— Life —

Snow White Gone Bad and Other Outfits

They used to call me Snow White, but I
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Today I unpacked seven, cardboard wardrobe boxes that have been in storage for 10 years. I just thought it would be an easy process, and I’d move on to the other 44 unpacked boxes. Instead, I tried on old clothes of mine, mother’s, James’s… even my first husband’s, while Sam and Molly watched and sniffed with great interest. So many memories…

Mark Twain said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” I wonder what he would say about my Snow White “gone bad” outfit?

In one of the boxes was my first husband’s slim-fitting, soft, black leather jacket. I remember we walked into a store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. His blond hair hit his shoulders, and he was wearing his tailored jacket and thin-soled Bally shoes. I had lots of hair, as was the style, and was wearing high heels and a black, Calvin Klein, thin wale, corduroy jumpsuit with a fitted waist—collar turned up—like Lauren Hutton wore in that month’s issue of “Vogue.” As someone told us that day, “You look like movie stars.” I was 23.

In another cardboard box I pulled out the black and purple Adolfo knit I wore to a wedding soon after my first husband died. I remember standing on the balcony of an historic, Texas limestone hotel, sharing a joint with my friends and thinking I was having too much fun for a new widow. It had been a year-and-a-half of his surgeries and chemo, bone marrow pulls and experimental treatments and before that… seven years of his multiple, substance abuse problems. I was more than ready to feel what it was like to be out from under the fear of living with a Dr. Jeckll and Mr. Hyde, drug-induced personality. I wanted to know what happy felt like, again. I was 37.

Then there’s the Snow White “gone bad” stage costume (… another story) I bought at a San Francisco S&M bondage store. This may be my favorite shopping experience. As if on cue, two strangers and I would exit our dressing rooms in unison, stand side-by-side–seemingly unaware of the person next to us–and look at ourselves in the store’s only mirror. My fellow shoppers included a bare-chested, well-built guy in biker boots, who was trying on silver chainmail jockstraps. Lots of adjusting going on there:) The other shopper was a tall, way-y-y-y overweight redhead whose outfits got smaller and smaller as her tiny man clapped louder and louder. And then there was me, dressed in lace-up, black patent leather stiletto boots, an off the shoulder black satin and patent leather lace-up top and a multilayered, plum colored skirt, shorter in front than in back. My kingdom for a video camera that day! I was 44.

I also found mother’s detachable fur collar and cuffs she added to sweaters and jackets and a voluminous blue skirt with giant, copper colored sequins–price tag’s still on it–I bought after I finished chemo for breast cancer. The skirt was an affirmation I’d still be here the following year and have someplace festive to wear it. That was 12 years ago, and I’ve never worn it.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I hope each one of you know how much I value and appreciate your support and friendship; that you take the time to visit 1010ParkPlace and read not just my blog, but all of our great writers. Here’s wishing you a safe and joy-filled weekend.

Love, Brenda


  • Laureen Satabe November 26, 2016 at 7:43 am

    A trip down a lane filled with memories….

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      As I unpack all of these boxes, I’m having lots of trips. xoxox, Brenda

  • Joyce Sullivan November 26, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Brenda, Such a joyous riot of memories through fabrics. I loved being in your hot rod with wheels screeching memories – On the edge, adrenaline flowing and so happy to be alive to embrace it all. – Joyce ❤️

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      Hello my friend! If only you’d known me before I stopped living on the edge… That was a wild ride. Thanks for stopping by, Joyce! xoxox, Brenda

  • Pennie Nichols November 26, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Unpacking boxes can be an emotional journey. Yours was also fun!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      It has been emotional, Pennie. Some things I’m not ready to experience, but someday…. Thanks for reading and stopping by. Brenda

  • Cathy Chester November 26, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Warm, wonderful memories from a bunch of boxes and clothing. Someone to hold onto for your whole life. How wonderful you’re in a place that you love. Best to you.

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      I’m hoping you’ll soon be in a place you love as well. Know this time has been very rough on you. xoxox, Brenda

  • Paula Kiger November 26, 2016 at 9:15 am

    What GREAT stories, Brenda. Thank you for sharing them; your words brought the images (and emotions) to life.

