I have two storage lockers full of crap. At one time these were cherished mementos from three decades of living; painstakingly selected to represent my taste, philosophy, and intelligence.
Books. Boxes of Hemingway Austin, and Hawthorne stacked to one side of the locker, a wall of imagery, alteration, and symbols. Pomposity at it’s finest. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read them (well most of them), but why did I keep them? Because they looked good on those oak shelves? Well, look how smart she must be she has not only one – but TWO copies of The Great Gatsby. The truth is the large majority of them I will never read again. I’m in my fifties, I doubt I will ever again wade through The Scarlet Letter.
Dishes. Tubs of plates and cups, with matching divided serving bowls so your peas and corn don’t co-habitat in a licentious manner. Those horny little starches will never hook up on my watch. The sanctity of Thanksgiving was always safe in my home.
My point is I have a deplorable amount of possessions . Decades of things that I’ve been without for almost two years. I’m not even sure I remember everything that’s in those units, but I know it’s there. Pounds and pounds of memories so rich with emotion that they can hardly be spread evenly throughout my nights of restless dreams.
I have learned to live without them. Things I surrounded myself with like a shawl, I barely remember what they look like.
The temptation is to throw it all away. Someone else can confiscate these lockers. They can enjoy drinking wine from the insipid little glasses with the tiny gold rims while eating taco chips from the chili shaped bowl. Even the things that actually meant something at one time, items that represent my childhood or parents have lost luster in my mind. That milky white pitcher that my mother use to pour fresh squeezed orange juice from is really just a dime store piece she bought in the 50’s. Using it isn’t what keeps her memory alive. I am.
But no, I hang on to these things, clutching them with the tight-fisted grip of five-year old squeezing a bouquet of dandelions.
And I don’t let go. Even knowing that I can’t take them with me when I die. Realizing that the people I will leave behind may not find the same joy in these things that I have. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m only creating a minor hell for my son. He is the one who will have to deal with all these things. These items. This pile of crap. More than likely the milky white pitcher will end up in an antique store or garage sale years from now, with no stories to tell about my breakfast legacies. And that’s OK, because I would rather be remembered for living life than drinking juice.
And just so you know,it probably wasn’t fresh squeezed orange juice anyway. It was probably Tang.
I did grow up in the 60’s.