It’s a safe bet that I’d find clothes in your closet, boots, maybe a tennis racket. But I don’t think I’d find an otter hat, a movie camera, a stack of paintings or a ruffle iron. Sorting through ninety years of accumulation, my sisters and I have found all that ~ and more in Aunt Ruthie’s closet.


What We Found

It had taken the better part of a day to pull out, exclaim over, and assign a new niche to each piece. Each discovery illuminated what we remember about her interests: home movies shot, oil paintings from a class she took, vocal music conducted at school. An otter hat we remembering last seeing in the attic . . .

Sister Jean modeling Grandma Longenecker’s otter hat


Vintage ruffle iron


Lots of oil paintings found on shelves. They extend the gallery beyond those you can view in this post, Aunt Ruthie: Art Through the Ages.

Photographic gear for preserving memories, including the amazing 16 mm movie camera with an autographed case

The closet stands empty now, except for a suitcase from the 1940s once used to bring Pennsylvania Dutch meats on flights to families in Florida.


And on the dresser . . . a pearlized pink Bakelite vanity set



What We Didn’t Find

No skeletons! Metaphorically speaking, we didn’t find skeletons in the closet unlike those in Rhonda Gibson’s romantic mystery What’s in your Closet?”

But like all families, we have family secrets, some of which may be disclosed in my memoir. Author friend, Kathy Pooler, conducted a lively discussion about the conflict writers feel when deciding what and how to disclose intimate details of family life. Here’s her post, Do Mothers have a Right to Write their own Story?



What’s in your closet, dear reader . . . actually, or metaphorically speaking? You get to choose!