Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Laundry Basket

When I was a little girl a large woven basket stood in the corner of my parents’ bedroom. It looked like it came from an Arabian souk. I liked to believe it had once been home to a charmed cobra that rested in its depths before curling out to dance in front of ogling onlookers when the lid was removed and the magical music stirred its coils into rhythmic movement.

Stored at the bottom (for reasons I never bothered to ask) was a beautiful peach silk robe embroidered with floral designs. It belonged to my Mum but I never saw her wear it – the long kimono-style sleeves weren’t terribly practical for a housewife. What they did make though was the perfect garb for regal Queens who ruled over magical islands. Matched with a pair of over-sized navy blue high heels (not kept in the laundry basket), the outfit transformed little girls into anything their imaginations desired.

The laundry basket made a great hiding place too, just so long as you could keep your balance and avoid a bruising and giveaway topple to the ground. Eventually we grew too big for such games. The robe got put somewhere else was forgotten about – until a timely prompt about ‘laundry’ dials up a memory!

I phoned my Mum to see if she remembered the robe. She still has it and I discovered my Grandfather had brought it back as a gift for my Grandma from Burma where he fought in the 2nd World War. It was hiding its story in the laundry basket! Mum has it safe, but she still never wears it!

Now I am grown, I own a similar laundry basket to that one from my childhood and, although there are no silken Burmese robes hiding in its depths, it does hold its own stories. Last week it was filled with sarongs and shorts and brightly-blossomed blouses telling a tale of balmy sunshine days and soft sandy beaches – fragments of holiday memories that thankfully won’t wash out!

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