cupboard loves

28 Sep

There’s something pleasing about a line-up of closed cupboard doors – whether kitchen, bedroom, hallway. It’s not simply about efficient storage, but also the thrill of imagining what lies behind! The doors are authority, a formal closure which can be a hiding to all or nothing.
Google tells me the first recorded use of the word ‘cuppebord’ in Middle English denoted a sideboard or table for storing the daily kitchenware, but today we’re centuries on from a description of somewhere to stash the daily crockery. The intervening years have supplied the addition of a door on our cupboard, to conceal the contents of a recessed space or free-standing unit, still usually with shelves. And herein lies the intrigue. Whether you picture a wardrobe or closet, cabinet or armoire, I propose that to most of us a neatly tethered door (latch, knob or push-open mechanism – what’s your favourite?) is the sign of a promise to come. I give you a hiding place, the holder of secrets and guardian of potentials.
An encounter with my open wardrobe for example, will talk to you of all my incarnations whether you knew them already or not. Here’s the larger me, now the trim one, my party-essentials, my one-day-maybe gowns, my smarter, working clobber, and the can’t-bear-to-throw-out threadbares, too. In an effort to remain discreet, hanging garments are racked sideways on making them slower to spill the whole story; shoes below are stacked in boxes to further the air of mystery.
Conversely, the two, floor-to-ceiling hall closets reveal an entirely different treasure. Throwing open the doors with a silent tah dah! showcases a ‘mad professor’ array of boxes, answerphones, wireless receivers, transmitters and modems, each flashing and winking at each other in electronic knowingness. It’s the hub of the house, keeping us online and contactable. Only qualified personnel can rummage in here – you must be schooled by our handy-gadget guy, signed off as someone ‘who can’ before flicking switches and pulling plugs. Otherwise, back off quick.
My über-personal cupboard is the one under the stairs. Not easy to reach into, deep and oddly-shaped, it safeguards a 3-D jigsaw puzzle of boxes and crates. It’s my work of art – all items neatly packed and labeled with love. It’s proper stuff (no nonsense) that I believe just might become re-useful. Sentimentality be praised, all is valuable here. There are practicalities such as Christmas decorations, of course. Collected over years from family and on my travels. A blow-up bed (never used, but you never know), and a hoard of every type of phone charger I will not require again but a guest might? From my hobby years, a stock of knitting wool and used-once dress patterns, indeed a heavy old sewing-machine bequeathed by Granny – idle for 17+ years but too valuable to ditch. A carton of ‘work-papers 2000-04’ records my first essay into running a business and warns of a whole other story for a different telling. Can’t bear to read it, can’t bring myself to rubbish it. Sweetly, my school satchel has become nostalgia-packed, these days the smell of teenage years is wrapped around a carefully selected, representative sample of text books and a copy of my university dissertation. Unpublished.
I wonder what my cupboarded possessions will divulge to a future discoverer? On my demise, someone will go through them all and I hope not simply wonder at all this hoarding, but also smile at me perhaps, and share my thrill of cupboard searching.

 

 

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