Tuesday, April 18, 2017

This is old.

A few days ago, Robert surprised me with glass inserts for our top shelves, which means that I can start opening up our keepsakes and decorating a little.

It felt like unpacking pieces of my soul.  I don't give a wazoo how corny that sounds.  Even though it's been two years I could tell what the wrapped pieces were just by their weight and shape.  

As I unwrapped everything I thought, oh here's the glass snail.  Here's my grandma's porcelain flower basket.  

I also found my butterfly tin that my dad gave me. Inside were pictures of my dad that my Aunt Lil gave me.  I'm hoping to start rounding up all my dad's pictures and scan them so I can share them with my brothers.  I can only hope they'll do the same for me with the pictures they have *hint hint*. Finding the pictures was a nice surprise as I often put them in "safe" places that I rarely find again.  

My dad is on the left wearing black socks with brown shoes.  He's going to be displeased that I'm not mentioning what kind of car they're standing on.  

Hopefully this cheers ol' dad up : )

Yep, that's me, making a getaway on an old yellow ambulance.  It's pretty obvious I'm his daughter ; ).

Every treasure I unpacked today has a story!  So many memories!

Robert's mom recently gave him a picture of his two favorite childhood stuffed animals, Blue Bear and Yuckaduck.  To me, it's a little terrifying to look at, but to him, I'm sure the picture is a comfort. And really, once I get past the terrifying stares of two very grimy stuffed animals that are falling apart it's obvious they were loved into that condition. 

I have a few pieces that belonged to my granny, whom I have many memories of, though she passed away when I was just shy of 12.  After she passed away in 1997, my mom and grandpa went to Arizona to settle her estate.  I have a handful of stories from that trip alone. My grandpa, who had cerebral palsy and was wheelchair-bound, was a tough man to shave.  He shook constantly, so it took both my mom and grandma to keep his face still any time they went after it with an electric razor.  While my mom and grandpa were in Arizona, my mom struggled to shave him on her own, until she put her hands just so, and presto, success.  That's when my mom noticed a funny noise coming from grandpa.  With utter horror, and a little bit of humor too, she realized she had her hand clamped over his mouth and nose and was suffocating him.  Naturally, I heard this story many times, my mom doing all the talking and my grandpa sitting there, laughing his gravelly "heh heh heh" as she told it.

Another wild thing that happened on their trip is the amount of toilet paper my great granny left behind.  Closets and closets of it.  It lasted us years and it was all different colors and styles.  And no, I have not kept any of that toilet paper as a keepsake, though some of it was disturbingly pretty.  

While my grandpa and mom were packing up my granny's things something beautiful and amazing happened to them that had nothing to do with shaving or toilet paper.  Before my granny died, she left little notes on everything, usually on the bottom of things and often intriguingly short.  My mom talked reverently about this for years, and though I wasn't there to experience it, I still get goosebumps thinking about how healing it must have been to pack up granny's belongings with notes here and there.  And how it must have felt like she was right there talking with my mom and grandpa.  

When I unpacked one of my granny's pieces today, I sat for a long time holding it, occasionally flipping it over to reread its note still attached after twenty years, the china so thin I'm sure I'll be able to see right through it at some point during my lifetime.

Every time I look at my granny's pieces the funny stories come back and I can hear everyone's laughter and voices just as clear as they were back in 1997.

Each piece I unpacked has a story, sometimes many, and I recognize I should not be so attached to things that could leave my life at any moment.  Heck, two years was much too long.

So I'm taking pictures of everything, writing down the memories that go with each picture and creating yet another journal... That will need to be digitalized. But recollection is such a huge chunk of any experience, and I'd argue that at some point, we spend more time recollecting our experiences than we do living them.  

A few more pieces of my soul's puzzle found their way back to me today, and that silly picture of Blue Bear and Yuckaduck might just be a new piece that's slowly haunting it's way into my happy heart.


  1. ...and the wonderful animal stories. The duck in the bathtub, bite size Surely turds, catching a fish with your bare hands, and mom's favorite "I'm sorry Badger I will never do it again."

  2. If you can print out photos of your dad on the unicycle, or any of his publicity photos... Scott would be over the moon.