Random things

  • The red basket has arrived. I am pleased to have it in my possession, though I think I should buy some paint and re-spray it.
  • Some dishes have also arrived. More of the set were found after I left for the airport; one of my sisters-in-law will ship them to me.
  • I am very pleased to have The Bowl in my house. The Bowl lived on a table in the living room, visible from the entrance to my house, all the time I was growing up. It usually had some sort of seasonal decoration in or near it. I love the Bowl for its own sake, because it is beautiful. There is a myth about its provenance which seems to be belied, or at least complicated, by the manufacturer’s mark on its bottom. Whatever. The Bowl is now mine, in my living room, and seeing it makes me happy.
  • I also have The Rolling Pin, with red handles, to replace the one I got at a yard sale. I feel sillier about shipping this than I do about the Basket and the Bowl, but I’m still pleased to have it. I’ll give my other rolling pin away.
  • I have vigorously refused various silver-plated objects (coffee pot, trays, candlesticks, and similar oddments) offered to me. I used to have to clean that stuff as a teenager. No thank you. It saddens me that my mother found these things a meaningful statement of status, and that her kids just want to be rid of them, but times change. Whatever her fantasies, I am not going to have “co-eds,” the dean, or my church group (a non-existent group, since I don’t attend church) over for coffee and serve them from the silver pot.
  • Does anybody serve drinks from silver pots any more?
  • One of my classes has met. My students are adorably enthusiastic. I hope they stay that way.
  • I still have to finish the syllabus for the other class. It’ll get done.
  • I think I should make some vigorous efforts to settle back into the house where I still live. The more complicated and annoying it will be to move, the more likely someone is to make us an offer, according to Sod’s Law. Right?

The red basket

Stuff. Things. Memories. Do you keep them, why do you keep them, do you really want them or do you have a sense of obligation (= guilt) about them? Would you rather just move on and be who you are now, and forget about the path that brought you here? Do you hang onto things, or to people, for the sake of children or other people down the generational line? Or is that another reason to get rid of things and cut ties?

My mother died ten years ago. My father is in assisted living. My brothers have been clearing out my parents’ last house (not somewhere any of us ever lived). Since my parents themselves cleared out the house we grew up in (and what a job that was), and then there were two more houses, one of which burned down after they moved out but while there was still stuff in storage there, much of the Stuff in my dad’s house is things he dragged home in the last 15 years or so. It doesn’t have feelings attached. And we have all taken a lot of things we wanted already.

Nonetheless, Stuff kept turning up when we all went to the house together. Things we thought had already gone to someone: here is that set of dishes (or at least part of the set). Anyone want them? These wine glasses are worth actual money; should we try to sell them on e-Bay or just let garage-salers feel they’ve made a massive score? Here’s That Thing! Reminisce about the Thing. Do a few minutes of reminiscence suffice, or does someone want the Thing?

Since I live far away and am here only briefly, I’m shipping some Things to myself. I may yet de-accession them once I return to my Actual Real Life. But while I’m here, I can’t really tell whether I really want the Things, or just want to have seen them again.

It’s strange how many different stories there are about things. One brother assured me that a crocheted object was something our mother made for me as a baby. I told him I made it for her, a Christmas present that I worked on when I lived in Paris. I wonder how many other legends like that run through families, where people forget the origins of the pickle dish.

One of the things I think I want is a basket. A large oblong basket painted red. So many times I have looked for it when I needed something in which to take a cake or a casserole to a party, and then realized that it was never in my house, it was my mother’s basket. I don’t know why I never bought myself my own basket. Now I’m going to have the original one that I keep looking for. I hope that will be satisfying. I do wonder if I should just pitch the red basket, here, and get myself a new one at home. But this is what I mean: it’s hard to know, here, what matters, and why it matters.