They have been many things, done many duties. We bought them when we discovered that the house we were renting had no built-in wardrobes. It was a shock. ('I thought they'd take up too much room,' the landlord said.) We managed to get hold of a clothes rack first, but the clothes got dusty. We lived on a dirt road there, and could never keep the dust out of the house. How glad we were of these two little white wardrobes, even though the hanging space was not very tall and all my long dresses had to be doubled over the hangers like trousers. Standing side by side, each with a shelf on top and two drawers underneath, they served.
In other rented homes which did have luxurious built-in robes, they became other things. There was one time I managed to rig up some sort of makeshift shelves in the bottom - can't remember how. Maybe I found boxes that could be turned upside-down ... I don't know, something weirdly creative like that. When we were at North Tumbulgum they were in the huge room that was a converted garage, which I used as my office/temple/consulting room. One held my big folders of Reiki notes, magickal instructions and so on. The other held material to do with writing, including folders of my own writings.
I think at Nobby's Creek they were in the garage downstairs, used for storing junk so as to keep it tidy. I think ... I don't really remember very well. Certainly at Victoria Avenue, Pottsville, they were in the garage. Eventually they formed a dividing wall between Andrew's office, which he shifted out to the garage so as to have more space, and the junk storage crammed into one end of the garage — boxes, suitcases, that sort of thing.
At Elanora Avenue, Pottsville, they went into the third bedroom, the only one without built-ins, and they held magickal supplies and some of my soft toy collection.
Now here they are, wardrobes again, in another house without built-ins. In the guest room we have a rack, but people are here only a short while and some choose to live out of their suitcases. It's not just a guest room of course; it used to be Andrew's office. Now it is in the process of being converted into a workroom/sitting-room for me.
In the cosy little room we chose for a bedroom when we moved here, the white wardrobes fitted neatly against the wall opposite the bed, between the doorway and the angled corner section where we put the full-length mirror. Our clothes just fitted inside them, jammed up. My shawls had to go in one of those big plastic boxes on wheels instead. Now, of course, both wardrobes are mine. I have summer clothes in one, winter gear in the other.
Not long before he died, I put some of our magical pictures up on the wardrobe doors. Shiny pages from a fairy calendar, laminated photocopies of pictures by Marieah, laminated images from a Susan Seddon Boulet calendar. Andrew was having two weeks of temporary respite in Heritage Lodge at the time. Without him at home to care for, I was finally able to take the time to do that, and to put a couple of pictures on our bedroom door as well. I was so happy to show him when he got home, and he did enjoy them. He spent so much time in bed, I thought it was better for him to have something colourful to look at. I put a picture of Jorell and one of his guru, Baba-ji, on the wall by his bed too, underneath Penelope's portrait of Pan. Pan and Jorell are still there.
He was only six days home before he collapsed and went back to hospital to begin dying. But we didn't know that during those six days, and he did get pleasure out of the more colourful bedroom environment. We both did. Now I continue to get pleasure from it.
'I like my room,' I heard myself think yesterday, as I walked into the bedroom and looked around. 'My room', not ours. I have transformed it in the almost four months since he died, not in very dramatic ways but in little things like discarding his pillows, gradually beginning to occupy more of the middle of the bed, spreading my belongings into all the drawers and both the old white wardrobes, which have lasted well.