Hey my Sweet Lifers! Recently I got a call from my Aunt Carolyn who has decided to downsize her home and as a result created for herself a forced purging of her things. She called and texted and asked if I wanted this or that and I told her each time she reached out the same thing, “I’ll take everything.” She knew what I would say before she even asked as I am the familial “keeper” of things.
I am officially the “keeper” for so many reasons, some due to trauma, others just because it’s in my DNA. Everyone knows too that there’s a difference between being a “keeper” and a “hoarder.” No one would ever dare call me that except for my Brian and he only does so with jest after all these years together concerning my “need” to always have a stack of water bottles and a stash of vodka at all times. And in times of scarcity that we just went through he has taken back any jokes of jest because he is now grateful for that “hoard.”
I have, as the “keeper” tasked myself to gather all things possible from a childhood scattered by my mother’s death and a need to feel connected to loved one’s lost. It is as ingrained in me as it is to breathe. As a result I have my mother’s wedding gown, her nursing uniform, a full book tightly packed with newspaper clippings of her accomplishments and a two page long write up of both her wedding and parties and her car accident and her death. I also have a large stash thanks to my Uncle Jim of pictures.
My Uncle Jim, yes the photographer who also valued and was the “keeper” of things as well saw in me a talent and more than that an actual passionate understanding of what being a photographer really is. We create images today that are eventually some of the most treasured “things” of a person. Once we die, what is really more treasured than our pictures? What is more important than that? Well, my sweet lifers it’s their good stuff too! It’s the chairs that they sat in and did embroidery (Nana’s is my cat Williams most beloved spot for napping), it’s the bowls they made and taught how to make their biscuits in, and weathered bibles, it’s their things that they used to create their own lives with that carry on memories too.
Aunt Carolyn though not a “keeper” discovered some real treasures in her move. She found Mother’s bike, Big Daddy’s rocking chair and a desk that Granny used to teach both Uncle Jim and Mother school work on. Granny was a college educated teacher and taught third grade for over 25 years. Penmanship and mathematics was her forte. It does not go unnoticed either that Uncle Jim knew at some point Aunt Carolyn would find them and would know exactly who they belonged to. I was and still am over joyed with these new editions to my “keeping of all the things.” I imagine restoring the rocker and rocking my grand babies. I imagine teaching my grands how to ride not just any bike, but my Mother’s bike! All the while in these latter years feeling connected more to those loved and lost. Thank Goodness for those of us who are “keepers!”
Take Care of YOU and as always Be “SWEET!”