us to the gas station where a gallon cost little more than $1. Cher sang to my mother and my mother drove to her new job in banking after being occupied as a homemaker for seven years. Cher sang to my mother and my mother sang along when she was divorcing her husband and dropped the kids off at the babysitter.

Cher is the most glamorous bohemian single mother in Mermaids.

The oversized 80s vogue is demurely woven into the 60s setting. The fashion of New England in the winter makes me thankful for having a house as a home: rooms with drawers, with closets, with attics in the ceilings and basements behind closed doors. With blankets and throw-blankets and socks missing and winter clothes resurfacing to overshadow summer clothes hiding somewhere underneath, dresses crammed on mis-matched hangers so the wooden rod sags and the depths can't be surveyed, sweaters folded and stuffed like the towels in the hall closet: items archiving decades past.

A home gives you options to reach comfortable. The hot shower. The heater on. The kitchen cooking on the stovetop, in the oven. A pantry stocked, the fridge stuffed, the freezer a cave of mysteries wrapped in frost and aluminum. Bundle up in there. Comfort can be adjusted faster than that load of laundry will finish washing. The best feeling is slipping naked into underwear you pull from the dryer as soon as it is done. If your sheets are clean and soft and the blanket is heavy with feathers and down and you know you have ample time to fall asleep before you continue the unknown in your day when you rewake. What you do know is that tomorrow you will do this all again, with minor adjustments.

Home is a feeling you put on and take off.