When we are young, time crawls. In grade school I was a horrible student, a child with a lot of energy and prone to giving lip to my teachers. A school year seemed like a decade to me, as I squirmed, doodled on the paper book covers my mom made, and generally disrupted class at regular intervals. Summer could never come soon enough and I thought school would go on for an eternity and that I would never grow old.
Now time moves like cars on the autobahn. It seems like yesterday that we moved to the Springs from San Francisco and it seems like I say the words, “it seems like yesterday” every other day. I am approaching seventy and we have been in the Springs house for 19 years.
Today I looked across the street at Juanita’s house. There is a realtor’s sign that says, coming soon. For 19 years I could see Juanita’s TV through the window and I knew all was well. On our tiny, short, dead end street, Juanita was our eyes and our ears. If something was out of place in the hood, she let you know. She chain smoked, watched MSNBC (cheering Obama’s victory), got in her little blue car and went out to get her hair done every week and it seemed she would live forever. But, she is gone and her house will soon be home to someone new.
My husband Dave went over for the estate sale. He came back to tell me about Juanita’s small treasures lined up for sale. She had a little Dachshund, Heidi, when we first moved in. So of course there were many little Dachshund tchotchkes. People always say about our possessions, that they are just things, and not of any importance in the big picture. Not as important as our inner life, our relationships, our worldviews, our words and our deeds. But, our possessions hold our memories. Juanita’s held her memories, the two dogs that had gone before Heidi, Shotsie and Wilhelmina, her husband Jack, AKA Hun (short for honey, not Attila the Hun), and golf stuff to commemorate all the rounds they had played together before he was gone.
The house was left to nieces and nephews with the instructions that it be sold and the proceeds split. I wonder if they took any of the little things that would hold Juanita in their memories.
Each of us takes things from our grandparents, our parents that hold memories. I have these things and have placed them on walls, in china cabinets, or packed away in boxes. When I look at them I see the time, place and people that once were. It seems today that memories are larger than the future, larger than any plans I make.
I wonder if anyone will take things from this house and hold them as memories of me or Dave. My niece and nephew and my stepdaughters may or may not want these things. As our possessions disburse to others, or end up in a landfill, the memories they hold disappear. Sometimes when I am in Plain Jane’s I think about each thing for sale and wonder what stories and memories are lost.