Monday, 8 March 2010

Things of days gone by

I find myself sitting here tonight in a quiet house, surrounded by things I grew up with. My parent's antiques are everywhere, including the couch which was such a news breaker just a few weeks ago. I see these things and memories flow. Days of carefree living in a house of love, with family that for better or worse, was always there for me. I find myself seeing small imperfections in the table or a scratch on the desk, and I know exactly how it got there, and how old I was when I caused it (yeah, most of the time it was me).

I see things that Kim and I brought into this house together, yet somehow these things have much less meaning. I see the barrister bookcases behind me full of books we bought together - it was always our goal to have a library instead of a dining room. Right next to those, stands my father's large bookcase - one of three - the other two went to my brother and sister. Somehow, it means more. It's out of place, it has no match. It's an oddball. But somehow, it means more.

I see my father's red easy chair, sitting in the library, eagerly waiting someone to curl into it and read, or my mother's marble top cabinet taking a place of prominence in the living room. The door has been held closed with a wad of newspaper for years, but that doesn't matter, somehow the broken latch adds character.

I see Kim's heirlooms - the china cabinet, not very old but full of meaning. It holds our wedding crystal, patiently waiting guests. Or the old wash stand that we've been using for hats and gloves for years. The drawer doesn't work well anymore, and it so full of scratches that most people wouldn't think twice about throwing it out.

The list goes on. Kim's grandmother's mixer - still working great after 40 years. My dad's knives, various glassware, pictures on the walls, the ugly little stuffed thing my grandmother made me one year, and sits on a window sill, and most of all, books. Tons of them.

All these things we've inherited. All these things of value that we've been entrusted with. All these precious memories that we endear ourselves with. They make me comfortable. They make me remember. They make me thankful.

Of all these things, why is it that an ugly plastic sugar container has affected me most of all?

I broke it tonight. It's 50 years old and has always been in my home. When I was a kid I used this to put sugar on my cereal. Tonight I lost my temper and tossed it. It broke open on the floor spilling sugar everywhere; the small clasps that held the cover on broke off, and the cover will no longer attach. The other end has a larger cover, meant for larger portions, that side just cracked. It can be salvaged. but that's not the point. Tonight I broke one of my memories.

I don't think crazy glue can fix it.


  1. I sit in a winged back chair that was once my mother's reading your blog. This chair,and matching foot stool became a point of healing back about five or six years ago. It was in fact one of the toughest summers I had gone through in years.

    It was a summer of surgeries. Three in fact, and after each one I recovered at my mother's house because she had air conditioning. I sit in this chair and feel close to her, again. Reading your blog I know what you are going through.

    Over my shoulder on the wall hangs a coo coo clock. It doesn't work but no matter, I see it and it brings me back to a simpler time at my grandparents house. It hung on the wall in their tv room. Where as kids we sat on the floor and watched the hockey games with them. All the while eating KFC. Somehow I remember it tasting much better then it does now.

    I cooked my dinner in this green pot and pan set that belonged to my mother. After she passed away and the family gathered at her house to sort through her stuff, I quickly claimed it as mine. Stating you know how much love was cooked up in these over the years.

    Now across the room from where I am sitting, above the television set is a framed toll paper scene of two blue jays in the snow. They were given to me by Bobby Sorrel's wife on my last trip to Windsor.

    I was thrilled beyond words when on my visit with my dear old friend Bobby, Fran said to me,"Oh by the way I have something for you. I remember how much you loved this piece of work. I wanted you to have it." I cried like a baby in front of Bob and his wonderful wife Fran as she handed it to me.

    Then this past friday I got news of an old friend of mine passing away. Her name was Carol Coxon/Bickford/Legacy.

    Carol was the person who saved me from a life on the streets. She was my second mother. She in fact brought me to Classic Donuts where, I met some of the best people (including my wife)who shaped me into what I am today.

    Now, as you sit where you are Mr. Wilson. I ask you this one thing. What are you doing to put the fuzzy memories into those two little skulls full of mush?

    You know what I am talking about. Before you answer, think back. Think way way back to when you were Bug's age. You get the picture. It is all about the memories and the joy they bring.

    I remember the Christmas that my dad and I wrapped up the set of green pots and pans and he worried if my mother would like them.

    You see, I have been going through the exact same process since just before I met you. The year before I lost my father. He died at the rip old age of forty. He was on a two week business trip to Germany when he took a heart attack and died a mere 12 hours before he was to come home.

    It took a lot of years and a lot of beers to get over it. It was a trail of self destruction, and risky encounters with female strangers. A lot of screaming and yelling at a photograph.

    Then,just like you, an incredibly wonderful woman came into my life. She saved me from me. One day after a Christmas Eve of intociatation, a state of which I spent many Christmas Eves due to the ghosts of Christmases past.

    One Christmas before Rebecca came along, Angie told me in no uncertain terms that I have a job to do. I am responsible for putting the warm and fuzzy memories in our kid's minds. Not memories of an alcoholic. Are you gonna be able to handle the job?

    After following your blog, and that of #3. I already know that you two are doing it. The kids will not remember the agony you two have gone through to pay the bills to keep the television on. They will remember 'Movie night' they will remember the time that you spent with them working on their homework.

    Now I pray to God that he takes the pain away. Replacing that pain with the joy of those warm and friendly memories. I love you my friend, and I still chuckle at the memories of the driving lesson in the old dodge ram pick up truck. You know the one, with the custom chain link marks on the hood??

  2. You cannot break your memories...there are there forever, close to your heart. You do not need a piece of plastic to remind you of the things that made you happy when you were young. Yes, it hurts me too to know that I will not see the sugar bowl...but I can still see it in my head, and heart.
    ALL of the memories are THAT just have to let yourelf see them, and they will be there.

    They aren't broken...just well worn.


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