Back and Forth Adventures: Part 1 – My Italian Closet is Displeased

Theresa Elliott lives in Seattle and Lucca and this article is first in a six-part series our her back-and-forth adventures that will be posted in LuccaNews.Org on M-W-F afternoons during the next two weeks .

January in Lucca, 2022
Post #1 of 6 by Theresa Elliott

‘You have no clothing.’


‘You have no clothing,’ the voice in my head says again.

As I ponder the situation, I realize this is not the Drama Queen that occupies a vaunted spot in the Pantheon of voices in my head, but the cool assessment of the voice of My Italian Closet. I have arrived in Italy for a month long stay, but my clothes have not, for they are packed in my luggage, along with my toiletries, my medications and supplements, lots of my favorite clothing, including a leather belt I bought in Cannon Beach, Oregon when I was 16, that have all gone ‘missing.’ Just . . . not there. Nadda. Nothing. Besides the clothes on my back, I truly have nothing to wear.

The author, as she waits for her bags to arrive in Lucca.

On the bucket list of my life, I did not have a box to check for paying Air France an extra $50 fee for my bag on an economy flight so I could stand at the baggage roundabout in Florence 16 hours later, watching, waiting, and finally wincing as it ground to a halt, with nothing on it for me to claim.

Now, I have previous training in the we-don’t-need-clothing circles, most notably walking five weeks in Spain with only a backpack which I will tell you, like Noah, only had two of everything: t-shirts, skorts, long sleeved shirts, ‘camp’ shoes, socks, underwear, and bras. But this? I could pack all the clothing that has arrived on me in a lunch pail, and still have room for a bologna sandwich.

The previous austerities, however, did instill in me a no-need to rush attitude, even though Air France offers to pay for your clothing when they misplace it. After I wore the outfit that flew across the pond to Paris, followed by a puddle jumper to Florence, and then a train ride to Lucca on day one, when getting out of bed on day two I put the same outfit back on without thinking twice about it. But on day three it was Sandy who said, ‘Térè, we need to get you some new clothes.’

It’s an odd sort of predicament I find myself in because for years I have loved to shop for togs. I have not one but two closets, and they whisper in two different languages to me, encouraging me to find new friends. Then something funny happened, and it wasn’t the pandemic. Everything started looking the same in stores, I got bored and lost interest. Now for the first time I can remember, I have little interest in shopping, but I am forced to BECAUSE I HAVE NO CLOTHES. My Italian Closet is displeased.

Today I ventured out and tackled staples, things I don’t mind buying for cheap because if it were on my dime, that’s exactly what I’d do. But each day that passes is going to get more expensive. The fun stuff I packed was great clothing, and I don’t mind Air France picking up the tab because among other things in my missing bag, WAS MY DAMN COAT.

View from Theresa and Sandy’s apartment in Piazza Anfiteatro, Jan 2022.

Our back yard, Piazza Anfiteatro is absolutely lovely tonight. A guitar player has been out since mid-afternoon, and the beautiful Christmas lights still hang overhead. A woman in the bar below the bedroom is speaking loudly in Italian as a dog barks. I’m sitting in my new replacement sweat pants, t-shirt and underwear as it crosses my mind: if this goes one of the ways it could likely go, my bag will eventually make it back to me, and by that time Air France will have paid to kit out My Italian Closet. Seems fair.

©️Copyright Theresa Elliott. All rights reserved.

“Back and Forth Adventures: Part Two – Losing the Stuff that Matters” will appear this Wednesday afternoon. Theresa is wife of LuccaNews.Org co-founder Sandy Brown. Also pictured in the cover photo is Jane Pedersen, Lucca resident.

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