I've been rummaging around in the garage. Our garage at this rental house is bigger (I think) than the house itself. Too big, I'm afraid, because it gives one the notion that nothing really needs to be thrown away right now. Just ... put it in the garage. Ha!
Various things lately have turned my half of the garage into a chaotic mess. (Yes. I have a half. Adam has a half. I should take pictures, but I won't.) Christmas boxes, college kids home, homeowners needing access to the garage, etc. -- boxes all over! So I decided to straighten. I enjoy straightening and organizing, I truly do ... as long as I'm feeling perky, I have an afternoon, and the temperature is pleasant. No summertime garage cleaning for me!
I was hunting for a lost box. Anna is missing one box, I'm sorry to say, and we haven't located it. It's probably lost, somehow, for good. We have moved house 17 times in 25 years, a daunting statistic, and one that makes me sad just looking at it. Too much upheaval. Too much displacement. Too many strands of friendship and home broken. But, life is what it is, and there's not much we can do about such things. I've sifted through belongings many times, ridding myself of things deemed unnecessary. Often, things get lost. I regret some things I let go.
Yesterday I opened a plastic bin, one of three whose contents I thought I knew. I hadn't opened this blue bin in years, I guess. I had not idea what was in there.
I found a little basket I thought I'd lost. I wondered where it had gone. I knew ... at least, I thought I was certain, that I wouldn't have given it away to Goodwill. But I'll tell you, in the midst of trauma and sorrow and moving and distress, a woman will get rid of things she would not part with in her right mind. It happens.
I bought this basket over 20 years ago at the Canton Flea Market in Mississippi for $2. I was with my mother. I love its unusual shape and color.
"The Little Red Schoolhouse." How I loved that store! We lived in Iowa from 1995-2001, teaching and working hard at a boarding school. This delightful gift shop was an escape, an emotional salve to me when things got too stressful. During a shopping run to town, I'd step into this store, smell their candles, look at their lovely, simple, beautiful wares, and be soothed. I couldn't afford many of their items, but these dish towels -- simple, useful -- were perfect. I'd buy them for myself but keep some to give as gifts. Back then I was younger, more organized, and I kept gifts on hand in case I needed them. We had a good bit of staff turnover at the school, and a nice house-warming gift was smart to have in the closet.
I found some little school photos of the children too. Oh, how long ago it seems!
Rummaging around in one's garage is an emotional business. These simple items bring back floods of memories of friends found and lost along the way, moments that slipped through my fingers that I now wish I could have savored much longer. This heel-end of the year is perhaps a good time to contemplate the past and cherish it as best we can.