Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Return of the Ghost Coat

Ever since a neighbor's funeral in 2005, the Ghost Coat has haunted our household. Mom wanted to wear her "good, white coat" to that funeral and sent me to get it from her "overflow closet" in our daughter's former bedroom. I brought the coat I thought she wanted.

"This is NOT my good, white coat!" she said, in disgust. "The one I'm talking about is 3/4 length and has big patch pockets." I returned to the closet. There was no white coat matching her description. I searched through the few coats in the tiny coat closet in Mom's "apartment." No coat. "Where COULD it be?" she muttered.

For the next three years, she fretted obsessively about that coat. When Phil suggested, on the day of the funeral, that she might have left it somewhere by mistake, she treated his suggestion as a cover-up. Obviously, he was trying to turn the spotlight of suspicion away from me. I must have given her coat away to the church rummage sale. When I assured her that I had not, she would reply, "Well, then, WHERE is it?" I hadn't a clue, so therefore I must have given it away.

"Mom, I don't even remember this coat," I said.

"You ask the girls," she said. "They appreciate nice things. They'll know what coat I'm talking about." I asked our daughters. They hadn't a clue either.

She kept obsessing about it. Two years ago, on the way home from a disappointing visit to the dermatologoist--he refused to remove some non-cancerous growths on her neck because of her age--she announced, "Well, there's one thing we have to settle once and for all!"

"What's that?"

"I need to know what you did with my good, white coat."

"Mom," I said, wearily, "I didn't do anything with your coat. I don't even remember this coat. I would never give away any of your things to a rummage sale. What more can I say?"

A long discussion ensued.

Finally, she sighed, "Well, if you didn't take it, who did? Someone must have come into my room and taken that coat out of my closet."

"I don't think anyone took your coat. I have no idea what happened to it. It's a mystery."

She considered this for a minute. Then she said, "Well, I guess you didn't take it after all. I've prayed a lot about this. I asked God to forgive you, because if you took that coat, it would have been a black mark against you in his book. It's a mystery, all right, but I still wish I knew what happened to it."

That was the last I heard about the white coat.

Last week, a call from Purple Heart spurred me into action. A donation truck was coming to our neighborhood. I spent last Saturday cleaning out Mom's closets, washing and sorting clothes to be given away.

In Mom's tiny coat closet, I found several coats, including a coat I had never seen before. White wool, black buttons, 3/4 length, big patch pockets. Here, at last, was the "good, white coat." Who knows how and when it ended up there? Heaven knows I looked through that closet dozens of times, searching for that coat.


Xanadu said...

Did you inform your mother that you found the coat? That would make her day, I'm sure. Of course, maybe then she would accuse you of hiding it from her. Who knows. lol. Glad it showed up. Hugs.

Lena said...

Wow, isn't uncanny when things like that happen? Maybe she had a hand in it from above.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

What a strange thing to happen. Are you keeping the coat? Maybe she wants you or one of your girls to have it.

Eric S. said...

That sounds just a little too coincidental. I agree with Lena, she must have exerted a little force from on high. Perhaps it was a way of apologizing for the years of accusations.

forsythia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
forsythia said...

LOL, Ruth. We have heard so much about that coat that we happily donated it to the Salvation Army. May whoever buys it wear it in good health.

Yes, the whole thing is weird all right. I've HEARD of things like this happening to other folks---things rearranged on desks by departed loved ones, etc.---but I remain skeptical. On the other hand, what's going on?

Eric, Lena, Xanadu: Mom never apologized for ANYTHING. She was always right. I don't expect her to start now. :-)

Nan said...

That IS strange. In my case, Mom always said I took one of her favorite cookie pans. LOL I guess everyone needs something to fret about.