Something a little less nasty than usual (from my place).
Monday, January 05, 2009
I think this will be short.
I am still somewhat incapacitated from a fall on New Year's Eve (not attributable to alcohol--damn the luck!) and have been spending the last few days trying to make some sort of order out of the 200G or so of photo files that I had on 4 separate hard drives. I was able to pick up a 250G Seagate Free Agent (my bro works in HD development there and he said I made a good score at $52.50). I've been moving files from the other hard drives and deleting the extraneous document copies, etc.,.
I just wonder how much of the stuff that I keep on my "box" is attributable to a desire to save records and how much is attributable to the familial "packrat" gene. My dear mother used to keep a daily journal of what she did, where she went, how much she spent and so forth. She kept it longhand (beautiful cursive script) in steno notebooks.
I have no idea how many of the things she went through but I do know that, for her, to throw anything away was next to impossible.
I gave her a set of salt and pepper shakers in 1970 (I got them while stationed in Germany) and when I was eating dinner at her house one day, several years later, asked if she still had them. "Oh, yes," she said, "I treasure them." I asked where they were. She told me that she kept them with her fine china (she had a set of Spode and another of Limoges, IIRC) which she also, NEVER USED! She thought they were far too valuable to ever be entrusted to the grubby mitts of her brood.
The summer before she passed, while I was home on a visit she told me that she had been putting things aside and told me the salt & pepper set was in a box with my name on it. I told her that I appreciated the gesture but that I woud prefer she give them to one of my siblings as I would simply lose them. She was okay with that. She also had a package for me, in a large manila envelope. It included photos of her and my dad on her wedding day, photos of my dad in India--and his unit patch, done on leather--from his days in the USAAF during WWII, my natal photo (from St. Joe's hospital), various photos of me and my older and younger siblings, my class photos from every year I'd had one taken, my AF photos and every single birthday card, letter and postcard I had ever sent her. It was not anything like the sort of pile that several of my siblings had, but I was astonished that she had kept everything for so many years. I still pull out that envelope from time to time and I feel her presence in those moments.
Several years ago I wrote a song, "Kodak Moment" about the experience of viewing those photos and the memories that they awakened. I will share it one of these days when I have the time, energy and requisite knowledge to record it and put it up on this blog or elsewhere.
Well, I guess it was not as short a post as I was thinking it would be.