Just another site

“This Shirt”

Posted by purplemary54 on May 31, 2014

I spent so much time yesterday thinking about writing a post, I thought I had.  That’s the problem with an overactive imagination: sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the stuff you do and the stuff you think about.

While I was out running a couple of errands yesterday afternoon, this song came on my iPod.  I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about things and the meanings we assign to them.  A good chunk of this afternoon was spent cleaning some silver goblets my grandparents brought back from some European trip.  My mother got them after Grandpa died, but hadn’t done much with them.  I was pleased at how nice they look with my teapots in the display cabinet I got at Ikea.  The goblets in and of themselves don’t mean all that much–there’s no special family association attached to them–and they’re not worth much money.  But they represent a time and people who matter to me.

It’s funny how things take on such important meanings, how we anthropomorphize them until they seem like members of the family.  I know there are mugs that I will probably mourn if I break them.  Books with battered covers and notes in the margins that mean more than anything the author wrote.  Stuffed animals that still end up sleeping in my bed when I’m feeling a little sad.

When my mom had her cataract surgery a week or so ago, she was told to wear loose comfortable clothing.  I loaned her a flannel shirt that had belonged to my father.  It was a gift that was too large, and he’d never actually worn it; but I like flannel so I kept it.  I wear it as a light coverup for when it’s too cool for just a t-shirt, but too warm for a sweater.  Mom figured that Dad had been there for her last surgery, so why shouldn’t he come along for this one, too.

So we’ve attached my father to a shirt he never even wore.  I’m pretty sure he’d think that was kind of dumb.  And that he’d be secretly kind of pleased.  He didn’t strike people as especially sentimental, but he never gave away that shirt even though it was too big.  My sister-in-law gave it to him, so that made it important, I guess.  Things are just things in the end.  My disaster plan is grab everything that breathes and important paperwork and get out; the stuff can just burn (or crumble into the sea, or get buried in the rubble, or whatever).  But I know later on, I’d go sit in the ashes of whatever was left and cry for all the tangible memories that I’d lost.  That’s all these things are, after all.  Memories we can hold in our hands





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