Wednesday, June 24, 2009

dimly lit corners

A blog from the middle of our move, when I'd flown up to meet the movers and unpacked practically the whole house in the space of four days. I've had a number of people comment on this one, so I wanted to move it to my new blogger home.

May 2007

In the middle of unpacking my life I find I am suddenly racing backward through experiences and time and emotions. Things packed in haste months ago, from closets where they had sat unnoticed for years, are rediscovered anew.

These are the things from the basement boxes, stacked up under the staircase, that no one could really remember what had been packed in them in the first place. Baby clothes and baseball trophies, dolls and beanie babies, Happy Meal toys, ticket stubs, duplicate photographs that I religiously scrapbooked but saw and appreciated differently when found buried in the dim corner of a box.

There is the old adage that if you live a year in a place without unpacking the box, you might as well toss it all since you clearly don't need it. But never one to adhere to common sense when apathy is easier, these things were taken along and, miraculously, discovered this morning as I shelved countless books and CDs from the heavy containers.

And there, in the midst of it all, was the nearly crushed shoebox that looked like it may well have housed shiny new shoes sometime back before 1975. Now it sheltered pieces of a childhood memories I somehow held on long enough to rediscover.

There were letters from my first friend, Marian. We were first friends because our mothers were friends and there are numerous baby pictures of us, born six months apart, propped beside one another. The letters, filled with notes about classes and friends and plans are from our junior high years, when she lived in Canada. I remember being entranced by her use of "eh?" all over again as I read them this morning, wondering what her life might be like.

There are cards from my grandmothers, Me-Maw and Mammammy, in that perfect script I could never possibly attain; just a couple of words, simple, discardable really, and yet, running my hand across the place where their wrists had lain as they signed it, that simplicity brought back their faces, their laughs, and a sweet sadness that made me glad to be alive.

There were postcards from friends in elementary school whose last names I cannot recall as well as cards from my mother during my freshman year of college with news about the house they were building and the enclosed spending money, just because.

There were Academic Decathlon medals from our state competition my senior year (aha, that's why the box was so heavy) and a cassette tape of my boyfriend's band that, somehow, through 20 years of storage, still worked.

So, in terms of a moving update, it was slow going this morning, but a lovely respite from the monotonous tasks that have to get done this afternoon. And now, while folding towels and hanging clothes, I'll be whistling that jazzy little number that delighted me so when I heard it again, and wondering how forgetting and remembering always seem to be wrapped up together in ways we can only discover spontaneously, often when it's raining, in those dimly lit corners, between the pages of our lives.


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