To some observers (including my family I’m sure), this may look like a jumbled mess of unrelated items that could easily be boxed up and brought to the transfer station. In looking at the photo I can see where you might come to that conclusion but every single thing has someone or some memory attached to it. It’s not a shrine – it’s a catalyst to stories of my life for the past 60+ years. Almost every item evokes a pleasant memory for me. The purple bear I made while sitting with my husband’s grandfather in the hospital during his last illness, not a sad time at all, but my hands always need to be busy. The velvet it’s made of came from a fellow bear maker and mentor in England. There are glass marbles and weights made for me. Vintage sewing objects from sewing relatives – there’s often a lot to learn by opening a woman’s sewing box. A family clock with a child’s plastic dog on it, an old motorcycle license plate, bone buttons.
The objects I hold most dear are the images. Some of them I must confess are from people I will never know, the small collection in a box made of photographs are vintage prints of children with dogs, not always easy to find but endearing.
Then there are two larger images. The one on the mantle was one acquired at the memorial service of a dear friend. There were boxes and boxes of his images that his wife thought would be better off in his friends homes. It’s a posterized image of a cemetery – kind of ridiculous in a way and says everything anyone could ever say to me about its maker.
The newest addition I hung a little over a week ago. It is stunning to me in its perfection – the print to the framing to the signature. Paul has now been gone almost 5 years. This package was brought to my office by his widow and her words were “You’re either going to love me or hate me for this.” I confess there were some mixed emotions in unwrapping it – strong emotions. A little like reopening a wound, but I understood the intent behind the gift and after looking at it for quite some time I placed it with all my other memories.
I think the story attached to this won’t necessarily be about the maker, it will be about the giver. We met at photography school 40 years ago and the only thing that kept us in contact with each other at all was Paul until we began working together about two years ago. Now I see her almost daily and value her friendship in so many ways . . . so many.
Life is weird. I think it just get weirder as you get older. Maybe you have to pay attention but as I age so many things seem to have come full circle. People you have let go come back in various ways and for me it has all been good.
In thinking about New Year’s resolutions I thought the best I could do was to make more of an effort here. There are so many positives in an otherwise negative world that I need to bring them to light – for me. If you find any value in it follow along, I’ll try to keep it interesting.