I've been thinking of boxes of things stacked up. Collected memories in one of the most physical ways. I remember a moment where flood waters had hit my grandmothers place hard, and the garage door was open with boxes and boxes of things sitting there. And I assume we were there going through these things, deciding what memories were wrecked by water and what were good to keep around for a little longer.
The recent floods in Texas had a similar effect, one government agency sent out tweets and links to articles about how to recover books and photo albums, how to prevent mold and how to preserve water damaged items in the best way. When my apartment was on fire, and we were standing outside my brother was worried about the things he had going up in flames, and for me there was nothing of worth, I was worried about where I would stay.
In her garage there are boxes and boxes of stuff, I move them around with hesitation, each one contains some specific memory of her father and I get the feeling they haven't been moved in some time. Boxes and boxes of his stuff and tools and writings. Under several boxes I find a notebook with his handwriting, note taking on the construction of a car, and a dusty FIAT symbol. I stop moving boxes.
I know one day I'll have to move my fathers stuff from the garage, one day i'll have to clean both my mom and dads stuff from their house and i'll be stuck with the same choice that everyone before me deals with, the same decision my grandmother was dealing with, the same decision my mother dealt with when deciding if she could stomach the idea of other people wearing her mothers clothes.
What memories do we keep, and which do we throw away.
Lately its the small things that have been reminding me of my past, cracks in a wall, pots and plants, rocks shaped in particular ways, boxes and writings. And I would have thought it would be the big things. But I make blueberry pancakes and think of my grandmother, and my mother, and of my older brother and eating texas shaped waffles. The trouble with these memories is that they come in waves, and they are un controllable. We surround ourselves with objects in this attempt to construct some sort of memory on them, to implant some importance to our things. But when its all done and those times are over we are just left with the weird boxes of junk that hold too much memory to get rid off. We will trade in our first car and all the times spent in it, move from our first apartments and homes, trade up and expand with the big things, but we keep the pot, or the basket, or the humming bird pin.
And each compounds on itself, building collections of tiny objects filled with memory. Maybe its that we impart all of our self onto the smaller things, and are defined by the bigger. Our car defines the character we want to be, but the humming bird pin in our pocket takes the wear and tear of our stress.
So how do we decide which of these memories is important to us? How do we sift through the boxes that pile up of old work, or old objects, or old clothes?