This past weekend a we had a large crate delivered to our driveway. Within it contained some old furniture and several boxes. The stuff of my childhood dispersed across hundreds of miles, a casualty of divorce and moving on and aging. Boxes of musty old clothes and wrinkled drawings and small tokens of the boy I once was a very long time ago.
I've heard on more than one occasion that life isn't about the things you acquire, but the people you know. However true that might be, for me, the things are often as important as the people. While people hold the relationships and the stories; other than a handful of individuals, they come and go. Things can last a lifetime.
For me, these things, are a key to a room locked away in my memories, that I'd otherwise never access. I see them and I can remember taking our old afghan blanket, and laying it meticulously out on the couch — creating roads and hills and valleys — for my Matchbox cars (speaking of which, whatever happened to everyday, sturdy well-built Matchbox car? Now they're crazy conceptual monster machines. When I was a kid I had a VW Rabbit and a Ford van, a fork lift and a double-decker bus. My childhood pretending was built about a reality I saw, of wanting to be a grown up who could drive and be free to do what they wanted. I wanted to be a truck driver who went across the world. I was a kid and somehow that was enticing and exciting. A reality with naive optimism. Now it's conceptual insanity and other-worldly impossibility; devoid of any real-world charm or enticement); the wood paneling of the living room and the wood-burning stove that I once tripped and fell on and burned my hands. The smells. And sounds. My old friends. The dreamy memory of size and scale. Things bring me what a person could not; the hazy view of my past world.
The crate has been hauled away to carry more things to other people. The boxes are strewn about my office. The drawings and clothing and small pieces of paper that chronicle my life — my evidence of existence — pile up in corners as I go about life. But they echo to me; as portals to who I am. The mix of sadness and warmth hugs to them with each glance I give them, when I turn my chair. These are just things. Stuff. Junk. Trash. The dusty, musty, tattered old dreams of a child.
Keep some things for you children; you never know what it might hold for them in the future.