Sunday, February 19, 2017

Reaching So Far Down Into The Bucket Of Memories

When the bug man came a few months ago to inspect for damage in this old house, he did find two pieces of furniture out in my office which had some sort of wood-boring pests in them and he said we either need to get them treated (which involves taking them to a facility where they do this) or burning them.

One of the pieces of furniture is my grandmother's desk which, at one time, was a beautiful thing. But the wood veneer has started to peel off of it and it's sort of a wound in my soul because my mother was so mad at me for "letting it go." And I suppose I could get it all fixed up and treated and maybe I will but the other piece is just a large bookcase which I'm sure isn't worth the expense.

But I've put off clearing those two pieces of furniture because both of them were where I stashed things like pictures and cards and letters. Also, several of the versions of my novel, printed out and boxed, along with the correspondence from the literary agent who took my novel on and promised to sell it. Oh! The interest she reported from different publishing houses was so very, very exciting.
Until...well, nothing happened.
And I'm sure I've said this before but I never really allowed myself to believe that the book would be published as a way to protect my heart and so, it wasn't really that big of a deal but of course it was, in a way.

So today was weird and sort of hard. I went through so many things that my children have given me over the years. The first childish scrawls on Mother's Day, the pictures of flowers as big as the humans, stickfigured in crayon on construction paper. The many, many letters May has sent me over the years. I was actually amazed at how many letters she sent me while she was in college in Sarasota and when she traveled the country in her truck and when she lived in Phoenix and in Connecticut and I didn't even stop to start reading them because I never, ever would have come up for air.
Letters from camp. I think Hank was the only kid of mine who liked camp. The rest of them sort of hated it. May flat-out said she hated it. And all of them complained of the heat.
The books my kids made me with pictures and illustrations.
The poems they wrote me. The sweet cards and letters my husband has sent me over the years. So much, so much and it's all like a time machine and then the pictures, too, the photos of my babies when they were babies and when they were toddlers and I can barely stand to look at them because so much time has passed while I blinked an eye, did a load of laundry, took a breath, a nap, a shower.

And my journals! Jesus Christ! I never really thought of myself as someone who keeps a journal and yet, I truly have. Or used to, at least. Journals bitching about young motherhood and on the next page, how heavenly sweet it could be and how tired I always was and the entries I wrote from Cozumel- so many from Cozumel- and I even found the pictures from our first trip there, thirty years ago.

What to keep? What to toss? What to do? Do I ever want to go back and read those journals? I doubt it. Do I want my kids to read them? After I'm dead they can if they want to. I'll be dead. I won't care. But do they really need to know all that shit? The ratio of profound to deadly boring daily stuff is not balanced so that they would really learn anything from reading them.
But I kept most of them. Put them up on a high shelf in the library where they will sit and probably rot, eventually.

I threw away so much stuff. Cardboard boxes of different versions of that long manuscript. Photos that were blurry or stupid or of subjects that no one on this earth cares about. Four turtles on a log? Throw it away. I threw away stuff that was mouse-tattered and stuff that had been rendered unreadable by mildew and moisture. I threw away stuff that I'm sure people could have used and now I'm wondering why but it's too late, I did it, it's all at the trash depot.

And my office is rather a mess but I got to a point where I just couldn't do any more. I need to organize the stuff I've kept, or at least make a stab at that.

Here are some pictures. Some of pictures.


Me nursing baby Jessie. I was thirty-four. I felt so old.


Jessie and Lily.

Us at a wedding. I don't remember when it was but I remember I bought that dress at JC Penny's.


My silver baby rattle which was in Granny's desk. I think that my brother Russell repaired it for me when he was working as a jeweler and warned me that it wasn't really strong enough for a baby to gnaw on and play with. But it's as familiar to me as my thumb.


The incredible hotness that is my husband, carving a Thanksgiving turkey.


Stuff. With mouse poop. 

So that's been most of my day after Lon and Lis left this morning and may I mention that we stayed up until 1:30 in the morning? Dear god, I am tired, but it's okay. It was lovely, spending the morning with them, eating heated-up quiche and toast, looking at house plans and the garden. 

Mr. Moon spent most of the day spreading wood chip mulch and now I'm going to make us a gourmet supper of tuna casserole and salad. We still have enough salad greens to make a fine salad and as the season comes to a close and everything begins to bolt, we appreciate each and every one. 

Lily just posted this on Facebook. 


There. That's the sort of picture I need. Not my past with all of its ghosts and memories, but my now. 

Love...Ms. Moon



28 comments:

  1. I am so struck by that picture of you nursing Jesse. How open your expression is, how soft. You've always been this person. Who folds us in. And yes, you husband is a hot one. Love that picture of you at the wedding too. I love all these old pictures. And the new one at the end of the post is precious too.

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    1. Oh, how I loved being a new mother! Each baby who came to me brought his or her own special love. And I felt so gifted with each one.

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  2. it was cool to see you from back in the day.

    we were all so young once. where ever did time go?

    xxalainaxx

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    1. Do not ask me, sweetie. I have no idea.

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    1. And that would be in reference to the hotness which is Mr. Moon?

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  4. The photos you posted are priceless. The one of you and Jesse - you look like you are 12. Really! And the one of Lily and Jesse? August looks just like Jesse. Both kids are precious in the photo. Just a delightful post!

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    1. Thank you, Joanne. I see a lot of similarities between Jessie and August at that age.

