~“The Blog That Watches Back”~

Monday, August 20

Matchbox Cars and a Madonna

We all have it. That one junk drawer. The floor of a closet. Maybe the glove box [what an antiquated term that is ! ] in the truck. I was reading a blog. The writer had a ceramic piece her father bought for her when she was a little kid, from a woman selling door-to-door for charity. The Father had the little girl pick out whichever one she liked. She is now in her 40's. The piece traveled with her from state to state, and from home to home, all those years. She was "decluttering" a closet and BAM! There it was again. Ugly and having no meaning to her, she threw it away. She said it was very freeing to discard it after all these years.
I never could have done that. it would have made my heart hurt.
I don't think she understands the difference between clutter, and treasured memories.
When I was 15, our family home burned down, so I don't have too many things from my childhood to hoard anyway. A ceramic Madonna I made 2 of, one for my Mom and one for my Grandma. In junior high school shop class. The one I gave my Mom was lost in the house fire. When my Grandma passed, My mom found the one I made for her, and my Mom kept it until she died. Now I have it. Monetarily, it is worthless. But my Mother thought enough of it to take it when her mom died, and that means the WORLD to me. Ugly? YOU BETCHA! In my eyes, it represents one way my mother thought of me, personally, not as one of "The Kids". When you come from a large family, you might be a little short on those moments. I will keep it for the rest of my life. I can imagine, as Steve or my kids clear away the debris of my life, they may find it, and toss it. It won't have the same meaning for them as it does for me.
I keep other odd little things like that, as well. In my family, we take great joy in finding the perfect funny card for birthdays. If we can't find one we make them. One year my kids gave me a mothers day card of "SpongeBob Squarepants" that included a real, very small sponge. That sponge is in the paper money section of my wallet. A gold tone "Mother" pin Stevie gave me for Mothers Day. Bought with the money from his first job. In my jewelry drawer, with the jewelry Boo made for me in school, also for Mothers Day.
Tone was VERY heavily into matchbox cars as a kid. He gave me one, as a "Lucky Charm". I was going to my first day of work after being a Stay at Home Mom for years. Tone thought I needed a talisman to get thru it. You'll find that in my purse.
In the center console of my truck. A white rock. Given to me by Boo, as a good luck charm, from her new home with Mike.
My Grandma and Mom, whenever outside, were always on the lookout for 4 leaf clovers. My sister Sharon became quite adept at finding them, and laminating them. The one she gave me...you'll find in my wallet. She passed a few years ago, but I have a tangible memory of her. Not that I need it, but it is very nice to have just the same.
Even as the dementia took my Dad, he had a day of clarity. Knocked on my door and said Gail, I need you to keep these for the family. He handed me a small suitcase. Full of pictures of family and friends long gone. I was only able to identify the family members, but I keep the suitcase intact, even after scanning the pictures.
The love letters from my Honey, when we were in h.s and college. Clutter to some, the promise of a bright future to me.
Why in the HELL would you consider the things that have deep meaning to you, to be clutter? HOW could you not be able to differentiate between Treasure and Trash? I watch the T.V shows "Hoarders" and "Hoarders: Buried Alive" and my heart breaks for those people. They probably feel the same way about the 120 dolls, or 7 rusted out cars, or the houseful of trash, as I do my little good luck charms.
If you looked around my home, you wouldn't see many of my treasures. In the laundry area....that ceramic Madonna my Mom kept stays there. And when I get to HATING laundry, I remember that she had to do laundry for 10 people. I am doubly blessed,- to not have that much laundry, and to have her to think about as I go about the business of running a home. In the music room. A book of technical practice music for cellists. Given to me by a teacher and friend. When I play Ruby now, it is usually with a headset and a shuffle, playing along to whatever music captured my fancy that day. But the book sits nearby, ready to go if I want a walk down memory lane [or a technical reminder] A black and white print, from the same person, hangs in my living room. Not only a reminder of him, but the photo itself [although he assured me I have it backwards] resembles the light at the end of a storm, the promise of calm waters ahead. I go to my wallet to pay for ever more costly groceries, and see that lil sponge. Thinking of my kids. All adults now, and I am blessed enough for them to still WANT to come home, to still identify with their family unit and treasure it. We have our weekly family dinners, and they do not get missed unless work, illness, or travel get in the way. When I go to the Doc, [because of my Mom, I guess I will always ride the high side of nervous at the Docs office even if it's just a checkup] and reach into my purse for my kindle...I see that matchbox car Tone gave me. And have more memories, as well as the kindle to help pass the time and keep the nerves at bay.
The day Steve and I signed the mortgage papers for the Love Shack, my laminated 4 leaf clover was right on the table with me.
The pendant from the necklace Steve gave me for our first Christmas together. I was 15 and he was 16. And that was That. Who could know, looking at that bit of plastic, the life we would share? The Good and the Bad times we've been thru?
No one except Steve and me.
When I pass, that will be tossed like so much trash. For as long as I live, though, that is the tangible reminder of where we came from, and where we are going.
These little things, I will have as long as I live. The clutter of a life, hopefully well lived.
Clutter would be things held for someone else, for a purpose they may or may not need it for, that interferes with your daily life and the cleanliness or safety of your home.
Treasures. Well, all the treasures I have been given would fit tidily into one garbage bag. But the memories span my lifetime. I hope I have given [and continue to give] treasures and memories.
From time to time, I Take the time to really look at my treasures. Sometimes I just want to enjoy memories. Sometimes I need a little support. And sometimes I need that tangible talisman against the dark. That you love and are loved in return. Those treasures help you keep the faith that the good times will be back shortly. THAT is when you reach for a sponge. Or a matchbox car. Or a plastic pendant. And wait for a new day.
August 20th:
         -"What will your Legacy be?" month
         - Cupcake Day