Over the last few months I’ve been preoccupied with emptying the home my late mom and aunt lived in. I've donated their personal belongings to charities, paid to have things carted away, sold some objects online, and held more than a few garage sales. There were photos, sofas, pot and pans, dishes, jewelry, odds and ends. In some cases I had remote connection to the objects. In others, I felt more than a pang giving them up. I had little choice though. There was just not enough room in my small place to keep all the beloved things I would have liked to.
That culling for my elders made me acutely aware of the treasured objects in my own home that I would not ever part with. In most cases they are worth little to anybody else but I could never put them into a garage sale to make room for newer, shiny acquisitions. As a daughter, mom, and grandmother who has lived three quarters of a century my treasure-trove reminds me of "the happy, sad, and also regrets" in my life. Of course, most of these memories are connected to the people I love or have loved and part of my heart is embedded in each one of them.
1. I am a mediocre cook and have little interest in the culinary arts. Yet, there is one cookbook in my library called, A Treasure For My Daughter that will remain on my shelves forever. I keep it not for the recipes but for the inscription from my late father written inside the front cover. As you can see, he was a man of very few words who didn’t even see the need to sign "Dad" in his best wishes to me. How I wish he had. Still, I do know he treasured me. And what daughter doesn’t want to know that?
2. In 2008 I circumnavigated the globe for three months with Semester At Sea. To a little girl of six, 90 days is a very long time to be away from her grandmother. I can still envision my sweet little granddaughter, Lotus, meeting me at the airport on my return with a bouquet of wilting tulips and a sign that said, "I Missed You Bubby." Lotus is a teenager now but that sign is permanently affixed to my bulletin board. There is no way I will ever part with it!
3. Nor will I ever let go of grandson Josh’s FISH FANTASY sculpture he created for me when he was four, eleven years ago on Mothers Day.
4. Or the Bubby's Eatery Menu that granddaughter Jessie painstakingly drew on one of her sleepovers with me.
5.Way back when my daughters Erica and Leslie were teenagers I hired an "older teenager" to keep an eye on them and the household while I was away on a week’s holiday. I guess the three girls bonded and I believe they hosted a party in the interim. When I got back, there was a bouquet of flowers with this card waiting for me.
Need I say more? I keep this card as evidence illustrating that whichever way you look at it, parenting teenagers is simply not easy.
6. I’m hoping that this wonderful gold etched pitcher and glasses really does date back to my maternal grandmother. How I wish I knew more about it. My mother never ever used the set and neither have I. Somehow the situation has never seemed grand enough to risk damaging what I feel are my only objects left from that era and "a precious work of art."
7. My website Journeywoman.com targeting women travelers was born in 1996. At that time it was difficult for travel writers with journalism degrees to accept a "without training – renegade" like me who simply said, "I want to write, so I shall." I will be forever grateful to Starwood Hotels and Resorts who, in 2002 recognized my online musing with their Golden Click Award. It was one of those important, helpful steps by the travel industry that contributed to legitimizing the advice being offered in travel blogs today.
8. Finally, I won’t ever disregard the years I was married to the father of my two daughters. Though we have been divorced for over thirty years we have always been able to co-parent and to celebrate important family functions together. This year he flew in to be there when our daughter Leslie stepped into the boxing ring to fight three rounds in her Fight to End Cancer. During this black tie event he and I both proudly took lots of photos of Leslie while unbeknownst to me daughter Erica took photos of us taking those photos (you know what I mean). One of these photos pictured below will happily reside in my "never give away" collection. I think I will cheekily title it, "How we would have looked if we were an old married couple."
Ain’t memories grand? Which ones would you never give away?
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