The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. A day of remembering. As usual, I observed a minute of silence and watched the service on TV. As usual, I cried a little--as usual, when the silver cross mother placed her wreath. I do think there should be a silver cross father, too. Or simply parents. I was brought up to always observe Remembrance Day and always honour the armed forces. Grandpa Boag, Mam's father who died before I was born, was a soldier and a POW two or three times. I grew up with his photo (this photo) beside my Nanna's bed. In many ways, he felt ever present in our lives. Both Nanna and Mam adored him. As, I think, did all his children. Now I keep this photo in my studio next to Mam's urn and Nanna's photo.
All this remembering made me think of something else, too. Last week on one of our after tai chi parking lot chats, Louise asked me if I had changed my blog photo. I laughed as i was contemplating it but checked with her that it was the one under the blue star (which Linda gave me) and the blue scarf (which Souley/Maggie gave me). Then we got talking about how our possessions can hold memories for us. I'd dusted the living room the day before and had handled lots of these memories. I rarely dust but I enjoy it once I start, polishing things and rubbing love into them, remembering their stories, remembering who gave them to me. Take this one little section of my living room for instance.
So many memories. So many things I love. Perhaps I love my things too much. This was a parting shot from my ex-husband. "I hope you'll enjoy being alone with your things." Well, yes, actually. So much better than being with him. But that's another story.
I don't know how interesting this will be, but I wanted to list the things in the photo above and name my associated memory. Personally I find it fascinating to hear people's associations with the things that they choose to surround themselves with daily. Please feel free to share some in the comments.
The bureau. Bought on a holiday in Toronto with Rob. We found it way at the back of a dusty narrow store in Chinatown. The owner kept lowering prices so we would buy something. I have a thing for bureaus. I'd grown up with one and loved to 'play' in it. How it transformed into a desk with all those little compartments inside. This one, hand-carved, totally captured my heart. The price was good but how could we ever get it home? The owner was willing to take it all apart and put it into boxes so we could ship it by Greyhound. But it would add greatly to the cost and we didn't know how to get it to the Greyhound station. Then Rob had the bright idea of asking his daughter, Nessa and son-in-law Russ who had driven down (a family event...maybe Crystal's wedding?) if they had room in their truck and would mind taking the boxes to the station for us. They went one better and brought it home for us in their truck. An impulsive buy but one which makes me happy every day.
On top of the bureau is a small selection from my elephant collection. The bigger glass ones are both from my step daughter Crystal and the smaller glass and crystal ones are from my ex-sister-in-law/sister/friend Lea. The two wooden ones with the entwined trunks were a wedding pressie for Rob and I from my other ex sister-in-law/sister/ friend Brenda. Propped in front of them is a silver heart shaped stone that I fell in love with and bought for myself. I loved it so much that I went back to Mystic Garden the next day and bought a gold one for Dad and Sandy's wedding pressie.
The wooden one from Jamaica is actually an intriguing puzzle and is a pressie from my step daughter Willow after her trip to Jamaica. It's hard to see in the photos but the geode in front of the clock is super sparkly, like a little crystal cave. It's a pressie from Linda. You might be able to tell that the clock has Chinese numerals on it. This was a pressie for Rob from Crystal and we've had it for well over 15 years. When I first started reading tarot cards, I brought the clock with me, loving its mysticism.
And then there are the pictures. Each one is special in its own way. The drawing of the car is a pressie from Mam and Dad. Dad drew it and it's my favourite of all his drawings. Mam and i discussed how much we both liked it. I said that I imagined a woman running from the house to the car and Mam agreed adding that the woman would be pulling on above elbow velvet gloves...red I believe.
The double decker bus next to the car is part of a set of pictures made from clock workings ie cogs and springs and faces that my aunt Jean and her girls (my cousins) gave Derek and I for our wedding in 1984. I'm crazy about these clockwork pictures. Derek has the other one which is of a car. It was one of the few things that he wanted when we separated. I hope he at least has it displayed. I couldn't choose between the pictures so he chose. The bus seemed more British so in that respect I'm especially glad that I have this one.
The photo below that is a copy of a card from my friends Angela and Caroline in England (twin sisters). It's of the Yorkshire Moors with the beautiful heather and the farmer's walls made out of local rocks, quite an art to build. Dad enlarged and framed the photo as a pressie. Again, a favourite of mine.
And the final picture is a watercolour painting of Roseberry Topping, a peak in Yorkshire. It too was a wedding pressie in 1984. My late friend, Donna, sent it to me from England, framed just as it is. Her father painted it. I have always treasured it as such a thoughtful gift and later as a lovely reminder of Donna and her father who died within six months of each other, Donna dying first. Donna asked me what I would really like as a gift. She had sent me a lovely illustrated card of Roseberry Topping a year or so before and I had it displayed on my writing desk. I told her how heartwarming I found it and all the memories it brought back of growing up in Britain and even of the taxi drive to the airport the day I was emigrating, catching the sun rising over Roseberry Topping with my two Nannas and my British boyfriend Andy at the time with me. "I know just what you mean," she wrote back. And sent me this beautiful painting. I was very touched.
I have a friend who, in our early 20s, could tell me the cost of everything in her apartment. I'm not sure of the monetary cost of my things. But I do remember and cherish the story behind many of my possessions. Just call me sentimental.
Wishing you a day of good memories and good memory-making.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.