Friday, August 01, 2003

What We've Carried

I know the subject of our garage frequently rears its ugly head, but honest, we really are clearing it now. And as Geoff delicately noted, "We've grossly underestimated the volume of crap we have." He had hoped that the mountain, the accumulation of boxes and tubs, had caverns and gaps, but alas we realize that it is a solid and densely packed mass. We are way passed shame and humiliation and have assumed a new attitude: we are benevolent, philanthropic doers of generous deeds, donating all we can. Anyone aspiring to operate a thrift shop could open their doors tomorrow from our contributions alone.

Twenty one years and eight moves, and about a dozen different tenants, not including our own nuclear family, definitely contributes to the build up. My sentimental leanings are another factor, plus I seem to have some sort of past life Depression Era tendencies, consequently I tend to hoard things like sale bin Christmas bows, old door knobs, motel soap bars, pie tins, shoe laces and party napkins.

Well the dark side of our situation is obvious. We are working overtime to clear out of our mess, but there are treasures in the refuse. There are 21 years worth of love letters exchanged between Geoff and me. There are the tiny velour pants that William, Alex and Max wore as babies, and the angel wings Alex and William wanted to wear for Christmas. I cut the white wings out of an old gift box, and the boys tied them on and told me the story of Christmas in soft angel voices. And also from Christmas, we found Grandma's ceramic tree. It is assembled in tiers, with a light in the center, then you add little bulbs to the branch tips. At the base there is key to turn and it plays Silent Night. Grandmother's brother, Efraim, made it.

There are lots of photographs and documents, newspaper clippings, old clothes, certificates; in 6th grade I took first place for "Best Cookies" in the school baking contest. I found a picture of Betty Lou; she brought whole cans of garbanzo beans, a can opener and two forks to class and we ate them, unseen, at our desks. Another time she smuggled an entire cheesecake in to her desk. We ate that too. After we started junior high I lost touch with her. I should look her up. Maybe she caters.

I am falling in love all over again. It happens. I stop sorting and dusting and hauling and read a letter or two. To me from Geoff, to Geoff from me, and many from William to all of us. In one worn and tattered letter, William drew Alex, and professed his love of his family and "good things." One letter from twenty years ago was from my boyfriend, Geoff, and he wrote that he hoped to marry me, to raise children with me and that if a long time from now I found and read his letter and cried, he would cry with me. If I laughed he would laugh with me. And we did. I like who we have become. I appreciate all we have learned and accomplished. It also feels good and affirming to go back to where we began, to hear our wishes and longings, to recall our motivations and desires. It is an amazing gift that we have been able to fulfill dreams and live together in love. It makes me happy for who we were, who we are, and for our future, our new dreams.

William's love letter. ~1996

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