I have been living in what I might call a storage unit for the past couple years. On the outside, it looks like a house. On the inside are cartons and boxes and bags of stuff. If a volcano were to erupt and overflow, down the street and all over my house, and then if thousands of years later someone were to designate this spot as an important dig for the 21st century- they’d end up baffled. The archival material being stored in this house belongs to three different lives. The once-married life. The failed-blend-two-families-together-with- five-teenagers interlude. And then the empty-nest life.
There are basically four layers going on in this place. Recently a they-always-come-back-home-stage has developed.
I have lived in three different places in six years and in those years the above life stages have been lived. Moving me is not fun. The last time I moved everyone argued about whose turn it was to move Sherry’s books. And whose turn it was to sort through the pantry and toss out expired product. All this to say, most my stuff got tossed into cartons willy-nilly, helter-skelterish, neither here nor there, whogivesaflyingleap. My son’s socks, a bowling ball, turtle wax and camping tins could easily be in one box. And could easily stay in a box together from one move to the next. Because what happens is that you don’t completely unpack. What happens is that you end up with stuff in a box from people in your past.
In my kitchen above the stove beside the corn starch is a box of Jello from . . .hmmm . . . about thirty years ago. It has the price tag of fifteen cents on it. And no barcodes. Somehow this box of Jello survived a few moves. Now, we make sure it doesn’t get tossed out. Now we want to remember what grocery stores were like before scanners and bar codes. Now, such memories are fond: remembering what life was like before.
During that time of cheap Jello, I fell in love with a set of measuring spoons. How unlike me. These spoons came from the other side of the divide and were heavy pewter, handmade and so curvy. And how unlikely that the spoons were gifted to me back in those days. I *hearted* these spoons.
When chaos hit, the spoons moved with me. Events blurred.
Then the spoons fell off the wall and behind a stove no one wanted to move just to retrieve spoons. Events blurred.
Unbeknownst to me, when I moved again, someone cared enough to move the stove and retreive the spoons and pack them with his back-up fishing tackle and my still-like-brand-new roasting pan. Events blurred.
Although I still have cartons of his stuff in my garage and his cooking knives in my laundry room (where all good housekeepers store knives), he doesn’t live here anymore. And it is past time for me to reorganize the various storages rooms, now that my daughter is moving back home. Time to sort through the archives.
I opened a carton in my garage this weekend and found my spoons. One of the nicest things he did for me I am just now learning about. I wonder what else I’ll find in all the cartons in the garage and in the laundry room. And the den and the shed and the troll room. And I wonder about the things we carry around inside our selves that we are afraid to open. Perhaps we’ll each find more curvy heavy spoons, perfect for nesting.