Blog, childhood, father, grandmother, memories, Writing

Things We Keep

Day 97

Today I have been in a whirlwind of thought. I have drifted in and out of every stage of my life only to wind up here in the present, sitting in front of my computer trying to decide what to write about. Maybe there is a form of writer’s block for blogs as well.

Perhaps my thoughts have been spinning so much because of the MasterClass course on writing. So many things to think about — so much so if you aren’t careful, too many thoughts invade the creative space choking out your ideas.

In reading other people’s work, I started to think about the things that people keep as ‘treasures’ and why they keep them. Some of these thoughts may have been foremost in my mind because of a novel I’m working on. Regardless, we all have things we treasure — physical, tactile things that remind us of something or someone or someplace that we care for or that we long for.

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My Grandmother Far Left

I wrote about my grandmother’s 78 rpm record I broke when I bounced onto the bed as a child. I never knew and never thought to ask why that record was so important to her, but I know it was. My great uncle had a hatpin that belonged to his mother — my paternal great-grandmother. I can imagine why he kept it.

I have my father’s baby shoes, one of his baby ‘gowns’, and hair from his first haircut. My daughter and I often joked about cloning my dad from his hair before we understood that DNA was not carried in cut hair. We all loved him so much and I imagine I will pass those items on to my children.

As teenagers, we kept scrapbooks. Not the beautiful kind that people spend hours on — crafting scenes from paper, photos, and beautiful stickers — that’s an art form! I’m talking about concert ticket stubs, chewing gum wrappers, movie tickets, notes from boyfriends, school play programs, etc. All of our everyday memories were painstakingly taped to black pages before we knew that neither the tape or the paper had acid that would eat our treasures apart.

There are treasures I have brought along with me through the years. Little chairs with velvet cushions cut from Pepsi cans, my grandmother’s stereoscope and love letters between my parents. They all remind me of some piece of my simple life. No financial treasures in my possession but they are the very essence of who I am.

Of course, I have memories of things I cherished that have long since been lost. My grandmother had a newspaper clipping in a book that looked like the face of Jesus. Of course, we have no idea what Jesus looked like, but it was the face we knew from attending Sunday School every Sunday morning. I remember stumbling on it as I flipped through some of her old books. The bookshelves, the books, and the clipping are long gone.

As a child, my favorite possession was a box of glass pieces I collected from the creek. They were china plates, pop bottles, and Ball canning jars — all smooth and polished from tumbling miles and miles over the rocks through the cold mountain creeks. They were beautiful. I kept my collection in the cardboard box my Barbie came in — yes, Barbie used to come in a cardboard box. I will bring it back, though, through my writing someday.

“The thing about growing older was that all of one’s possessions became imbued with a sense of the past.” 
Ella Carey