Today it occurred to me that if ever I was required by circumstance to up and leave I would, with just the clothes on my back.
I have always been an eccentric, finding happiness in slightly outlandish things which people of my generation and means generally do not find interest in.. In my lifetime I have collected stamps, buttons, notes, coins, Vinyl disks and Video Cassette Disks, paintings and figurines, books, feathers, letters, colored-textured paper, potted plants and dead butterflies’. I have two vintique TV’s and the other one is all of 7 cm wide. I have large collections of each and every other thing in my collection and each has a story of its own. For example, the stamp collection I have now would have been much larger than it is now but for the fact that once when I was in form two I had a guy best friend who was everything to me, he knew everything about me and I knew everything about him, and then he had to change schools.
I was devastated because this meant that I would not see him as often as I could, and now every second that passed became a race against time. I wanted to create as many memories as I could for some reason that I never recognized as love until I was much, much older. I wanted him to carry with him a part of me as he went ahead to make new friends at his new school. I spent many miserable nights wondering what meaningful thing I could possibly part with to mark this momentous occasion. I ended up deciding to give him my stamp collection which was a much loved book with carefully stuck stamps from all over the world some of which I removed from my mom and dad’s love letters. I cried for days after he left, I cried for the loss of my friend but I also cried for my stamp collection.
The book collection is non less eventful, I have a Stephen King and reader’s digest classics collection that belonged to my father (bless his soul), I have a Francine River’s book whose owner went to the UK and left behind, I have books that I have brought from the street from one gentleman who loves books even more than I do, we have since become friends. I have books that I have bought from a deceased’s estate: the children wanted nothing to do with the old books that their father read and they just wanted to get rid of them: I got a thirty-six-book-mine for just five dollars. And you will hate me when I tell you there were all hard paper backs.
I have always celebrated sentiment and I have struggled to part with a bead and cowrie-shell neck lace I got from an ex who, although it did not work between us, was a good guy and he gave it to me even though it meant so very much to him.I often visit galleries and second hand or vintage shops just to look at old things , feel their texture and smell their scents. I try to imagine what necessitated the selling that beautiful ring, with love love words engraved on the inside: a love gone sour perhaps? A fallen-on-hard-times family may be?.. I wonder what inspired the carver of the table to carve straight instead of curvy lines, I wonder why the artist chose the colors in his or her painting, what emotion was going through them as them put color to paper, I try to imagine the penchants and eccentricities which inspired the vogue in one era as it compares to the other. I read the bold and proud signatures of the artists and I imagine where their descendant’s are. I try to imagine what the stain on the couch could have come from. Sometimes we have conversations; those old thing and I and I glimpse the people behind all those things I marvel at.
I have introspected to find what motivates my need to collect and I have not found a truly satisfactory answer. What I do know is that I have often felt that I have a duty to preserve what those generations before us cherished. The best of all reads for me have always been that correspondence between my parents. I am glad they were preserved in that shoe box for me to read and appreciate where their love journey began and how that contributed to their relationship and ultimately to who I am. This is why I write in my diary; I owe it to posterity to chronicle my life, my foibles, my warts and thoughts.
In spite of all this today I had an epiphany: If I had to up and leave for another life I would leave it all behind. Why you ask? I guess I realized one profound thing today, things will not go with us to the grave-even if they do; they will not be with us in the next life. However, we can leave them behind for others to enjoy what we did enjoy, to appreciate who we were and why. We leave a part of ourselves when we leave behind a part of ourselves. We influence times and thought, we guide the way.