Rabbit Hand Muff

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I wore my rabbit hand muff around all day today. It just hung around my neck and occasionally I slipped one or both hands into the cozy silk inside. I have always wondered why fur coats had the fur on the outside. Wouldn’t it make more sense to reverse that?

This white muff and the small white leather gloves from Saks Fifth Ave. have been stored together for ever it seems. I wore them when I was about seven…and then? And then they were stored away. First by one of my parents and then I adopted them and they became a link to my past. Perhaps I thought I owed it to them…or to my father who bought them for me and then to whomever saved them for me. The longer one saves something, the more they gain in value. They are valuable because they have been saved even more than because of their active life. And then how does one get rid of them?

It was Halloween. Some 80 kids showed up at my door with their scrappy, stupid and sometimes brilliant costumes. “Is that a muff?!” asked one girl. She was the only one. I asked her how she knew. And then she added something entirely inexplicable: “So&So has one.” Who I asked? So&So, the football player. I was mystified.

This is what is left of my lovely little girl’s white rabbit muff, the kind one might find in a fairy tale in some winter wonderland.

There are other clothes I have saved. Pauline gave me an embroidered black pleated wool skirt with straps… no, we didn’t call them straps…not back then. Suspenders maybe; but not elastic. Heavens, how have I forgotten what these things were called?! Two long straps that start at the waistline in the back, criss-cross across the back and go over each shoulder and button into the waistband in the front. Several button holes allow for tightening or loosening. The button are in the waistband. Quite clever.

The bottom of the skirt has a colorful appliqued scene and characters. And a green band was added at some point as I grew taller. No one loved this skirt in the next generations. Perhaps the wool for too scratchy, the shoulder straps too old-fashioned or unusual. Maybe they did not like ‘ethnic’ stuff. This well-preserved item is from Peru, perhaps of Ecuador…someplace in that part of the world. It was touristic then and even more so now.

The muff now hangs with my scarves on the hat rack. The white leather gloves are momentarily lost, I think. The skirt languishes in my closet. But I still have photographs of little Janie and the muff and Little Janie wearing the black wool skirt with her Grand-mère at La Tortue.