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  5. OK, your husband looks like Grizzly Adams! So handsome!I LOVED Grizzly Adams, and was sure I would marry him when I grew up! I know what you mean about all the sentimental stuff. I have been working on sorting all of the papers/photos/etc. from my past and that I have been handed down. I've kept a few things for myself, and the rest have been divided and boxed for my kids & niece & nephew. Now it's their turn to cart them around / enjoy them/ whatever! They would have wound up with them anyway. I have lost so many family members these last few years and have had to sort out their belongings. That is so incredibly painful! So much better to deal with the sentimental stuff now. Proud of you! It's not an easy job!

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    1. And I haven't touched any of it today. Not one bit. It's like I used up all of my ability to deal with such things yesterday. I'll get back to it.
      Yeah. My husband is a sort of a Grizzly Adams. I'm sure that's part of why I fell in love with him.

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  6. I love so much seeing you when you were young. You are still so you. I love seeing them. Put up more, please.

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    1. Oh, I'll think about it. You're so sweet.

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    2. Yes, I came back to say how much I loved the photos. Amazing. It's a privilege to see your memories illustrated like that.

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  7. Last night I went Out. (I capitalized it on purpose because it was a big deal.). I've become my mom, Mary. She didn't like going Out because she would get cold from the never ending rain and damp here. I used to roll my eyes but now I get it. However, I thought ahead and put a blanket in the car and it was fine. I even had fun! Then we came home, went in the hot tub and got warm. Anyway, I went Out and didn't die or have a panic attack. Well, a little one but I managed.
    A few weeks back I went through a bunch of my kids things. Teeny, tiny hats they wore home from the hospital that were too big! Pictures and artwork and letters to the tooth ferry. Oh, it goes by so fast. It causes a hurt way deep down.
    I will miss breastfeeding until the day I die.
    Mr. Moon was indeed hot! Did/Do you see other women flirting with him? Women would swoon when my dad walked into a room. They would flirt outright in front of my mom. My mom thought it was funny because she trusted him completely and she could be all, "Yeah, he's mine, bitches!" (I added the bitches. My mom never used to swear.) My dad of course was oblivious because he loved only my mom.

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    1. I get it- the going Out thing. I did not say one word, the whole trip into town that night. I just didn't have it in me. But once I got there, it was lovely.
      I, too, will miss breastfeeding until the day I die. No one tells you how beautiful it is.
      Of course I saw other women flirting with my husband! Absolutely! But sometimes he saw other men flirting with me...
      He's so tall that he never missed anything.

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  8. We are a "picture taking family " :)
    My parents and grandparents took photos and saved them for me ... photos of me as an infant in the desert of Arizona with aunts and uncles and my mom, who are gone now, I am so grateful for those photos.
    They pile up and fill boxes and annoy us, but they also hold us close to the people who are no longer here with us. We, at least, can still look at them and remember.

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    1. I just want to hand over these boxes and envelopes and say, "Here. Y'all deal with these."
      And I could do that. I probably will.

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  9. Oh, boy, can I identify with this post. As you know I've been going through my own journals. And yes, they're full of daily boring shit but weirdly fun and yet exhausting to read. And letters! I never know what to do with letters. I've been on the verge of throwing them away for ages, but I hate to throw away letters from people who are now dead -- but some of them wrote them to me when I was a kid so it's not like they contain very significant information. You know? I've scanned tons of my old pictures and thrown away the prints, which get old and discolored after a while anyway.

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    1. Oh, I love that picture of you with Jessie. And that baby rattle is so cool! Very unusual. Maybe you can have it made into jewelry. :)

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    2. Ay-yi! Yes. The letters. And here's the thing- we won't have this true and real proof of communication in the future. It's so odd and strange, isn't it? The rattle is a big too large to make into jewelry. But it is beautiful, in its way.

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  10. The letters I have from my grandparents, written to each other and those of my parents written home when they moved from Detroit to CA give me a picture of them and their lives and who they were before me that I would never even suspect if they hadn't saved the letters.

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    1. And how will our grandchildren know us? Will my blog still be available on whatever platform people use when I am dead and my grandkids grow up? Have I wasted half my life, writing these words and posting these pictures on the internet?
      I wonder.

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  11. I have a box of things that I kept through the years of my life. I decided to go through it months ago, looking and reading through the bundles of letters from different boyfriends most of whom I didn't even remember, pictures, memorabilia that meant nothing to me now. I threw a bunch of it away, most notably the letters. figured my kids and grandkids didn't need to read that crap. I have kept the few things my husband sent/gave me over the years.

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    1. Yes. I've gotten rid of so much crap that means nothing to anyone, even me. But I, too, have kept things my husband has given me and actually- there's far more of it than I would have imagined. He has been very good about writing down his feelings, even though he is uncomfortable doing so. That makes every word all the more special.

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  12. No, don't throw the journals. Maybe the kids will do that but that's up to them. Uncle Cecil's diaries. They were written in the late 19th century. I think he was actually my grandmother's uncle, but I'm not sure. He ran away from home before world war 1. Rode his bicycle to the train and that was the start of it. Half of what he writes is bull shit, I know that from common history. But the other half, hiding in a box car until the, “bulls,” find him and throw him out, how far he had to walk to find another to repeat the whole thing. And which building sat where. All good stuff and happy to have it for historical records if nothing else. We never know. The energy was there to write it down in the first place now save it. The energy is the magic.
    MHO

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  13. Woah - I knew Owen looked like Lily, but wow.

    I think the thing to do is keep throwing out the things that feel good to throw out and keep the others, but revisit, and do that repeatedly. Whittle it down. Only keep the happy stuff. And give your children permission to toss it all so they don't have to feel guilty about it and keep it... I still have my mother's driving licence, I don't know what to do with it.

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  14. Camp kept me sane in tough years.

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Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.