“Objects… show us where we end. They dispel our sadness, temporarily.”– Don DeLillo
My husband and I are slowly cleaning up our basement.
We fill our garbage receptacle each week, discarding things we thought we might use sometime, only to realize that, no, we will probably never need those replacement ceramic tiles that used to surround the pellet stove we got rid of years ago on the hearth we tore out in 2010.
We have lived in our house for 34+ years. Let me tell you, somehow, stuff seems to accumulate as a direct function of time.
I am, by nature, a pitcher; Bill is a saver.
I am not going to enter a potentially contentious debate about the relative merits of each position.
Let me just say, however, the exercise of discarding items typically goes something like this:
Me: (holding up a doohickey) “What’s this? Can we throw it away?”
Bill: (looking at the doohickey and frowning thoughtfully) “That’s a valve for a showerhead we replaced 15 years ago. I guess we don’t need to save it.”
Viewing the detritus of our lives for the last three decades sparked thoughts about what objects are intrinsically valuable to me.
I thought I would share three of those things with you.
- My Christmas fuzzy socks. These socks were a Christmas present from one of my sons, given to me years ago when they were all living at home. I honestly don’t remember which one gave them to me.
I typically purge clothing at an alarming rate. I am a firm believer in the adage that if you haven’t worn an item in the past year, throw it away.
These socks, however, have survived decades of expulsions. Why? Because they remind me of the sweet time when all my boys lived under the same roof. They remind me of young motherhood and the charming, goofy presents I sometimes received. They remind me of a time I did not appreciate nearly enough when it was happening. I appreciate that era now.
- My mother’s ring. I wrote about this ring in a previous post from long ago.
My mom and I were close. I was never embarrassed to be seen with my mom, even when I was a teenager; I always enjoyed spending time with her.
Three years before she died, Mom had a stroke that diminished her mental capacity. She spent her final years in an assisted living facility, which she, independent spirit that she was, loathed.
I inherited some of Mom’s jewelry after she passed away and kept it in a jewelry box on my dresser.
One night, after visiting some friends, Bill and I returned home to discover we had been robbed. The thieves took two things – our TV and my jewelry box, which contained all of my mother’s jewelry. The television was replaceable; the jewelry was not.
I was inconsolable.
A few years later, while going through Mom’s few remaining possessions, I found mom’s Mother’s ring hidden in a box in the basement. A momento of my mom the thieves had missed.
I wear it now when I want to bring “Mom” with me to an event she would want to attend- maybe a grandchild’s birthday party or a Thanksgiving gathering. It is one of my most valued possessions because it reminds me of my mother’s indomitable, generous spirit.
- My Boston Marathon shirt. The shirt reminds me of the race I ran to qualify for Boston, the Eugene Oregon Marathon, held each May.
The previous December, I was very sick. I missed a month of school (I was a teacher), then my mom passed away. I never felt so vulnerable, so shaky.
Leading up to the qualifying race, I did everything wrong. My husband and I traveled west to meet our son Rob, then a graduate student in Oregon, flying across three time zones the day before the race. That night, we stayed out late, watching a band cover Beatles songs and drinking beer. On the morning of the race, held on what would have been my mother’s birthday weekend, I didn’t eat breakfast.
But as soon as the race began, I knew it was my day to run. The miles ticked by effortlessly.
As I approached mile marker 25, I saw Bill waiting to run the final mile with me. We crossed the finish line with minutes to spare and I collapsed into a group hug with my son and husband. There may have been some tears. The marathon shirt reminds me of that special race and to appreciate the serendipitous.
Do you have objects with a special meaning to you?
You can find the places I link up here.
Please click on the following link to read more funny or inspirational one-liners. One-Liner Wednesday.