Thursday, November 10, 2005


If my house should happen to catch fire, I'm not sure that I'll be able to leave it behind. Yes, I'd be one of those fools who, once the spouse, children, and pets are all accounted for, dashes back into the burning building to rescue my "treasures" left behind. Treasures? Well, perhaps that's not really the word for them. I have very few items of financial value...but, the heirlooms I'm thinking of are priceless.

The embarrassing bicentennial photos my mother (rightly) thought beautiful...

The letters my father wrote to my mother when he was in the Navy...

The one diary my mother kept...dated 1959...

Not to mention my diaries started in earnest in the fourth grade...notes from my husband to me...the dog-eared poetry book we passed back and forth when we were first falling for one another. I have pictures of my children that cannot be replaced...drawings they from my friends and family. When my brother died, I somehow inherited his wallet (complete with license and a ten-dollar bill), several old tapes of his, and the dentist moulds of his teeth before he got his braces. I tell you, you'd have to hold me down to keep me from leaping through flames for those.

It makes me think, a person who tries not to overvalue "things". Whatever I see is mine--whatever I remember cannot be taken away. But, there is something to be said for the feel of the leather of my mother's old baby shoes in my hand...the letters my sister sent me from college when I was eight years old, that read "Don't be sad because you miss me."...the notes my little brother slipped beneath the door when we were in trouble for fighting with each other and "grounded" from talking for a few minutes, with, "Why won't mom let us play?" scribbled there.

Let's just hope that day never comes...When the people I love are lost, I hope they'll leave me behind their journals, the scraps of lace that were on their wedding gown, their letters, their pictures, the old books they shared with their lover--the odd bits and pieces of apparent ephemera I'd find so dear...the evidence of a life fully lived.


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