... cleaning closets reveals treasures from the past
I moved to Melrose just about a year ago. Because I went from a nine room house to a two room apartment in elderly housing, I gave away just about everything. I thought I had done a pretty good job of it until I recently decided to clean my closets, which are bulging.
Closets are supposed to be for clothes but in mine, clothes are the smallest part. Mine hold treasures like the skis I got for Christmas when I was twelve years old. I used to ski right across the street from my house. There was a small hill and then flat ground and a smaller mound that went into a pit. The neighborhood children built the snow at the edge of the mound and produced a makeshift ski jump. It was great fun. I never learned to control my speed or to turn, I just bombed down and if anyone got in the way I would intentionally fall. I spent many happy afternoons with my friends on the hill laughing and falling and getting up to do it again. I can't throw away those skis.
I also found a box of old cameras. It contained a Brownie box camera that I bought at a yard sale years ago. It still works. But where would I find film to fit it and why would I want to? I have a digital camera now that takes 256 pictures on one photo card. I never have to buy film or pay for developing again. But the Brownie might be worth money as an antique. I can't throw that away.
On the top shelf, there are boxes of Christmas decorations. One of them contains the wooden ornaments my daughters painted when they were in elementary school. I can't throw them away.
There is another box with extension cords and computer and TV cables that I'm not using. But every so often I need one of them. I can't throw them away.
There is a huge box of pictures. They hold the story of my life. It would be nice if they were all neatly in albums but they're in shoe boxes within a larger blue plastic storage box. My wedding album is there too. I've been divorced for over twenty years. But in one of those pictures I see my grandmother, my mother's mother, the one who always had a candy dish with sugar wafers on the dining room table. My brother and I were allowed one each and I spent ages eating them with my eyes while I tried to decide which one to take. I didn't like strong peppermint so it was easy to eliminate the white ones. But, oh, the pastel pink, orange, green, and yellow were a feast for my eyes.
And we always had a tea party. My grandmother would put out saltine crackers and either grape jelly or strawberry jam. I was allowed to have very weak tea with lots of milk in it and as many crackers with jelly as I wanted. It doesn't sound like much, but I still love it once in a while.
There are, also, relatives and friends I don't see any more because they're either dead or moved away or we just lost contact. And, besides, in those pictures I had an 18" waist. I can't throw them away.
April 4, 2003