How it must feel to pack up thirty years of memories into boxes, to decide what gets put in the trash pile and what comes with you to your new home. I remember six years ago when I packed up my house and moved 5300 kms away to Edmonton, Alberta. It was a huge process and whenever I was upset my Mom would say “take the memories!” They don’t take up a lot of room and there will always be a use for them.
I spoke with my Mom today and she is in the throes of packing up thirty years into boxes and I wish I could be there to share in every smile and every tear, I am sure there are many. I can’t even imagine the things you would come across and the memories they would evoke. I jokingly said “Don’t throw anything of mine out!” My Mom said she is sending me a little envelope and I am so excited to see what is inside. When I was home last spring she gave me a package with newspaper clippings, awkward school photos and poems I wrote. You really cannot give someone a better gift then a memory that transports them back in time. I frequently dig out that envelope and thumb through my past and though I always wonder what the heck my mother was thinking with some of those haircuts I was sporting I will treasure the contents of that package forever.
The house my Mom is packing up was my home since I was about 11. I believe we moved the summer I was going into grade six. If I remember correctly my Dad had lost his job and we put our house up for sale and when things took a turn for the better and my parents wanted to take it off the market the Real Estate company held us to the three month contract and though my parents wished it wouldn’t our house sold. I recall my parents apologizing to my brothers and I about the house they were moving to. It was a “fixer upper” and the rooms were much smaller but it had room for my Dad’s business ventures and he could be his own boss. We didn’t really care, it was a roof over our head!
We were about to embark on a humid Nova Scotia summer, we had endless sunny adventure filled days on our minds. Moving was no biggie for us, just a different spot to lay our heads at night!
Our parents even allowed us to attend the same school in the fall, grade 6 for me, grade five for my younger brother and the same Junior High for my older brother. These were the days when kids actually played outside and I really don’t remember it being such a big deal. I am sure it stressed my Mom out a great deal but we all adapted.
We only had a few short years at that house while my Dad was alive but it was great to have him with his business at home. I got to make him and the guys coffee and clean his office which for some reason I thought was super fun! I remember thinking how glamorous it would be to have my own office someday! Ha!
My Dad owned an Auto Body shop and he also had a dealers license so we grew up with several different vehicles. My older brother had a car from the day he turned sixteen and he never quite learned not to get attached. He took a shine to a Bronco Dad had brought home for him and was quite disappointed when he came home from school one day and Dad had sold it and got him something else. Anyone who knew my brother during those teenage years will recall how much he liked his cars. He had a black Monte Carlo that he treated better then anyone in his life. One day he bought another Monte Carlo, black as well but a bit newer, he decided to sell his original love to an acquaintance. Apparently my brother was getting reports that the new owner was driving the car erratically (burning the piss out of it) was the term he animatedly used to describe the treatment of his true love he had sold to another. I shrugged my shoulders when he told me. I really didn’t understand what this had to do with him. My brother couldn’t get past it though so he contacted the new owner and made arrangements to buy the car back! My brother now had twin black Monte Carlos. I secretly hope that in the envelope coming is a picture of me beside one of those sexy black Montes with my long glorious black permed hair and poufy eighties bangs!
I remember how my friends and I used to spray the product called “sun in” in our hair in hopes of getting au natural highlights and lather ourselves up with suntan lotion and lay on the roof of the spray booth during the July heat waves with L.L. Cool J beats playing on my bright orange boombox! In the cooler monthes we used to pack into the tiny hallway of the upstairs to play Risk afterschool and sometimes we carried on the game for days!
I’ll never forget the time my younger brother and his friends decided in their “everything’s a great idea” teen years to take a newly painted car out of the shop and go on a joyride when my parents were away. They got to the bottom of our road and panicked when they thought they saw my parents and put the car in the ditch. They took the smashed car back to the house, put it back in the garage and locked up as if nothing happened. My older brother and mother met us at the bus stop the next day and my brother immediately knew why and tried to walk in the other direction. There were a couple of tense days to follow in that little house. Later that night I tried to sneak my brother a peanut butter and jam sandwich but my Dad intercepted me. Under the circumstances, and I can sympathize with his frame of mind, he thought it best that my brother go without supper for the night! After awhile it blew over and we moved on, as a family in that little house.
Years later after my dad passed away and my stepdad came along to give my Mom a new lease on life and someone me and my brothers could count on always, we made new memories in that little house. We became adults, married and brought our own children there for family dinners.
When my mom and stepdad pack up those boxes I wonder what kind of things they will recall, what stories they will tell. Which ones will make them laugh and which ones will make them cry? Whatever they choose to put in the throw away pile, I hope it’s regret and sadness. I hope they take with them thirty years of memories from that little house and they pack all the love our family has for each other and fill each and every room in their new home with it!
Cheers! I am off now to open my wine and drink my book…or something like that.
P.S. Always take the memories.