The Closet Secrets

(This is a book for a child/young person, will be published with illustrations)

Closets can be very scary places with creaky doors,

sinister cave corners and

strange things.  Sometimes they’re dim and you can’t see all the way inside. These are the Barricade Closets and are a dire threat to the Laws & Order of Closet Kingdom.

You may wonder if you reach back into a corner something will nip your fingers or squeal in fright at the sight of your hand.  

There is a closet in your life you avoid, everyone has one. 

Maybe it’s dark and smells funny. 

Maybe it’s too big and looks lonely because that’s where people toss things they don’t want.  

Or it’s the one that needs organizing that will never occur.

People throw things into a closet when they are in a hurry.

Some people toss things in all the time so

piles of shoes,

soiled laundry,

shoe boxes, and bent hangers build up into complex fortifications. The construction of so many random things are lumpy mounds…. hiding places that move or whisper.

Ignored Closets are hard to find. In very old houses there may be an ignored closet in the attic. These are built mid-room, lined with cedar to keep out moths, dainty silverfish and some think, to keep out Time.

Some ignored closets are sturdy, dry, cool and dim, they are lit by a single light bulb with a long pull chain which may shed watery sepia light on their contents, TREASURE.  Various valuables and junk reside in these closets…., sometimes for decades.

A jaunty military uniform, wedding dress,

India silk shawl, hats, high button shoes,

long kid gloves with pearl buttons, fine leather cowboy boots,

feather boa, an old fur shawl with beady eyed animals head-clips,

black tuxedo turned dark gray green with age, a red Turkish fez,

a Chinese robe, Japanese sword, woolen Tam, studded belt, ballet slippers, molding scrapbooks filled with dim sepia photos, postcards… 

These are the very best of closets.

If you are very quiet and sit still as a mouse, you can hear these closets sharing stories, sighing with delight as they recount parties, wars, romances and travels around the globe.

Safe Closets are everywhere. When parents leave the house having deposited some frilly girl or frump to stay behind with the children, the very littlest child will rush away and sit in their closet, this is My Safe Closet.  The sobs of grief  heard coming from the closet-child are not because the parents departed, but because they described the strange person left behind as  “The Babysitter”!  Everyone knows the littlest child is certainly not a baby.  Having suffered this humiliating insult, solace can only be found playing with toys and grieving in the dim private quiet closet AWAY from the frump or frilly girl, who at the moment is frantic with fear because she can’t find the child.

The Dark Closets are filled with dark dusty things, their sagging doors never close properly.  They are usually found in basements where they crouch in the darkest corners and are rarely visited by anyone other than a scurrying mouse followed by a predatory cat or sleepy salamander. In very old houses these closets smell of coal, although the coal burning heater has long since departed replaced by a fired electronic system that twitches and heaves under it’s heavy load. Slatted narrow windows set at ceiling height  stream pale light through their dirty glass into the spaces where these old cabinets and closets creak and moan. Sometimes these windows seem to squint malevolently into the dank basement chamber.

The Forgotten Closets are lonely, but safe,  until some bright bulb is turned on and a precocious new home owner decides the turn the basement into a movie theater, or pool room or extra bedroom with a cute sitting area for the Nanny.  

The Locked Closets are in the Garage — Off Limits! to children. Inside these industrial grade chambers are hard cold metal tools, sharp things, mysterious brown bottles full of smelly stuff of the garden, vials of mysterious gooey substances, old paint cans, dried out paint brushes, spools of wire, garden pots, fogged vases and many things destined for the goodwill store or garbage.  Closets in the garage clatter and are noisy compared to their more sophisticated cousin closets filled with linens, soft clothes and frilly dresses.

 “Quick, hide in the closet” is a caution that has been spoken many times.  The word “Quick” is the clue that secrets,  danger and discovery are nearby.  You hid in a closet once….you were still as a cat waiting for a lizard….not moving and barely breathing…hiding deep within your closet.

Closets are museums to the order and disorder of our lives,  memories, hopes and dreams. Closets are not simply storage places, they are the soul of our lives….they carry our scent, hide our secrets. 

Is there a Secret Closet in your house?

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