Every Saturday morning I wake up excited and enthused about the weekend. Oh, the plans I have. And because it’s the weekend, everything is going to be just for me. I’m going to write, read and take photographs. I’m going to sort through those papers, take myself out to lunch and maybe even do a bit of shopping.
In the late afternoon, I sit on the couch my living room bathed in the afternoon sun. I am a sun worshipper. I pick up a book and after reading five pages, my eyes begin to close. I am frustrated because unconsciousness is a waste of time. But my hands are cold and my feet are cold. I only want to warm them under the soft comforting embrace of my favorite blanket. What’s so bad about a Saturday nap after all?
Every Tuesday night is garbage night. Now, when my sons lived here with me, I have to say garbage night was always an issue. Yes… David and Kyler are garbage retarded. I don’t know exactly what the issue was but it seemed that every single Tuesday for YEARS, I had to remind them it was garbage night. Even after reminding them sometimes those big black garbage cans never made it to the roadside. Sometimes only half of the garbage made it out there. So to help remind them, I started to charge them $10 each for every time they forgot to take the garbage out. Still . . . no avail. What was up with that?
Now that I’m on my own, garbage night is an event. It actually causes excitement for me. Every Tuesday out go a myriad of things. I’m ruthless in my ability to throw stuff out and every Wednesday morning I’m happy to look out the window and see that it’s all been taken away.
It’s nearly 3am and I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about dumpsters! Seriously. . . isn’t this something I can think about in the morning? After I’ve slept. This is the stuff that drives me insane. So what kind of dumpster should I get? 10 yard, 12 yard, 20 yard? How does renting a dumpster compare with taking stuff to the dump? What does an actual 12 yard dumpster look like and will it suit my purposes?
They tell me that here in Westbrook, one must pay $50 a load (one load = one pick-up truck) at the dump. This price seems ridiculous. My garbage guy tells me that a 12 yard dumpster is the equalivent of three pickup trucks worth and comes at the price of $333. The price of having a lovely dumpster, readily accessible for 2 weeks, parked in my front yard (while attempting to sell my house) unfortunately seems the way to go. I don’t own a truck and my thinking is that it will be heaps (no pun intended) easier for me to just squish as much stuff as possible day by day into a dumpster and then have them take it away!
Decision made. Now let’s get some sleep.
I had no idea that my parents were such lovers of photography. They documented everything, especially my father, who it seems had a pretty good eye. As I prepare to move to a far away land, sorting through boxes and drawers, I’m stymied by thousands of photographs and slides. Each image screaming for my attention. Some I know. Some I remember. Some have notes and descriptions. And some are unknown to me.
As I wander through this pictorial history, I’ve found love letters and poems between my parents. I’ve discovered that my father was six years older than my mother. I learned that before they became engaged, they broke up for a time. I’ve seen the inside of their little house . . . the place they lived before my birth. I’ve watched the construction of the house where I grew up, knowing it took my parents three years to build it. I’ve been on vacations with them to Expo ’67, The World’s Fair, motorcycle tours, and dude ranches. I’ve been privy to watching my Mom prepare for an evening out… they often went out on the town, all dressed up, beautiful and bright. What a wonderful life they must have had.
Often my father would set up a scene for photographic composition. His favorite subject my mom…that is before I came along. Pennies spread across the floor, my mom looking gorgeous and sexy as she posed on the floor in front of the Christmas tree. What significance did those pennies hold? If I could only have an hour with them both, so they could explain these things to me.
Such a legacy few are fortunate to have. Snippets of history, not only of my parents, but of the world. And while my parents are no longer with me, they have informed through photos, who I am and where I came from. They have provided my sons with a history and now as I add my own photos to these boxes, I find that I too am a lover of photography.
I didn’t really grasp the meaning of “everything”. When I said I was selling everything I owned and moving to Sweden, of course, I considered selling or giving away the furniture, my computers and my beloved shoes and handbags. I thought about pots and pans, crystal and china, but what I didn’t count on are the seemingly thousands of inconsequential items that make up a person’s life. In some ways parting with these items can be so liberating and in other ways it’s like separating from one’s own personal history.
I had a formula in place for the sorting and tossing of all the crap I’ve collected over the years. There were only two questions involved: 1. Will I pack it? 2. Will I sell it? Everything else would fall into the “toss it out” category. Ahhh, but I found it’s not quite as simple as that.
Everything really means everything and includes such items as pens, favorite magazine issues, trinkets from far away lands, half full bottles of shampoo (I hate to be wasteful), perfume, linens, picture frames, and bits of jewelry from when I was a kid. There is that candle stick holder I bought with my best friend at the flea market on that wonderful summer morning and there are the funny little illustrations that my sons made me. What do I do with the birthday cards they so proudly presented me when they were learning to read and write? And what do I do with Bear, the well-loved stuffed animal from Kyler’s childhood? Some things just defy classification and parting with everything is not quite as clear cut as it sounds.