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      I’m happy you liked them because they’re fun to relive and share. Have you found a running replacement yet? xoxox, Brenda

  • Barbara November 26, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I can only imagine the mixed bag of emotions all this brought back. You always find a way to give it a positive spin and I admire that so much. When is your memoir coming out?? That I would love to read.

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Interesting you say that, Barbara. A part of my life I needed to tell, get it out for therapeutic reasons and to put it in perspective, but since it’s not in anyone’s best interest–on a global, world scale–I wrote a fictionalized version. A thriller actually. I found an agent who subsequently had a breakdown before we got it published, and I’ve not done anything further with it. Now I’ve distanced myself enough from “it” that I’m not sure it’s a tale that should be told in any genre. We’ll see… xoxox, Brenda

  • Beckye Rutherford Estill November 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Loved this article and the memories you share! What an amazing life you have had, Brenda! And the adventure continues! So grateful for the place God has placed you in now! Thank you for sharing with all of us!

    • 1010 Park Place November 26, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you, Beckye. I’m grateful as well. God has blessed me beyond all measure. xoxox

  • Esther Zimmer November 26, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I love this, Brenda. Clothes are important – I don’t care what anyone else says – I’m not a frivolous person but what we wear has the ability to make us feel so many different things. Not just when we wear them, but years later when we’re either unpacking boxes, looking at photographs or going through the memory boxes in our mind! And what an incredible life you’ve had, with your fair share of ups and downs. I’m so glad you’ve found a place to call home and that you can finally unpack those boxes. Essie xx

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      Thank you, Essie! I’m grateful I’ve found a place I love and have learned that memories come in the least expected ways. Love, Brenda

  • Claudya Martinez November 26, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Beautifully written. It made me want to know all the stories you unpacked.

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Oh, Claudia! I could fill page after page of stories like the Army jumpsuit given to me to wear when I was the first journalist to drive and fire the M-1 tank. Talk about an adventure. I bet I’m the only person you’ve heard of who broke a $60M tank! Thanks so much for stopping by, Brenda

  • 1010 Park Place November 26, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    We are sisters that’s for sure. The Breast Cancer Sisterhood, a club neither one of us wanted to join. I hope you’re doing well. Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. xoxox, Brenda

  • Marjorie Sargent November 26, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Seventeen years and counting for me…you?
    Thanks for your warm comments.

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      Twelve! God willing, many more for both of us! All my best to you, sister girl. xoxox, Brenda

  • Diane November 27, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Nothing quite tells a story like the clothes we have in storage. I go down through the layers. Like an archeological dig.
    Only not as hot and sweaty.
    Loved hearing your memories, Brenda!

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks, Diane! We’ll have to exchange archaeological dig stories sometime.

  • Sarah Harris | Makesmewander.com November 27, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Love the peek into your past and how they played a part in your story!

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Clothes are such a part of our story and who we are. Wouldn’t it be interesting to write a piece about the two or three items of clothing that have most changed our lives? I know what my first one is… Do you? Brenda

  • Jen November 28, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Wonderful trip down memory lane. Thank you for sharing it with us! xo

    • Brenda Coffee November 28, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      Memory lane… Makes me think of my mother and how dementia robbed her of her memories, even from the clothes in her closet. xoxox, Brenda

  • Tamera Beardsley November 30, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    What a wonderful post my dear! Such a beautiful way to share and savor memories! I am definitely hooked and can’t wait to come back to this fascinating space to learn more about you!!

    Brenda thank you so very much for your lovely comments on my blog! You are such a dear to visit and comment!

    • 1010ParkPlace December 6, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Hi Tamera, It’s always fun to read what you have to say and see how you’ve styled something. You make everything with such grace and style. I hope to see you here, again. Brenda

  • Donna O'Klock December 5, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    You could STILL pull-off that outfit, Brenda!
    Sounds like it was a wonderful, tactile way to spend a day, reviewing a life well-lived.

    • 1010ParkPlace December 6, 2016 at 9:00 am

      LOL! You’re funny, Donna! If I didn’t look totally ridiculous, the spiked heeled boots would kill me for sure. xoxox, Brenda

  • Leisa Hammett December 11, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Love this.

    • Brenda Coffee December 11, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Thank you, Leisa! xoxox

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